This website is dedicated to my family, all my friends, “fans” (many of my friends have become my fans, but so have I become theirs!) and all other people who have touched my life. Each of them contribute, in their own special way, to whatever I am and whatever I manage to do. You are the fuel that keeps me running… a BIG THANK YOU to all you guys who conspire with the universe and inspire me every single day! Yes, I do like my own freedom and personal space at times… but that does not mean I don’t want to be with you or want you out of my life! I respect each and everyone of you for what you are. In fact, I’ll go one step further and say that I need you all in my life – there’s little I can do (or could have done, for that matter) without you folks… (After all, we get there faster when we are together, don’t we?)
Thanks for joining me, friends!
But most importantly, this site is dedicated to my mother (Prof. Dr. Chandrika Mukherjee) who passed away due to the terminal cancer disease on May 15, 2001 at the age of 54. She was the greatest source of inspiration in my life and was without a shadow of a doubt the MOST WONDERFUL human being (in all respects that I can think of) whom I had known in the course of my life. I still love her just as much as I used to do when she was alive. I thank God / The Universe for having enriched my life by letting me get to know her and to have her as my mother.
“A hundred days had made me older
since the last time that I saw your pretty face
A thousand lights had made me colder
and I don’t think I can look at this the same
But all the miles that separate
They disappear now when I’m dreaming of your face
I’m here without you Ma
but you are still alone on my mind
I think about you Ma
and I dream about you all the time
I’m here without you Ma
but you are still with me in my dreams
And tonight it’s only you and me…”
Would like to reproduce a poignant article written by Prof. Bharati Roychowdhury (colleague and dear friend of my mother) which came out in the Rammohan College where Ma used to teach. Few things made me cry and feel so proud at the same time.
Remembering Prof. Chandrika Mukherjee
She was not what you would call a smash hit in a gathering. She was not a lady with pronounced likes and dislikes. Not a person either you would argue with, because if you did, she would just listen to you with a condescending smile, seldom contradicting. She was not a person you could find fault with, knowing that she too was not above all human frailties. She was not a person who would turn down a student’s requests, sometimes patiently listening to what they might have to say.
And yet, she had her own evaluation of things. She formed her own opinion and held on to it quietly while we argued and gave her verdict loud enough. She, however, would allow nothing to tarnish her relationship with friends even at the cost of her already formed opinion. Sometimes her seeming diffidence would cause annoyance because she would not react to certain deliberate lapses. But then that was her way. Not that she did not condemn or she never had a hard word to say when situations demanded, yet she would use it sparingly never turning the offender overboard.
One thing always shone on her face. A disarming, little abashed, smile that was so reassuring in today’s world! Every single person in the college had a loving word to say about her. She gave and got that rare thing — love.
I remember. Almost a quarter of a century ago we, three or four of us, new young lecturers with the joy of life spilling over, would often go out on a quick picnic tour laughing and giggling away our time, sometime in a boat on the river Ganges, sometime on a green patch of land, a little away from the heart of the honking city roads. I remember, yes, the warmth of welcome on her face whenever friends would visit her. I remember the laughs and the jokes and the tears we shared. I remember, she was a gourmet relishing good food like a connoisseur in the company of friends or students in a picnic or a party. I remember both of us going to a colleague’s house to see her new born. She was enjoying the good dinner they prepared – who on earth could have known she was wearing away inside? That was the last dinner we had together! Maybe her last good meal too! I remember, on our way home, we talked at random of the days gone by, of life at large, of people, of our sons, of so many other things! I remember, I remember.
She was a picture of peace even in her last moments, with all the anxieties and pain laid to rest in her wide bosom. Nothing seemed to disturb her in the last hours – not even the thought of the unknown journey to the next world and its visions. A colleague even suggested she take God’s name, assuming that would lessen the pain a bit but she kept quiet and enquired about her colleagues instead. A calmness of spirit descended on her. When I urged “keep on fighting” her eyes responded, but when I added £you’d get well, sure!” she had a queer faint smile on her lips almost saying “come on, I don’t need that anymore!” And it went like a shot through my heart. The candle went out within minutes.
A loving mother, a loving friend, a loving teacher, you had always been the cementing, understanding factor in the department. You never, ever, hurt anybody. You were the first person I would ring up whenever I needed some suggestion regarding the college curriculum. You were the first person I would turn to in a moment of crisis in the college. And you always would have a kind comforting word to say to me. You know what? You had one glaring fault in your character. You never took good care of yourself. Why didn’t you? What ailed you? Are you like Lucy, rotating with the elements in earth’s diurnal course? I feel you are. I can still feel your palms on my head. What blessings did you give me, my senior, my friend?
– By Prof. Bharati Roychowdhury (Dept. of English, Rammohan College)
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