Chapter 3 - Big Fish & the Gladiator
That ‘sharp-edged knife’ stationed on our roof used to pound meat , secretly observed under the afternoon sun a tiny tot gripping it, descending down with swift foot movements only to take revenge with an unknown junkie who happened to hurt his other brother (Bappada). To me that very afternoon he initiated a bro code for that brother, the code that is kept intact silently even today. I was not even born to witness this act of valour. He and Bappada were born 6 months of age gap so both were partners in crime. One of the greatest sights of 23 Jodhpur Park used to be Bappada and Bumba da’s oil message . These kids used to be oiled before their baths in the roof during winters. They used to be bare bodied and ran all over the roof, the domestic helpers used to find it real tough to get hold of them as they used to be very slippery and had oil all over their body. They also enjoyed playing with the tortoises in the terrace and knew how to catch hold of them at a very young age !!
They were inseparable in their bonding and the saddest incident which happened as kiddos when they were both very badly hurt in the iron window grill and had to go to EEDF ( nearest nursing home)to get few stitches. It happened together and in unison while they were playing with Ranada ( my second cousin) The house remember seeing a lot of blood coming out of their foreheads and Bhoudadu, our another grandfather , taking them to EEDF to get them treated. I heard whilst Bappada cried a lot during the stitches, Bumbada was still and didn't cry much , since then he was a very strong lad . I also fondly remember their photos when they were toddlers with Bappada dressed as a bride and Bumbada as the groom!! The 'Great Bandhab Samaj' club( hang out hub for our fathers founded by them and their friends) in Dhakuria organised a function and Jethu( my uncle) wanted to take Bappada and Bumbada to recite poetry. They were taught a poem for the recital. Both Ma and Mammam ( my aunt) spent a lot of time in teaching them to recite, the two naughty kids finally did learn their parts and were ready to go and recite in the function. The function started and their turn came. The compare asked both the kids to come on the stage and recite. Bappada duly went up but Bumbada did not turn up. The function stopped for a while as organisers tried to locate Bumbada. He was nowhere to be found and apparently walked to a nearby ground and was playing with the kids... Poor Bappada had to remember the poem and did recite all alone.
Their naughtiness took the shape of antics.I am penning down an incident, though this space is mostly about Bumbada but in this yarn Bappada has surpassed him. Bappada as a kid became a victim of lice. Naturally he did not enjoy the medicines that Pipi ( his younger aunt) and Sindhu-di (his governess) used to put on his head. So Bappada ran and went out of the house all of a sudden. Soon everyone realise he was no where to ne seen ,including my grandfather (Dadu) started to look for him shouting his name loud.My aunt started crying as it was close to half an hour he has gone astray. Finally after marking an hour one man came with Bappada on his shoulders. Apparently the kid was trying to cross the Bus Stand and a speeding bus was coming towards him when this man recovered him. He was trying to make his way to Rana's (his cousin brother) house to play with him. As a kid many a times both the sons used to come stealthily behind my grand-dad (Dadu), quickly removing the loose knot of his lungi, before seeing (Dadu ) in a precarious situation both the devils used to take a flee from that zone, sometimes doing ‘lungi dance’ in prank as well. Dadu was left with a pool of raving madness to the extent no one in the house could dare to near his zone.
That is how my brother says he came into his grand dad's bad books. Though his theory about his granddad disliking him came vague to me. There were many instances when my gallant warrior brother brought minor injuries on local slum guys resulting in an accumulation of the entire shanty town (bustee) demanding heavy compensation like a month’s medication, food and nutrition supplies from our house. Several times I saw Dadu coming down with his inherent rage roaring at the crowd calling out if anyone ‘stick one’s neck out’ to his grandson he will simply shove off their heads adding , whatever little injury has been caused is fully justified. From time to time I used to watch this reality show , sometimes his uncle(Jethu) few times my father but mostly his granddad used to come to my brother’s rescue as ‘a knight in shining armour’ .What a show it was!!
His Gladiator days
He was the first child born to my parents. As a child I took serious offence bearing resemblance with him because I so much wanted to look like my perfectly pretty Mom .As a child his evenings were spent more dribbling a football than even attempting to open the text book. My mom had to listen to series of mutterings from teachers more for his bratty conducts than academics. His fearlessness has often won him classified titles under JPCA (Jodhpur Park Cultural Association) code of conduct. It was a time when ma use to go for her interior designing classes in the afternoon and leaving our food on the table covered. A cat use to stealthily come and eat his meal comprising of his favourite Ruhu fish red curry and rice almost every day. One day he spotted the cat and killed it with one shot with a bow and arrow. The story doesn't end here as later on that day he figured out to his utter dismay that the cat which he killed in the afternoon was a pet of his dear friend, ‘she’ was a very dear friend indeed!! So he decided not to flaunt about his targeting or rather archery skills. He pretended as if he was deeply disturbed with this act of some unidentified person in our locality who had mercilessly killed the greedy cat .To me this is no less than a Jim Corbett story killing a man eater in his case a fish eater.
Unknowingly his acts evinced my parent’s first character lines reigning on their forehead. He was a terror amongst the slum dogs in our locality. His close aides and friends always advised him to go easy and cool-off, as my brother used to flare up indiscriminately at anyone at the slightest of provocation. He walked with his crooked eyebrow just as people walk around with their umbrellas during the monsoon. The terror that he evoked had spread not only amongst the slum dogs also the shopkeepers, cobblers, peddlers to the extent spreading among the neighbouring localities about the hot molten temper of this guy famously called BUMBA of Jodhpur Park.
The rage of ‘this angry young man’ had few advantages like no one in their darkest of dreams thought of messing with his friends and family. It did bring some limitations as well. My teenage was spent with little terrors coming from him as those poor ‘few hushed- up admirers’ were bitten to death if they came odd few meters close to me. Silently or rather reluctantly started reasoning when will he stop behaving like Maximus Decimus Meridius slaughtering my little teenage wings. Little did I know he was saving his minor sis from being soiled by any smut. Leaving his hot temper aside my brother was likely to attract the attention of people for his mastering more than one sport. He played cricket as much as football with skilful strokes to perfection. He played each game like it was a battle that has to be won, knowing this his juniors were all scared thinking if they miss one goal or played week on defence, even missing a striker all they know was seeing death almost that close. He says his memorable moments were playing against Sauvik Bannerjee aka Tinkuda in Eden gardens. He palyed for Sambaran Banerjee’s club and Tinkuda played for Vijay sports. Casting one’s mind back he says in that match he scored half a century but the team crumbled when he got out and they lost the match. After 9th standard he never pursued cricket .Even after getting selected in Bengal under 15 he had to back out as his mother lived on a bundle of nerves thinking he won’t clear class x. if he fancied playing Bengal. Thereafter he never pursued cricket. Bumbada harks back ranking Tutuda and Rintuda as his mentor who inspired him big time in sports and theatre.
My elder brother used to also torment his little brother who was 2 years younger to him. Many a times I used to wake up seeing my younger brother’s red nose and watery eyes struggling to find his previous nights’ sharpened set of pencils .Though it was crystal clear for all of us that the guy who had a morning 6o’clock school is the only one who can do the theft in such an hour of the day. My mom used to again take out a new set of pencils from her monthly stationary stock consoling her little son. I having a 4 year old mind used to wonder what prankish syndrome was it. Later in the evening seeing three of my brother (Bappada, Bumbada , Bubaida) playing merrily on our sprawling big roof made me wonder ‘ I wish I was a boy’ and could be a part of their gang. Several times I used to run behind my brothers hoping that they will take me in their games. My elder brother used to notice my sad frown face standing at the other corner of the roof, informing this time to my other brothers to consider me , at least in the indoor ones like carrom board games convincing I am no more a minor.When others looked up to him with trembling fears, shock, or a nightmare, I being his sister was growing in 23 JP recognising his widely big heart amidst his fits of rage and fury.
The flute accompanied by Hariprasad Chaurasia.
The Maternal side impact
My elder brother was always inclined towards his maternal side of the family. My ‘Diduma’( maternal grand-ma) had been a very crucial influence in his life. Dada remembers his first introduction to rhyme in Sukumar Ray’s ABOL TABOL .I heard from Ma Diduma in those times went home schooling. She could almost narrate the verses of Tagore’s Gitanjali in breathless mode. Probably it was under the realm of a rich Rabindrik background my brother theorized ‘Where the mind is without fear’ success seemed to be connected with that action. Even as late as today he reminisce how he used to spent the summer vacations in his maternal mansion getting pampered by Diduma’s sumptuous meals of Luchi, mansho, chingri macher malai curry and loads of sweet delicacies specially the heavenly mango kheer.!!
All his Bengali literature home-works were done by Diduma, even he does not lose sight visualising how he used lay his head on Diduma’s lap looking up watching those super high ceiling with a tall hanging fan almost falling down upon him but still getting fascinated by hearing the verses of Tagore’s dance-drama so much so falling in love at his teens with the complex yet beautiful character of shyama- the court dancer. He felt a profound serenity dwelling with his maternal uncles’ from one room to another. Boro mama used to make him listen to the pious shehnai of Pandit Bismilla khan, listening to the first ever 1940 records of Alla rakha playing the station's first ever tabla solo, enchanted by hearing for the first a new yet timeless interpretation of Amjad Ali khan’s sarod, experienced the tranquillity of nature by hearing the serene flute of Hariprasad Chaurasia, in one of the rarest collections where Chaurasia played on Beatles’s ‘The inner light’ written by George Harison. Such was the dawning influence in his life. My other uncle ‘Nau-mama’ was a mechanical genius; he had a pleasure for building machines out of anything and everything. His room was stacked with books of mechanics, bulbs, copper-wires, suitcase made into a toolkit other brick and bracts of mechanics. My brother used to stay in that room for long hours getting engrossed in his inventions of a multi-liner floor bulb station emitting more light than a tube light in those times. My brother used to make his uncle do all his physics projects say a circuit box, electrical conductors and insulators from him.
The other home that my elder brother loved staying was in Mashimoni’s house, she happens to be my mom’s immediate elder sister. He got two maternal side brothers there almost of his same age but I guess what attracted him as a teenager was the simple care and love of Mashimoni. My mom at her 22 sprouted up with two sons only at an age gap of 2 years, assuming she was striving hard to give equal attention to both the kids. Many a times she subconsciously felt guilty not giving enough attention to her elder one therefore sending him to her sister’s house was her only refuge. Mashimoni naturally took double care of this skinny boy, teaching him how to eat fish, my brother says he never ate he was always ‘fed’ in that house, every morning he never woke he was ‘waken’ by his loving aunt. Hereafter ‘Diduma’ and ‘Mashimoni’ had been ‘angelic beings’ in his life. Coming back to 23 Jodhpur park, it was the house that observed silently three boys spend their adolescence hanging out together, where a new born idea transformed into a storehouse of curiosities. Recalling the afternoons in Dadu’s room where Bumbada and Bappada several days observed Dadu together with his associates sitting in his room after each smoke throwing away the lit up cigarettes in his attached varandah , waiting for this opportunity, both the boys ran to get hold of the last remaining puffs from the disposable ones. That was how they got their first taste of tobacco. They caused or rather always showed interest in causing trouble in the house in their own playful way. I wish I was born with them just to be a part of the sprite.
He is the next-gen media magnet on the Asian soil.
The Cinderella Man
Little did my parents know one day the brat will come to them as a ‘Cinderella Man’ As said time writes the best story, for him too it turned tables for him. One of his core friends Kaushik Chatterjee aka Betuda is still mindful of those ‘vintage times’ when both of them did joint studies in Part 2. My brother always says he owes a lot to Bhutuda and Joyda the two ‘sharp edgy pointers’ of Jodhpur park. He recalls how Bhutuda explained him the probability theory in statistical analytics explaining just as in a football ground a goal can be scored by the probability of a number of field positions like forwards, centre forward, midfields, corners etc. After graduation when my brother was planning to crack CS (Company Secretary ship) one fine morning he met his friend Betuda who was going for his MAT tuitions.
My brother suddenly decided on the spot to crack Mat and insisted his friend to help him with the tutorials. That is how he ventured into MBA thereby streaming himself into marketing and sales getting his break into the city of joy Mumbai. It was that right ticking on the clock when my brother decided to take up MAT entrance instead of CS that totally changed this man’s life and he remains indebted to his close buddy Bhetuda for eternity. I feel ‘Time’ came to his life as an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can't buy more hours. Scientists can't invent new minutes. And you can't save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you've wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow. Not many people know this but his first break was in a very reputed advertising company JWT in Kolkata Location.
My brothers wistfully smiles remembering it is only because of my Ma who insisted him to go out of Kolkata. How much bad she may have missed my brother still she discouraged him from coming back home to her, so that he never have to get stuck working in a city that's best for retirement .That is the sole reason Bumbada opted for Mumbai, started working in Carat as a sales executive. From living in a 326 sq.ft flat in worli to buying a property of 2600 sq.ft 4 BHK flat he has certainly put one’s shoulder into the wheels . Today he is heading the business of a country in south-east Asia at the age of 38.
Just as his mother became his rock his father always had a soft corner for his first born. I will take you all to the trip down the ‘shilong episode’ for doing this I know my brother will almost kill me!! Five of us were travelling to shilong for a family holiday; my elder brother was in class 8 if I am not wrong. We were all in an ambassador car going for some day trips; suddenly I became statue observing the changing white colour of my brother’s brand new trouser to yellow. I was not that small either to understand my poor brother had excreted the excess emitting a foul odour all over. The driver demanded from my father double the rate for no other reason but bearing the ‘ paradise lost’ smell. God was always on our side...I believed that day ,how he gave all four of us a power to bear that sight. My father was the only one who told the driver to halt as it was an emergency, taking his boy out of the embarrassing state cleaning him up finally requesting Ma to use her much treasured Poison as a room freshener that very moment. Me and my younger brother went almost dead for few odd minutes.
Baba has saved his son several such times from precarious situations .Once my Mom not knowing his annul figures posted my brother a list of shopping that he should do for all the family members once he draws his first salary. My brother was unable to disclose the truth to my mom, my father comforted him saying he will send him ten thousand more for completing his mother’s wishes. Ma doesn’t know even today that it was her husband who had helped his son for keeping his mom’s word.
Bumbada may have coddled me with fancy gifts throughout yet can never forget him presenting my first computer. During that juncture of life where I was getting hands-on over video editing software’s preparing my mind into a totally unknown game of Television production, the computer came to me as a thunderbolt from my hardly 26 year old brother. As the world is very small indeed I meet few, working in media circle who knows his name and raves about his enormous contributions or rather reforms he made in marketing analytics and services that too in a very limited span of time. As usual not knowing about his achievements my face used to light up with joy, how proudly I used to say - He is my brother!
While living together in Mumbai at one point of our lives I noticed how passionately dedicated he was to his work, how as a group leader he inspired his juniors. Asking one day why he dedicates so much time teaching them skills he told me - my juniors are my branches, if they don’t grow, I don’t grow. How immaculately he mastered the people’s management in the spring-time of his career. The aura of success in your life also brings a host of great number of people who claim as your friends, well-wishers, ‘more than friends’ all sorts of associations who encircle your head like halo. Don’t you wish people could be like money so you could hold them up to the sun watching which ones are fake and who are real. !!
In my brother’s life he didn’t have to make such an effort when it comes to his ‘friends of the world’- his miserly treasured JP thek friends.He keeps his fair sized JP thek friends like a miser handles his treasure .Today it has become a strong habitual inclination to engage in a weekend face-time add or skype calls , facebook chats or even the much loved watsup chitchats. So friendship is all about consistency in reality.
Meeting one of his good habits for life...!!
On a serious note his JP thek friends( childhood friends) have become some of his ‘good habbits’ coming back to life raising the curtain for him – Life is in-fact a battle, evil is insolent and strong, beauty enchanting and rare; goodness very apt to be week; folly very apt to be defiant; wickedness to carry the day, people of sense in small quantity, mankind generally unhappy, love is always a chatter it is these friends that matter. Today his face has lighten up which was once darkened with anger and fury .To this I explain age is catching up to him but my parents devices a different theory altogether.They firmly believe it’s because of his perfect union with my sis-in-law( also my buddy) who single-handedly brought this reform within .My sister-in-law came to his life as a junior colleague in his working place in Gurgaon.
Few days ago interviewing her she told me from the day-one she had a high regard for him. Deducing from his past achievements she drew the inference that this man knows his job really well in and out, it is tough to outdo him. They started talking business and their discussions ended on a professional tone every-time. Once my brother had to go outside the town , he was searching a pet farm to keep his ‘ other half ’ his Bitkel ,a Labrador. Shagun had shown the initiative to keep Bitkel in her home rather than in any pet farms. In a week’s time my brother coming back realised Bitkel had already bonded well with Shagun. Probably that was how from professional work related topics they switched over to stories of Bitkel and someday resulted talking about each other’s families culminating in late night telephonic conversions just to know each other’s likes, dislikes, dreams, aspirations and lastly wanted to hear their inner voices. Some people hear their own inner voices with great clearness at the right time of their lifespan and they live by what they hear. Such people are bound to be happy.
I suppose they both have listened to their inner voices and decided on 9th Dec 2013 to declare as ‘united forever’. She has certainly become a half ‘Mitter’ even in 1 yr 8 months of her conjugal life. one day asking her what she wishes to take from me as a gift for her anniversary she looked at me with a smile, it was one of those rare smiles with a quality of reassurance saying ‘ Common stop bothering about such petty matters Buri we are going to live together all our lives tied with each other from now’ . Hearing this I was totally taken aback returning her a smile of promise to stand by her no matter whatever happens in life. We both keep on blabbering about our future travel plans, we both are caught by a bug , the bug to travel the whole world , believing not all those who wander are lost instead getting a treasure house of knowledge while exploring a new land on earth. I just want to tell you ‘ to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther ... And one fine morning will backpack into the valley of flowers’.
What all can a sister desire- a contented brother bloating in success going hand in hand with his partner who runs her household perfectly neat ,a marketing wizard herself now an entrepreneur yet longing to learn the ‘Mittir Bari’ special delicacies demanding nothing ever but a handwritten cookery book from me. With every passing day, as much as I love hearing that I look like & I am like my brother a part of me blushes out. The other part only pokes fun at those people who think this way, because my brother is a success hiker, I can never climb-up to that summit. Today I feel like telling him ‘your fame is well deserved Spaniard .I don’t think there’s ever been a gladiator to match you’.
The man wanted to be a big fish in a small pond !!
That ‘tattered old grocery bag’ of Ma’s kitchen saw the super excited man whose days start going to our JP market buying some veggies and his all-time-favourite fishes. I still wonder what is that special connect of my father with fishes He can see a fish and tell what lies inside their guts. My vacationing father even finds out the best fish markets in London than appreciating the famous landmarks. He dwells from one island to another in Philippines’ in search of a fresh catch. Seeing in my mind’s eye he must have been a very big fish in his past life. I strongly conclude he is always searching for that ‘Big Fish’ in this life dreaming to catch that big enormous fish using his wedding ring as a bait and enjoying the juiciest dinner of his life or may be knowing his travel preference beaches, rivers, lakes or even ponds comforted him more than gigantic mountains, even at 70 years of his tenure he tells me to carry him into the rivers where he probably want to become what he always had been –a very big fish.
All of us know he was the most colourful and a man of great taste living on 23 jodhpur park. It was ‘ those goodtimes’ when the children used to wait for the day he treated us from Waldorf, Tandoor and Sky Room (the great restaurants of yester years) and of course Amber (his favourite and which exists till date). My grandfather never bought the idea of eating outside but my father acted as a rebel in front of him taking even the females of the house to Park street for giving them a life other than usual domestic chores. My eldest brother bordada holds a high regard for his kank( uncle) saying ‘Kank had a tremendous taste for good English films. No one had such great taste of Hollywood Blockbusters in our house at that point of time. He has taken me numerous times to Globe, New Empire to watch classics like Giants of Brasil, 36 Chambers of Shaolin’ A keen follower of sports he was an avid East bengal fan !! This inspired all of us (kids) to follow East Bengal. We used to really tease my uncle (Jethu) when East Bengal won.
He was also very instrumental to inspire the ladies of the house to go and watch test matches at Eden Gardens. He was a good opening batsman and had a very strong square cut which could pierce the field and go towards the boundary. My father has taken Bordada several times to watch good First Division cricket matches and he has visited the Maidan to see him playing Bengal U-19 matches as well as his division games. Bumbada clearly remembers his father was playing once for his Bandhab samaj club against some other small time club. Smashing a cover drive while taking a run between the wickets my brother sitting in the back row of Maidan observed a cloud of dust rising up from the ground. Oh hell !! soon realising my father fell down straight into the ground breaking his left arm . That was the last he was seen with the Cricket bat. He still remains a sport enthusiast , remembering the timings of very leagues, world cups , Wimbledon, French open or even the most leading sporting event - Olympics’. On 21st july 2014 was my father’s most celebrated day seeing India ‘s historic Test win on Lords Cricket Ground. He tells me his life’s mileage is totally justified giving all credit to Bappada together with Tinkuda and Ratanda for accompanying him to lords – ‘home of cricket’.
Joyda the crack-jack of Jodhpur park and both my brother’s mentor weaves forward an anecdote when my father asked him about the best samosas in the town. Joyda mentioned few famed shops in Calcutta at this my father replied ‘How about Manik Da's shingara" Joyda was left with a stun at the same time pleased to know Manik Da's was a small shop near Jodhpur Bazaar and really his samosas were mouth watering. He concludes ‘Small conversations can give you an idea about a person in this case it was simplicity personified and a child in a man’ . Joyda further adds both of them share one common factor – the Retro factor. Saying my father too is a retro man, men who love the 70's be it Bishen Singh Bedi or Chuni Goswami or the numerous film stars of the 70's. Some great people of Mitra dynasty always loved to move around with 'chelas" or commerades. Started by Haripada Mitra, my grandfather, it has moved down through generations and my father too followed this pattern to this Bordada says about himself ‘ I have kept up the 'Great Great" legacy !! It is important to feel important’.
Once my uncle disclosed to Bordada when my father was unwell and was in a hospital for a few days. Obviously he was missing his "Chelas" or that one friend , he wrote a letter to "Manikkaka" which was confiscated from Nandua(our driver) by my uncle. The salutation for Manik Kaka was : " Dear Half Kalija "( my otherhalf) with a heart drawn and half of it sketched. That letter never reached "Manik kaka" but I still am amazed by that letter and love towards his close pals. This is called Camaraderie at its highest. He loved his friends and stood by them. One of the biggest hallmarks that a man can have. He always shared a love hate relationship with his own dad. My father as a friend once disclosed to me he and his father were totally different human beings though he has never doubted his father’s redoubtable success. My father believed my grandfather lived with a primitive rigid tendency. He did not encourage games, sports and music much. I heard my uncle used to disguise to do guitar functions. Except for things that they did as a family, the father-son relationship changed in terms of doing (or not doing) things together. They sort of went separate ways, so to speak. I am hopeful someday their path will cross may be in some other world, they will succeed sorting out things just simply talking to each other.
Daddy's little girl !!
As for me I was always a daddy’s little girl, we share a very unique equation with ourselves. Though I claimed to have shared secrets with him, I know somehow never managed to disclose my painful or sad experiences rather still happily share my cheery moments with him. Knowing at a very small age my father had a delicate heart for his daughter though his two sons remain his pillars. He has never told us that well how much he loves his mother, our very own grandmother (we are unfortunate not to have met her in this life).Whenever he had a crises moment I have seen him gazing hours at the portrait of our grand mom. He has never noticed me or Ma standing behind him as his thoughts was lying with his own mom. Ma also knows this man who with every passing day never fails to buy garlands or flowers or even incense sticks to the portrait. So much so my dad has left eating ‘ a particular fruit’ called ‘ Golap Jaam’ in Bengali , which was his mother’s favourite the day she left our house ,making him mother-less.
His mother lovingly called him ‘Nute’. There is a story behind my father getting his name. Initially you may consider it out of context but you’ll come to know at the end why this story was important here. My uncle and father were born in Jessore. Jessore is a district in the south-western tip of Bangladesh. It is bordered by India to the west. My uncle (Jethu) as a kid fell a victim of a childhood disease called Ricket. The predominant cause of it was malnutrition and deficiency in Vitamin D.As a result Jethu used to feel hungry all the time, sometimes used to sneak food from Thakuma's kitchen eating merrily the meals kept for others in the family. Everyone used to wonder who was the foodie thief in the house. Later everyone came to know about this naughty trick of him. Simultaneously in the locality there was a small time thief who only use to rob food from other houses in the same vicinity, famously called 'Pute' – ‘the khabar chor’. That is how Thakuma lovinly named his elder son 'Pute'. When my father was born my grandmom rhymed Pute with Nute and that’s how my father’s nick name became stamped as ‘Nute’. Hahaha !!
Rhyming names has been an old custom of our house.Pishimoni( paternal aunt) has beautifully carried forward the art. She named us like this Raja- Rana- Bappa-Bumba-Tubai-Bubai and Buri.In 23 Jodhpur Park pet-set names are regular .I feel pet names are a persistent remnant of childhood; a reminder that life is not always so serious, so formal, so complicated.. . These are the names by which they are known in their respective families, the names by which they are adored and scolded and missed and loved. Every pet name is paired with a good name, for identification in the outside world There is another discovery why Rames ( my uncle) is not Ramesh; Subhas ( my father) is not Subhash and Kausik( Eldest brother) is not Kaushik? It was the old west bengal board who took away the 'h' from their names while making the class X admit cards. This also follows to be a good joke amongst us
Simplicity defines him best
Now coming back to my father he has always been a very good cook. He always taught me no matter how good a cook you are- cooking is not about cooking well for yourself; the joy is in cooking for others. Now I know why I love treating and inviting guests over weekends. Now whenever he comes to my place he keeps gaping at me smiling away, once asking he said ‘I realised Buri my mom was always there...she has come to our house again in your shape and that I am his mother’. My father started his own construction firm Uma Rani private Limited naming after his mother. Just as we have smelled the freshness of luxury ,we three also glimpsed the upheavals’ of a business life. Being a single earning member my father has given us the best that he could do. He never wore or bought any fancy or expensive clothes or had never indulged in any affluence for himself instead he gave all the money to my mom saying - Give my kids the best .
Many a times I got annoyed when Baba never acknowledged his wife gifting him a Raymond or a Louis Philippe. I have grown seeing him wearing ordinary fabrics stitched by his all time favourite ‘Gopal tailors’. He loved wearing milk white Fotua or baggies kurtas. The 100ml classic brut eau de cologne was his only fancy which always remained intact nearly new. During weddings or functions when my father wore his best suited combination of dhoti-panjabi attaching his diamond buttons he looked a Zamindar flaunting his ‘Chambal moustache’. Everyone knows he was indeed a rich man’s son but what made him stand out even today is his simplicity, a quality or condition of being plain or uncomplicated. He is aware of the new techniques that have cropped up but he feels extremely contended not to handle them just as he feels happy with his unsmart phone, wearing all wrong combination, he is still a creature with a habit unsightly wearing a sneaker without socks , That’s been one of his mantras ‘Simplicity’
If you meet my father you may say simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get a clear simple mind as his.. Since childhood it seems difficult when people asked me whom I love the most Baba or Ma , more difficult than solving algebraic equations . Even today spending a quarter of my life my answer will still be the usual boring ‘Both of them’. Reaching at this stage of my life experiencing some good yet some spoonful of unpleasant ones I have a reached a conclusion about parenting – We think sometimes poverty is only being hungry , naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved, uncared for is the greatest poverty in the world. The remedy of this kind of poverty was started from my home by our parents. Three of us are always loved equally by our parents. Not for once Baba or Ma showed any sign of preference or being biased for one child neglecting the other. I did come across few families where parents being guardians’ openly shows a bias tendency towards their own kids. Holding one up on their heads ,distancing away the other yet staying impervious colouring their favoured ‘one’. Today I am so proud of my parents its only because of their upbringing that we as brothers and sister entangled on this inseparable bond so well. I can never forgot how Baba fought death when he encountered his first coronary attack in 2004.I know he came back for his little girl-for me-for all of us. Baba says dying is a part of life I say- I wish it wasn’t. I can imagine my life without everyone and anyone except my parents and my two towers of strength – Bumbada & Bubaida.