15 August 2017

Two very special people from nearly five decades back

Last year, one Saturday evening, sitting by myself around midnight, I was reflecting on my life and the various people who helped me thru that journey. Somehow, my mind went back to Jagannath-da who I had almost forgotten.

I was born a farmer’s son. My dad used to till land till he got a break and got a job in a steel plant that was getting constructed about 100 kilometers away from our village. During those very very early days of my life – a life comprising of a hut made of dirt, roof made of straw, ablutions in ponds, a lot of playing in dirt roads and such rural facets – Jagannath-da and his brother Santo-da were our heroes.

They both worked with my dad and his brother (my uncle) in the land that we had growing rice and potatoes. And they worked on a lot of household work for us. They – specially Jagannath-da – served a very important role in my life. I was too short then to pick the mangoes and tamarinds from the low hanging branches of the trees. And too weak and of terrible aim to fell them with stones. So, Jagannath-da used to pick me up on his shoulders and then I used to grab a mango or a tamarind. Or two.

That evening by the poolside started a near impossible search for Jagannath-da and Santo-da. I knew the name of the village they lived in but I did not have contacts of anybody in their or my village who would know them. Eventually, my dad had given away some part his land to Jagannath-da and Santo-da and sold the rest. Then we lost contact.

As luck would have it, when I was in Frankfurt during transit this time, one of my very distant cousin sent a message that somebody in that family of Jagannath-da (they were seven brothers and one sister and I am sure had at least twenty to twenty five sons and daughters) actually has a mobile phone and that my cousin will get me the number in a day.

She came thru for me. By the time I landed in Delhi, I had a number. After I landed in Bangalore, I called up that number and I asked whoever picked it up to pass it on to Jagannath-da. “Chintey paarchho? Ami Damu-r chhele Bachchu bolchhi”, I asked, half afraid that I might be a very distant memory for me.

I really had nothing to worry about. He rattled off a lot of things about me and our time together nearly fifty years back that I have mostly forgotten. Touched that he actually remembers me so vividly, I promised to see him and Santo-da this trip.

Yesterday, I made the trek to my old village. Dad had gone off to sleep in the afternoon. I grabbed a local guy and got him to drive me to the village. (My brother had to rush back to Kolkata since my elder nephew is down with fever now).

Just as the car turned at Shibtala, I could see two gentlemen sitting under a tree, umbrellas in their hand (it is rainy season here). I distinctly recognized Jagannath-da. I had to wait till Santo-da smiled to remember his face. I do not remember how long the hugs lasted but they were not long enough!

So many memories. So many things to thank for. Such great, simple and honest people from the yesteryears.

We went walking around the village and remembering some of the old spots. Found out that their family still till the land my dad had given them. Believe it or not, Jagannath-da – the one on my left – is 85 years old! He came walking from his village to meet me. Santo-da brought his bicycle!

That was one of my best intersection points of my life. These are people on whose shoulders I have – literally and figuratively – climbed upon to be who I am today!!! I hope to see them a few more times in my life and spend a little more time with them…

Posted August 15, 2017 by Rajib Roy in category "Intersection Points", "Vacations


  1. By Sujan Sarkar on

    Your relentless endeavour to reconnect with the people of your yesteryears inspires me a lot . I really love these posts . I myself turn back to my childhood acquaintances again and again , but have often been disheartened to find that they do not remember the past , or try to exploit the situation , or simply think I am a crack !

  2. By Raja-Gautam Kar on

    Rajib, more I read your stories on “intersection points”, more I admire your journey of recognizing people who have touched your life. This one is very special. God Bless.

  3. By Chaitali De on

    Rajib da…your story reminds me my childhood days. When I visit india I still try to meet people I grew up with or better to say who helped me to be who I am today. I meet them, talk to them, spend some quality time with them. I may not be able to meet each and everyone but always remember them!

  4. By Vasumathi Sriganesh on

    Keep doing what you do Rajib and definitely do keep sharing stories. Am so happy that you could meet both and that you could exchange everlasting hugs! Both were vital

  5. By Pankaj Sehgal on

    Hi Rajib, Always enjoy your blogs! Would love to meet if you are in India…I am in Delhi but can meet you in Mumbai and Bangalore as well if you’re going to be in any of these cities….Best Pankaj

  6. By Joe Friend on

    You are more of a blessing to those around you than us to you. That is an amazing statement. Thank you for your transparency, and the level of openness you offer. It is refreshing. We need to reconnect when you have some time my friend.

  7. By Samaresh Mukhopadhyay on

    More I know you I feel intrigued. You love human beings irrespective of their stature and able to make deep connections. You are in a true quest for life.

  8. By Sutapa Das on

    You are a great person Rajib!! I feel amazed every time I read about your stories on intersection point. You make people special around you!!

  9. By Debyani Dasan on

    I just love the honesty in every one of your post. This one explains why the birth in the hut. I feel proud to know someone whose integrity is unquestionable.


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