28 February 2015

Death, be not proud…

The alarm clock shook me up early in the morning. Half sleepy, still in bed, I was scanning quickly the mails and messages on my phone to check on the important items of the day. It was a FB message that completely shook me out of my bed.

Many hours later, I am still trying to process the news. It has been a whirlwind of emotions. Often my mind goes back to the king snake. That my father in law saw in our property when he was visiting us. That led him to recoil. And lose balance. And fall. And break his hip. Without that I would have never taken him to my brother in law’s house in Kharagpur after I accompanied him back to India. And without taking him there, I would have never realized “Oh! this is an hour away from Midnapore. Maybe I should visit Sibapriya and his parents!!”.

That was barely six months back. His dad was frail and was not in a physical or psychological shape to hold a conversation down with me. He could barely even recognize me from nearly thirty years back when his son and I used to go to the same school in white shirt and grey shorts. But I took a lot of pictures of him.

And the FB message was essentially to let me know that those were the last pictures I would ever have of him.

It is that finality of death that intrigues me and befuddles me. I know I am not supposed to be sad at death. I realize that death is a part of life. If I accept existence, I have to accept lack thereof. I recognize that I ought to celebrate Sibapriya’s dad’s life. Coming from the humble beginnings that he had, what he made of himself is something to be emulated. That he has raised a child as kind, humble and successful as Sibapriya is something I want to say about myself someday reflecting on my children. I get all that. I know that achievement is to be celebrated. And I do.

But it is that lingering…. “yes, but”…
…. I cannot barge into his house one more afternoon just to have a coffee….
…. I cannot go to his bedroom and ask him to sit on his bed so I can take a few more pictures…
…. I cannot ever say to him again “Porer baar abaar dekha hobey. Tokhon bosey aaro golpo hobey”. (“Next time I will see you again and we will sit down and talk about some more stories”)
…. like I did in September

It is that even small ray of hope that death absolutely extinguishes once and for ever….

For all that, I will take his limited life on earth any day. Without that, I would have never had a friend called Sibapriya in my fifth grade.

And that is the lasting legacy he has left for me….


Posted February 28, 2015 by Rajib Roy in category "Musings


  1. By Amitesh Mukherjee on

    Very well written tribute, Rajib Roy. I am glad you got to see him last year. What would we give up, sometimes we wonder, to just be able to hug or to hold or to have that one more cup of tea with or to take one more picture with or just to be able to see those who are no longer with us. My best wishes for Sibapriya and his family.

  2. By Anastassia Dees on

    I am glad you were able to visit him when you did. Death has such an absolute finality that it’s hard to grasp and comprehend. Sorry for the loss…

  3. By Vicky Ruffin Cupit on

    and in death we alas live on in the memories of the ones left behind… solace sometimes, but elusive at best… sorry for your friend’s loss and yours.

  4. By Baisakhi Chakraborty on

    Sympathies with Shibapriya, his family and to you too Rajib……Its really sad that all mortals have to live in and leave this world. truth is somewhat bitter…and death in some cases is most unacceptable……

  5. By Anshu Dutta on

    ….sorry.. for Shibu..indeed a massive loss…I had saw him last.. few yrs back inBidhannagar residence..kaku nd kakima both loved ne very much..

  6. By Anshu Dutta on

    ..Rajib it is a very shocking news..I had just talked with Shibu..he had tried to contact me…but felt due2 network problm…

  7. By Sibapriya Dasgupta on

    My eyes welled up when I read this post and looked at the picture of my frail father.
    My father was indeed a brilliant student, first class first in Isc. University blue as he excelled in various sports events.A degree of engineering from B.H.U , M.Sc tech from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.Before he could submit his thesis he travelled to U.S.A Pennsylvania , not a mean feat in those late fifties early sixty days.
    Talking of perseverance, one story regarding his dogged determination appealed to all our family members.As a child he requested his father to give him a bicycle(quite a possession in those days).My grandpa said that he had to earn it one part at a time….he stood first every year to earn consecutively each wheel , handle seat and finally a whole new bicycle which I got to see years later! His honesty and integrity was respected in his workplace and elsewhere! May his soul rest in peace! Thank you all! Rajib Roy you have opened the floodgates of memories , thank you for everything!

  8. By Samaresh Mukhopadhyay on

    Sibapriya: I never met you a person but connected virtually. I can feel the void you feel at this moment. I pray to the almighty for his blessed sojourn into the universes/heaven and gradual healing for you and the rest of the family. We all will go through these defining moments, but the one who is facing the immediate impact face the momentous strike. God bless us all.


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