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 Gregarious and Withdrawn.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
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.