Saturday, June 17, 2017

RIP, Father

RIP, Rathindra Nath Bishnu ( 3rd July 1945 - 15th June, 2017).

Babai's Facebook friends were wondering what had happened to him. Well, he passed away peacefully today. R.I.P, Babai. May your soul rest in peace. We will miss you badly.

A most unorthodox person- tough, opinionated at times, but also gregrarious, sentimental and very warm. He was a toughie with a soft core inside. Simple and Complex. Hard and Soft. Humble and Egoistic. Gregarious and Withdrawn. That was Babai aka Rathindra Nath Bishnu aka RN Bishnu aka Rathi aka Rathu ( Yes, I am jealous ! No one ever called me by so many names! ).

Facebook was his canvas for the larger life that he loved to live in (1641 friends in all ) . He looked upon his Facebook friends almost as next door neighbours/ relatives. The first thing in the morning for him was to say " Good morning" to his cyber neighbours ( Facebook & Whats App). Believe me, he knew all of them by name, spouse's name, children's name, location, vocation and occassion. He revelled in their (cyber) presence . And yes, he knew Mark Zuckenberg via Facebook. ( How could he not? Facebook was his lasting abode).

He loved old , especially sentimental Bengali music.Hemanta, Manna Dey , Sandhya Mukherjee. I flash back to my childhood when lazy Sunday afternoons meant endless repetitions of the album" Runner" by Hemanta Mukherjee. I had learnt the song by rote , and sang it in school once .

Babai had an interesting life, from the tea gardens of North Bengal , to Alipurduar, Durgapur, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Kolkata, USA ( Short stint), China ( numerous times), Singapore, Thailand, Kerala, Delhi, Chennai, Ranchi. But he was the quientessential " maach bhaat " Bengali babu with a rather conservative food taste. His fixations on the Bengali / Baangal ( East Bengal) culture were hilarious at times, but showed his strong grounding in his roots. And a part of his heart resided in Pabna, East Bengal, where he was born and always wanted to visit back some day (we had made plans some 3 years back but it never materialised unfortunately ).

He spent his last two years with me, and Mamoni on and off, in Ranchi. I am fortunate, grateful and blessed that he devoted this time to me at this age. He suffered in terms of health here, but still stood strong. and kept on Facebooking till he reached the hospital( i was expecting his posts from the hospital, but poor Babai was too weak by then to abide in his lasting passion. Otherwise, you might have had live coverage, better than any CNN/ BBC!!!)  

When I heard of his demise ( staying out of Kolkata), the first thing I thought of was to put up a Facebook post. It would be the truest tribute to a person for whom Facebook was a lifeline and a window to the outer world.

Babai and Mamoni were a typical case of "opposites attract" . Gregarious smarty meets softspoken lass. Cupid strikes, hearts flutter. Having met at my uncle's marriage in 1972, they got married within 6 months and started out staying at BHEL, Hyderabad. Thereafter, they shifted to Kolkata within a year and settled here for the rest of their lives ( except for the last two and a half years with me in Ranchi ).

Difficult not to miss this gregarious person . The house seems so empty without him and his brand of rigorous discipline. We had our differences, often vocally. But we appreciated each other's tenacity for bullshit and counter-bullshit 😬 And we respected and loved each other as individuals.

I will miss him badly . He had organized the house at Ranchi much more than what a mother/ wife can ever do ( including haggling with the maidservant and vendors). Though he had made contacts here, his heart was always in his beloved Sarsuna Satellite Township , Kolkata. By God's grace, a few days before his death, he sat in his Kolkata garden having tea and looking at the trees and birds, finally happy and content to be back home. He was planning to stay in Kolkata for good. By the fateful hand of providence, that didn't materialize.

And now, he is no more. It's a big void for us. If you want to extend your respect to him, please say a heartfelt prayer for him. I would love it that when his soul is arising tomorrow from the ashes, the ballastic effect of these prayers will take him all the way to Heaven. (I have already booked the Hellspot for myself! If both of us end up in the same place, we will resume fighting again!!)

I would love to believe that , like Osho's life, I can tell about Babai' journey," Never born, Never died.Just passed through this world." A lovely sojourn. In fact, being a Sinophile (one of his passions and having learnt the Chinese language extensively), he had named his house " Shangri La"( the mystical , happy, immortal land of mythology somewhere in China ) . I guess he has finally gone to his Shangri La in peace.

He succumbed to Metastatic (widespread in body) carcinoma of lung at Thakurpukur Cancer Hospital on 15th  June after fighting bravely for over a month. Cremation was held on 17th June in the evening at Kolkata Keoratala Mahashashan. 

About the great man himself:

R.I.P, Babai. Death is not an end. According to our Hindu philosophy, it's an opportunity for your soul to be reborn. I know you didn't believe much in religion and spirituality,but believe me, you won't be unhappy there. Probably you will win other souls over by your tenacity and persuasion.

Adieu, till we meet again, probably a few decades down the line.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Aarshi's dance programme - encore

I couldn't make it for  Aarshi's  Kathak dance programme at  Kolkata  this  year. But  there  is no doubt my little  baby  has grown up  a lot ! God bless  her !!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Dusk at Kanakapura


It's the time of dusk,
Trees sway in the wind,
Rustling in the breeze ,
In the hues of the setting sun.

Perched on a hillock,
Bright lights illuminating the structure,
A temple loudspeaker blares out
Invocations to Ayyappa.

These are the primordial ridges
Where Parvati might have lent her divine grace,
These hills are where
Many a tale of love and heartbreak would have been played.

A herd of cattle
Make their way back home,
Bells tingling
And animating the silent atmosphere.

What grace is there
Among nature's bountyful trails,
In this crisp, silent air
And the darkening dusk.

I see him standing
On a hillock close to me,
Trident in hand, matted hair,
Eyes closed in contemplation.

In this serene environment of Kanakapura,
I see him,
I see Shiva
Guiding me towards eternity.

(Written at Kanakapura,near Bangalore, 1st Dec,2016)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Jahanpanah, tusi great ho

Here's my take on demonetisation (( could not fill petrol, could not buy essentials, my friend said he didn't have enough money to go to the public toilet (Rs.10 only)). Sitting at home with grand Rs. 2000/- notes (much like the toy ones we used to play with in childhood) and no means to spend. My colleague asked the cafetaria waiter yesterday to give Chai ( tea ) for Rs.500- must be the most expensive tea ever (Taj Group included).
Surviving on credit. At least I am lucky I did not have a heart attack or tution fees to pay. Others have not been so lucky.
Jai Modiji !! Jahanpanah, tusi great ho, hamara tofaa kabul karo :)

Monday, October 31, 2016

The lights of Diwali

The  lights  of Diwali- signify  the  burning of evil , ignorance, hatred, envy, false  ego  and  darkness,  and  lifting  of  the  human  spirit.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

AAP ki nazaron ne samjhaa

AAP ki nazaron ne samjhaa

( Imaginary dialogues which start with romance between Nawaz Sharief and Arvind Kejriwal )

Nawaz , " AAP ki nazaron ne samjhaa pyaar ke kaabil mujhe,
AAP ki manzil hoon main, meri manzil AAP hai. "

Kejri , " Choop raho re idiot, Modi uncle sun lenge to hum dono ko SHAAP de denge. "

Modi , " Abbe 2 idiots, dono premiko ko peetkar borderpaar BAAP ke pass bhej doonga. "

OP Chautala tau of Haryana from Tihar Jail," Arre Modi, Baap nahi, mere KHAAP ke paas bhej re, peetke ekdum JHAAP kar denge. Waise bhi cross border and inter religion romance hai, not allowed in and around Haryana, land of honour. "

Ending dialogue from Rahulbaba, " Re Tau, tani chup raho . Bhaisaab, Khaap nahi, dono ko Congress Working Committee( CWC) mein mere aur mummy ke under kar do, sara PAAP hi khatam ho jayeega ( kuch pharak nahi painda, CWC bhi ek khaap hi hai) "

End result : Modiji still confused what to do , both lovers still continuing cross border romance and planning to elope. Not for nothing do they say , " Make love, not war " !!

( P. S. This is just in jest and humour; don't get too serious about it. All events are purely imaginary and have no resemblance to real life events . I couldn't resist the impulse to cock a snook! No hard feelings and no offence intended . I remain committed to all strikes...Surgical , Medical or chemical , except for the periodic strikes by Mamata Banerjee).

Copyright © ABishnu2016…/prove-paks-lying-and-strikes-took-place…
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Life is NOT a race

I recently  saw  an ad  for  Aakash  Institure  in Ranchi. Yes, the  very  same  cram classes  which mass produce Engineering  &  Medicine entrance  aspirants  year  after  year. 

It reminded me of  “3 Idiots”, where  students  are  forced  to lead  a rat  race.  And so  I saw  the  movie once again today. The  issue of whether a  guy wants  to be an Engineer  is sealed  by his  overambitious  Dad  at  birth (  “Farhan Quereshi, Engineer”)  Extrapolate  this to  many  Indian parents who insisit  their  chilren become  “Engineersaab” , “Doctor saab”. At times, against  their  wishes  and natural  capabilities. The moot  question  is not  whether Engineering  or medicine  are great  professions ( and  there  are many  good alternatives, no  matter how the elders argue  otherwise) . The question is of extrapolating  parents’ ambitions  onto  childfrens’ lives. The key  word  is”Against  their wishes.”

Similatly, “Virus”is  thje kind of professor  we would  want  to avoid. “Life  is a race.” Kill  or  be killed.  I  have  seen a  fee hyperambitious  teachers ( and  many good ones) in my lifetime.
Farhan was  an example of  a guy who  broke free against  his  parents’wishes. Many  Indian  children are not  so lucky. 

Raju  broke free  from his worrying  the  day he realised  worry and overambition  are barriers  to success. His  mother dominated him  in a different way. It  is  called “sentimental  manipulation.” The  argument  given  is”Oh,but  we  love  you”, not  realizing  that  this  is a  deadly, strangulating, suffocative  love, harmful  for  the  child. “

Rancho was  the sanest  among the  three. He  grew up  with  least expectations  , unprejudiced  by his parents, and  was  the  most  successful  among the three.

“We  know  what’s  best  for  you” parents  say.  I beg to  differ, but  at the risk of heresy, let  me state that  parents  don’t realize that  their childrens’ lives  are very  different from theirs, and so  they  simply cannot  know what’s  best for  the  child after  he or she  has  grown up. There is a  thin line between  guidance and  brainwashing/ pushing, and many ignorant  parents  often don't realize  this.

Need  proof?  Look at  the student  suicide  rate  in India:

It’s  not only about career  choices. Some  parents (  I have  seen a  few) are  disciplinarians  to an extreme. “Left, right, Left” seems  to be  their  motto. A basic  discipline  is required  for  all  of us, but to instill an army barrack  like  atmosphere  kills  the  very  purpose, that is , development of the  children. Call it “interference”.I  will never call it “guidance.”

The  day  my daughter  was  born, I decided  my  prejudices  would not  rub off upon her. She does  Kathak, goes  to the Gym, and  well , is also  good in studies.Let  her grow up  and be  a Kathak  dancer if she  wants  to. Or a  doctor  or engineer if she  wants it  that  way. The  key  word is, She should  be happy.

Be responsible  parents. Give your  children  their  breathing  space.  They  are  not  robots. They  will  find their  wings  without  your  pushing. And  if you  still want  to keep  pushing them, don’t be surprised if they ignore  you  at  at  a later point  in life.