Sunando ChakrabortyMy dear Golot, Yes, I do share your grief. My letters to you might have becom…
22:36 (11 hours ago)
Sunando ChakrabortyLoading…22:36 (11 hours ago)
|Sunando Chakraborty to me
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date18 May 2010 22:36
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My dear Golot,(Prof.Aurnob Roy),
Yes, I do share your grief.
My letters to you might have become infrequent and telephone calls irregular, but do believe when I say that you are always on my mind.
We learnt with deep sorrow the passing away of Bordi Mashu on the night of Sunday the 16th of May, 2010 at 10:10 Hrs. Rajada and Horu didi rang us at 04:00 Hrs IST to inform us.
Only me, Ma and Haloom were home at that time since Buba and Bo had already left for their respective schools. Later, after returning from office I rang Jaipur again. Buja and Santanu-da had already reached Jaipur. Manu and Bappu-da have reached today along with Joy.
Masu is no more today. I would like to remember the happy times that I have spent with her. Memories rush in…a wonderful person- full of laughter, always ready with an anecdote, deeply knowledgeable about the supernatural, the spiritual, the ghostly and the godly.
My earliest recollection of Masu is of a time when I was an infant. We had gone to their house in Garden Reach (or was it Gorcha?). Their faithful Jojo rushing to meet us. Masu was recounting to Ma the about a recent accident of a lighted firecracker (Chhuncho Baji) making its way up a boy’s trousers during the past diwali celebrations. While Ma was listening to this with rapt attention, in a sudden spirit of adventure I climbed on to a chair and made my way on to the balcony railing which was two or three stories high. Seconds later, Ma noticing my elevated position rushed out and grabbed me by the direct posterior and to the accompaniment of selected adjectives made me feel extremely miserable. Masu’s soothing words of solace in my defence still linger.
I remember that evening in ’70 when I, a lad of eight, was waiting at the main roads in Kalyani hoping to meet them in advance and escort them home. Tired of waiting, I was trudging back, crestfallen- when suddenly I caught sight of two rickshaws coming from a totally unexpected direction; the front one carrying Masu and Horu didi and the rear one regally occupied by Dada. That explosion of joy still reverberates. I ran alongside the rickshaws for the rest of the way.
During that weekend trip to our house we came to know about another facet of Dada and Masu. Dada who was generally happy-go-lucky, effervescent, effusive was still the same but added to his persona was another deeper aspect- the religious one. I never knew that Dada could sing so well. Masu added her mellifluous voice to the resonant deep sound of Dada’s and magic was created in the Puja room of our house to the strains of bhajan after bhajan that they sang. One of them went …”..Jai shankh gada dhara, neel kalevar, kaustuva shobhita dehi padam.” Another one was ” Ganesha Sharanam Sharanam Ganesha….” I still remember the tunes.They were both devotees of Sai Baba at that time.
A few months later, both Dada and Masu accompanied us to a place in Kolkata (10, Auckland Place) where some devotee of Sai Baba lived and we saw those photos overflowing with honey and bibhuti. There was a heavy fragrance in the air. The place was replete with many a tale of miracles. I don’t know whether the miracles that we saw or heard about were fact, fiction or fraudulent but what I do know is that the faith and devotion that Masu and Dada mutually shared at that point in time was a palpable reality and divine in nature.
Next cut to Kharagpur..the huge railway bungalow (wasn’t it #524, 5th Avenue?) we spent the weekend there. Those innumerable rooms, the sprawling garden, the long extension cord of the telephone which seemed to reach even the farthest corner of the verandah and the great big reclining chair. Masu was an expert Hawaiian Guitar player by that time. Our trip was full of joy and music. The evening we were to return we had Luchi and Phool Kopi bhaja (we don’t get those heavenly phool kopies any more) and the last song that Masu played on the guitar that evening was a particularly difficult one..”Tumi amar shokal belar shur…” The spiral cascade of “…osru bharatur’ was executed with such haunting finesse by Masu that it is unforgettable.
The bonanza of books that we received from Masu and of course Horu didi is unforgettable. No visit to their house would go by when we did not return with loads of story books from them.
Came 1975- that dreadful year when every thing fell apart. It was for each one of us the “annus horribilis” but particularly more so for Buja and me. For it was in this year that we first came face to face with death. First my Pishima and within a short time Dada passed away. We hurriedly reached Lucknow from Kalyani, made our way to Dadu’s Nirala Nagar house only to learn that all of them were in the Railway bungalow. We reached the place in the searing and scorching mid afternoon sun. Inside all of you were there…sombre, sad, disbelief still writ large on every face. How could this happen? Mid-forties is no age to leave this world. Why the gentleman was taking two stairs at a time only the other day when we had last met him during the previous holi in Lucknow. The sight of Masu and Horu didi was unbearable.
But with remarkable resilience she embraced life. Her confidence and poise, her charm and sagacity, her faith and sense of humour bounced back while in Nirala Nagar and we enjoyed her company during our several subsequent visits to Lucknow.
Her visit to Delhi in connection with the marriage proposal for Rajada is still vivid in my mind. She was always considerate to the extreme, never overbearing. Trips on the Delhi roads with her were a pleasure. I always insisted on taking the public transport and she would always win by taking a taxi instead.
A person of great inner strength. A strength she had to draw upon on that fateful day of 4th February 1980. Dadu was ill. I saw her praying fervently in front of the big picture of Ramakrishna Paramhansa which used to hang in the dining hall of the Nirala Nagar house. Fate had ordained otherwise- just two days before the marriage Dadu passed away. Any lesser person would have buckled up under the pressure. But Masu still conducted herself with grace and dignity and completed what she had set out to do.
Joy was indeed a harbinger of joy for her. By December 1985 you only had to look at her eyes to fathom the love and tenderness that she harbored for this little fair skinned earthling with spiky hairs and sparkling eyes. A few days before Manu’s marriage, while they had all come to our CR Park house- a bundle of mischief, Joy gravely announced “ota to ghaam hoyechhilo” to explain his wet pajamas after a bout of juvenile incontinence. You should have seen the mirth in Masu’s eyes marveling fondly at the innovativeness of “Pragyan the great”.
The next I saw Masu was during our marriage in November 1988. We had the pleasure of her company albeit for a few days only. As always she was a picture of grace.
Times changed…. her earlier neatly written letters to Ma gave way to telephonic conversations…. we went over to London.
Next contact was by end of 1991 during our home leave when we visited Jaipur. Buba and I enjoyed the trip immensely and we reminisce about it till this day.
A hiatus for a few years, we could resume contact only in 2000~1 and also in 2005~6 when they came over to Delhi first to Asian Games village and then to the bungalow near ISBT. Time and time again Ma has gone over to her place. Buba, the kids and me all of us could visit her quite a few times during this phase. Her health was already showing a declining trend. But her spirit was ever buoyant.
On the eve of their departure for Manila all of us went over to their guest house in Delhi. That was the last time I think Ma, Buba and the kids met her. I was privileged enough to have one more opportunity.
I could see her off at IGI Airport. I had reached a little early to arrange for a wheel chair for her. When all of them came, Masu sat in the wheel chair. A little nervous perhaps. There was a little problem with Joy’s passport which Raja da was sorting out. Meanwhile the immigration clerk had cleared Masu’s passport and the wheelchair attendant began pushing her away and she was all by herself. By now Raja da was having an all out with the immigration clerk who was adamant about the ECR stamp of Joy. A telephone call to the right officer by Raja da did the trick and now the Chief Immigration officer rushed out from his office offering to do the needful but Joy, Horu Didi and Raja da had to wait in his office a little.
Meanwhile Masu was alone somewhere inside the terminal. I did not have the pass to enter the restricted area. I don’t know how I did it. But I did manage to reach Masu sitting on her wheelchair. Brought a cup of water for her, spoke to her a little. She relaxed visibly.
Within minutes Rajada, Horu didi and Joy followed. Soon it was time for them to embark. We shook hands, quick pronam. It was the last time that I saw her.
A few fragments of telephone conversation, hastily finished. Brief glimpses on Skype-hazy due to transmission loss. Can it ever suffice? It can not.
But as Buja has written today “so much thoughts of her is within all of us we will be carrying them for ever”.
I pray on behalf of each of us that she reaches that eternal abode of joy and peace.
I salute Horu didi and Raja -da for being able to choose the right path- always.