A 65-year-old Indian man commissioned a life-size silicone statue of his wife after he lost her to Covid-19.

Tapas Sandilya, a retired civil servant, hails from the Indian state of West Bengal and lives in Kolkata. He lost his wife in May 2021, when India was in the middle of a horrific second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sandilya spent Rs 25 lakh (approximately £2,500) to build the replica of his late wife. He said that he was only fulfilling his wife's wish.

"We visited the Iskcon temple in Mayapur a decade ago and could not stop admiring the lifelike statue of the order's founder AC Bhaktivedanta Swami. It was then Indrani told me of her desire for a similar statue if she happened to pass away before me," he told The New Indian Express.

The statue, which eerily looks exactly like his late wife, weighs 30 kg and is seated on a sofa in the living room of their house in Kolkata.

It was her favourite spot, according to Sandilya. The statue is clad in the same saree that the woman wore to her son's wedding reception.

The statue was made by a local artist, Subimal Das, who took around six months to finish it. Das said that it was one of his most challenging projects.

"Keeping Sandilya's sentiment in mind, it was absolutely necessary for the statue to have a realistic facial expression. I collected photographs of Indrani from different angles and first made a clay model which formed the basis of the fibre moulding and the silicon casting," said Das. He explained how Sandilya was adamant about keeping the statue more lifelike and made him add a few grey streaks to the statue's hair.

Sandilya and his wife spent 39 years together before Indrani passed away. She took her last breath at a hospital with no one by her side, recalls Sandilya.

"... I can never forget that moment when I could not accompany my wife on her way to the hospital. Now I live with her sculpture," he said.

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