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Tuesday, July 11, 2006


(that was Sudhirda with my daughter on her sixth birthday)

He was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas in February, and we were all told we must simply wait for him to die, so I pensioned him off and he went home, and lingered on for a few months, steadily wasting away, until this morning, Monday July 10, 2006, I was told that he passed away more or less peacefully last night. God rest his soul. ‘He was my friend, faithful and just to me…’, he had brought me up right since I was a toddler, had stuck around like my shadow through an incredible number and variety of vicissitudes, had been my all-round factotum, comrade in arms, shoulder to weep upon, ever smiling, uncomplaining drudge ever willing to oblige, someone I could trust with everything except what was beyond his ken and work alongwith at mundane chores and laugh and pass the time of day with when no one else was there, and now, after forty years, ‘aaj sathe nei chirosathi shei more puraton bhrityo’. No one who hasn’t known me and us will ever know what the ‘feudal’ relationship at its best can be, how little else there is in the world to compete with it (I have seen too few marital and filial and corporate relationships that can hold a candle) and how much I have lost. ‘Any man’s death diminishes me,’ of course, but some few diminish you much more than the rest – and for the remainder of my life I shall be a much diminished man. It is my great good fortune that God in His infinite mercy has answered a part of my prayers, in that Sudhirda died with the minimum of pain and indignity, and it will always be a matter of agonizing regret that he wasn’t given a few more years of peace and rest and fun in my care, as I had been trying to provide for him over this last decade, as very humble and inadequate recompense for everything. Childish I may be, but I will never be able to fly again without feeling a pang that I could never take you along with me. Goodbye, old friend. The thought that I might meet you again in a better place will greatly reduce my own suffering when death comes calling for me. If there are more lives to come, you will be a happy prince next time round, and may I have the good fortune to be your servant.


Dreamtillyourlast said...

For me, 'death' is too significant an issue to talk about right now. My university exams, which are not the most important things of life (as most consider), are, frankly speaking, making me look like a human wrecked on an island of volumnous notes looming over me like sky-scrappers. Consequently, at present, I do not have time enough to talk about 'death'. But there is one thing that I would want you to know. Do you remember me saying you that one of my friends has lost his father? Believe me, never in my life I have seen a person so stable even in times when disater has loomed over him. He is always smiling. He says,"Life is a challenge. Accept it and fight with it till your last breath."

That's the way a person has to be. Death is inevitable. It is this very ruthless rule of Nature that has made life worth living.

Take care,

Subhadip said...

Thousands of people pass away everyday. One day even I will have to depart. It is something which we cannot escape. Hence whatever time we have in our hands we must utilise it to our best. And if we do so we can become immortal --- physically we may not remain here any more but whatever we do in our life must have such an impact on our society that we stay in other peoples hearts! This does not mean that we need to do extra ordinary activities. We must do our jobs sincerely and honestly. Ultimately in the end none of us are going to count how much money we have earned rather how many hearts we have been able to win over.
I will consider my life to be a success even if there is one single person, apart from my family, who will remember me and my good deeds after my death.
I had never had a word with Sudhirda at length hence I may not know him very well but whatever I have read on your current post will definitely raise my admiration for him. One wonderful thing about Sudhirda was that he always had a smile on his face. Whenever we used to reach your house for a class in the evenings Sudhirda would finish watering the plants and then come and hand over a bottle of water and if any cricket match would be going on he would definitely share his comments on the ongoings of the match with us.We will all pray that may God rest his soul in peace.

Sudipto said...

If there was somebody in Suvro Sir's tuition classes who was, if not equally, next to equally associated with us students, it was dear old Sudhirda. I seldom had the opportunity to share more than a couple of words with him, and yet I remember his humble smile. Sad to learn (and after quite a few months) that he is no more.

shilpi said...

I didn't know. It feels more than strange reading this here. I came upon this by sheer chance and I must write. I could write and write more than pages but all I can say is that I'm sure he is at peace and in happiness and I know what he meant for you (and your family). I remember the first time I saw him I was 11-ish and although I instinctively liked him, I was rather scared of him as a kid (I never do remember him smiling much when I was a kid - in fact he looked quite grim and stern to me). I'm glad that I got to meet him when I was 26. I had the good fortune (for which I'm more than grateful) to have had many a long winded conversation with him about snow,flowers, funny stories about hats, rotating toothbrushes and tins of ham, smoking in a dorm room, nearly setting a microwave on fire and railway engines among other things on mornings when we'd be having tea together. We laughed together, talked about random and not-so-random stuff, went for walks and that's when I saw his smile that would light up his face and I cherish those memories today. I do have regrets - but at least I now know that he has passed away and without too much pain. I'm grateful to have known him for the too brief but extremely meaningful length of time and he will always be in my mind and my heart for more reasons than anyone will know.
I am deeply sorry for your loss. It's all very well for people to say glibly (or not) that 'death is a part of life' (and who doesn't intellectually grasp that!)and I sense (and) hope with all my heart that Sudhir da is at peace and all is well with him but the death of someone known and loved - it does leave an emptiness and numbness even. I thank you for putting this post up. It is a beautiful and brave post. Thank you and God bless you and your family.

JM said...

Though I came across this post, after quite sometime (4 years and more), I sincerely hope that his soul has been blessed by the eternal force and has got peace & happiness.

I also pray, that all people close to him, family & friends, may have strength to honour his legacy.

Joydeep M.

Vaishnavi said...

Dear Sir,

I am really sorry for your loss; the years in between may have dulled the pain but not the memories, nor the love. I hope Sudhirda is happy in heaven amidst a bunch of kindred souls with whom he can go on long walks and have steaming cups of tea. He seems to have been a lovely man.


Suvro Chatterjee said...

Of all your recent comments, Vaishnavi, this one makes me especially grateful, both because the memory remains eternally strong and painful and because so few have commented on this post. People say 'I don't know you well enough' and that sort of thing, yet how hard I have tried to make myself known, and how little most people actually care to find out!

Yes, Sudhirda was a wonderful man. I was fortunate to have had him in my life for such a long time, from just a little after birth till when I was almost 43. And of course, I know with near certainty that there will never be a replacement: they don't make them that way any longer.

Kaustav Sanyal said...

Dear Sir,

After reading your touching post, a nice citation came to my mind which says “we call that person who has lost his father, an orphan; and a widower that man who has lost his wife. But that man who has known the immense unhappiness of losing a friend, by what name do we call him? Here every language is silent and holds its peace in impotence.”

Sir, this is the tragedy of life, it is so unpredictable and yet so transient. Death is the most difficult truth a man has to accept but there are many poets who haven't spoken solemnly of death (think of the poem ‘Because I could not stop for death’). Sir we all must remember that this is a part of our existence,it is designed by God for us so as to train us for every challenges of life. Sir think of yourself, you have faced so much pain in your life, haven’t they helped you to achieve what you are today?

Sir in the poem ‘IF’ Rudyard Kipling have said ”Don’t sigh about you loss”. It is because it gives us more pain to think about a person who is no more in this earth. This pain is no where except in our heart. So why don’t we think like P.C Sarkar ,who once said ( when he was asked about his departed father)“Who said my father is dead? Who said my father is not with me anymore? My father is still in this Earth. I can feel him,see him gliding through the walls and the audiences in front of whom I perform.”

Sir I know that consoling our mind is extremely difficult, what could be done it is human nature; our mind foolishly questions God for the unanticipated Death, forgetting that HE is only the creator of the departed soul.

Kaustav Sanyal