I was still recall the last days of his life ,when the most important man of my life was taking some if his last breaths of his life . He was my maternal Grandpa ,whom I very affectionately christened “NANU”.
Being the only granddaughter I meant the world for him. My father was a social activist ,and being the head of the labour Union ,he seldom provided me company , and as one and only daughter, I always carved for it.Somehow ,I realised this fact after Nanu’s death, that papa’s absence and negligence towards me was selflessly substituted by Nanu.
During his last days , he was lying on his death bed and murmuring some words . I went closer to his bed which was stinking with medicinal odour. He was murmuring something like ‘Desher bari’, which means my village house.I immediately recalled the stories he told me ,when I was a child . He was one of the million victims of India-Pakistan partition. He belonged to Dhaka district of Bangladesh ,but for him there was no difference between Bangladesh and Pakistan .He considered both as a part of India,which was cut away from it.
I grew up listening about the enigmatic beauty of Bangladesh .His descriptions drove me away to the land of Padma river,its beautiful farmlands, the innocence in its people and their simple lives,but I never use to enjoy the end of these stories recited by Nanu ,because it always ended with the sad note ,of partition .As a child ,I felt as if I was driven out of a fairy land ,as an adolescent ,I felt frustrated to see Nanu drop tears for his motherland ,and as a grown up mature lady I started sympathising with not only Nanu ,but also lakhs and lakhs of people who had to leave their country and come to India.
He was an ardent animal lover and and throughout his life , he has been keeping pets. He had a variety choices of pets ranging from cats to rabbits to parrots to pigeons ,but always had a soft corner for a pet dog.He Grandma nicknamed him ‘Shakuntala’ because he shared only one quality of Shakuntala,that he was her love for animals.
I have had conversation with many people ,who were refuge to India from Bangladesh. Whenever I asked any of them what did you miss the most of your country ,I received variety of answers .Some said they missed their green fields ,some were grieving for their ancestral property ,some missed their relatives, who could not make it to India,some even missed the royal cusine and. mouthwatering dishes the tasty culinary of Bangladesh. There were a category of oldies who even missed the pure air and the fragnance of their soil, but whenever I asked Nanu about the things he missed ,he gave an answer which seemed too simple a reason to moss his country.He missed his pet dog and goat. The eleven year old month,(my nanu’s nickname), could not forget the innocent animals who watched him as Nanu along with his family boarded a boat to leave for India never to return back. He described that they had tears in their eyes as they bid final farewell to him. While reciting this story his eyes wept in the same way as they wept whenever I was in pain.
After his death I realised, it was only the body of Mr.Durgadas Mukherjee (nanu’s official name),which visited India ,but the soul and heart of little Month laid back in the lap of green fields of desher bari,along with his pets. After his death I realised that some memories can never be erased,even if we don’t cherish them. They keep on pondering us till our end.