Saturday, January 26, 2008


they cleaned out dadu's almirah today, it is going to be shipped to pondicherry to my phuljethu's place. we get the organ, ranju gets the four poster and so forth. two lives, two people, divided, parcelled out among their five sons.
inside the almirah every thing was intact. the pen knife in its patched leather cover, the box of paper clips, dadu's magnifying glass, a dried up tube of glue, a bunch of those now-obsolete,blue inland letters, a black back scratcher from puri that everybody used to have once upon a time, the stethoscope inside the black leather briefcase and the matchbox in its place, a copy of sri aurobindo's 'the life divine' thoroughly underlined, with notes pencilled in the margin in his illegible handwriting (the only thing i managed to inherit, apart from the legendary temper and the bnyaka kore angul), and a photograph of him in a white suit and striped tie, graduating from calcutta medical college, looking so incredibly handsome that you would never believe he was my grandfather.
then, a stack of diaries, report cards of grandchildren, childish scrawls saying "happy birthday dadu", preserved with so much love, so much care, horrible drawings of mountains and flowers, dated and arranged with characteristic meticulousness..., the university brochure ranju sent from edinburgh, the transistor he bought dadu with his first salary...and an entry in his diary where he wrote what he never managed to tell us but we knew all the same.
he taught me everything i know today, my alphabets, long division, vulgar fractions, gerunds and participles, the functions of the nephron and newton's laws of motion. he taught me the difference between an ace and an ordinary service, he taught me what lbw meant and that any person in his/her right mind always roots for Man-U and Mohunbagan. he told me weird stories about imaginary ghosts, and how he smoked his first cigarette in a tea shop on college street, how he sneaked off from their house in jalpaiguri in the middle of the night to watch a seedy jatra,how the royal families of europe were stricken with haemophilia, about don bradman's last innings, about the great calcutta killings,and about his lifelong passion for greta garbo.

four years have passed, and i still have conversations with him, everyday of my life, at every crossroads i run to him for the answer,at every crisis to seek refuge,i still love him beyond all reasonableness and i still feel the jealousy of a ten year old because i still believe he loved ranju more, nothing has changed really. nothing can change that.

i wonder if i make him proud.....