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Fatal Festivity



My last post here said how happy I am to go home. Ironically, last night I recieved a call from my mom telling me, my childhood best friends dad has died. He was suffering from Parkinsonism for a long time, had a mass compressing his spinal cord, which was found to be thankfully benign and he was bed-ridden since early last year. But, he was recovering well. The physiotherapy was paying and the last when I saw him about six months ago, he was able to walk on a surface but couldn't take stairs yet. He was mentally sound and we talked for long hours just like old times. Now out of the blue, this news hits us that, he died four days ago due to renal failure and must have been hospitalized for a period before that. My mom is in a total shock. My friend's parents and mine were close. My mom had met his mom a couple of months ago, and she did not mention anything then. We live in the same neighbourhood. Their house is 6 houses away from ours. We did not have a clue this was going on there all this while.


The whole incident makes me sad. I liked that man. He was a good teacher, a good human being, had very good taste in music and arts, was religious and definitely a good father. Being a math teacher, he was good with numbers and could communicate well with any age group. He had a congenital deformity, so always walked with a small limp and yet used to walk miles over miles. He was a humble man. He was a right wing Hindu fundamentalist and we used to have political discussions, yet never once he tried to indoctrinate me. Above all, he had a good sense of humour. I will surly miss him. May God grant him peace.


I will never truly understand, why my friend had contacted me and my family so late. He could have done that earlier. We could have visited him while he was still alive. But, he didn't. May be he didn't think that I could help him carry the burden. And this enrages me. This is not the person I know. Not the jovial athletic musician math-wiz who was always there for me since grade two. Yes, we went to the same school too. We have grown apart since I came to Bangladesh to study medicine and he went to another part of India to study engineering. Could it be that the fundamental difference in our trade that has come to divide us? He is a working engineer now. Has his own peer group. And must be just as popular with them as he was in the old days. May be he moved on with life, while i am still stuck on mine. May be, he found a place for himself in the world and does not wanna continue with his old self. I don't know. May be I am just reading too much into this.


There is a reason why this whole thing hurts me so much. And it's October. You must be wondering what that has to do with anything! You see, October is a cursed month for us Majumdars, especially around Puja. Someone always ends up dying. Last year my paternal grandfather died after a prolonged illness on 29th. My maternal grandmother, with whom I was exceedingly attached with since birth, died on an October day, on a Puja day, Ashtami. That has soured that day for me for the rest of my life. Now, this happens. So, does this mean I am gonna loose a loved one every October? Who is it gonna be next? My dad? My mom? Someone else? Why?


I know death is a natural process of renewal. I believe in rebirths as well. But, that does not stop the pain of estrangement, of losing someone you cherish dearly. You will not be able to experience that person in the corporeal plane ever again; Not in the same way. And it hurts to see that.


This is one dreaded aspect of Durga Puja for my family. We just don't want to hear the phone ring in the wee hours of the morning, telling us we have lost another member; that there will be one less elder to visit during the coming Bijaya Visitations. I just wish this would stop once and for all. But, as they say, Death and Taxes...


P.S. I still don't know how to tell my dad. He was close with the man. And he is on the wrong side of sixty-five now.





[This post is dedicated to Late Ashim Kumar Ganguly. May his soul rest in peace and may his family members recieve closure.]

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