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Sunday, Oct 11, 2020 14:15 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Oct 11, 2020 08:57 [IST]

Thinking local

In fond memory of
Bidhan Chandra Prakash Pradhan (1944-2017)
A tribute to my Mama, a friend as well


PART-III

RAJIVA SHANKER SHRESTA




Bidhan Mama was interested in writing and journalism since his school days though I have no record to show this bent of mind. His taking up English Honours shows how interested he was and used to tell me about his keen interest to take up the postal course and must have done it with it too. He used to tell that had we been studying in big cities like Calcutta, we would have the benefit of taking up classes to enhance our hobbies/knowledge in the field we like. He, therefore, spent his later years doing things he was adept in naturally yes gardening. Not only did he started a nursery in top two floors of his five-storey building but also used the ground floor growing mushrooms that was ideally suitable for the purpose. He used to visit concerned departments to know about the latest techniques/gadgets and get seeds available with them. Not satisfied, he would order it from sources in the country and abroad as he was quite familiar with the trade with his family business of The Chandra Nursery. With earthworms given from my unit, he had used vermicompost to the best. He often used to share with friends and family the flowers and vegetables home-grown and excess used to find a way to the government departments and even to the Lal Market in Gangtok. He was keen on documenting materials with him on The Chandra Nursery and had passed on some of them to me. I had attempted to start with a website also but no further was possible due to insufficient information.

He was a sportsperson and a good footballer since I had seen some photographs clicked him winning 100 metres race and playing football tournaments for his school in Kalimpong. He used to tell me about the Postal courses to enhance our knowledge which I could not take to my benefit. He used to pass on magazines like Awake and others. He was also with us when the Nav Jeewan Sandhya Club was started in 1963-64. Those days too we had swept the Rhenock Bazar road to put across the message of cleanliness being essential to our life – very much like the present-day Swachchta Sewa Abhiyan. So much so that the then Principal Administrative Officer R. N. Haldipur* was with us when visiting there.

Bride-hunting
Marriage is one of the most important events of our lives and together we had ventured into it together when in Calcutta. There was some pressure from our family to tie the nuptial knot without any delay as both of us had secured a government job. He had some of his sisters married off in Kathmandu while my relatives were at Birgunj who could suggest us some good girls to marry. My friend Dhruba was then in Calcutta looking after forwarding Nepa Agency owned by the Rajbhandari. Knowing our plan he asked us whether we would like to travel by road and avail the facility of the newly imported Land Rover going to Nepal. We jumped into the offer and were soon proceeding ahead with our plan. When at Birgunj my Nini* came to know the purpose of our trip and Janak Devi Bhauju* mentioned about his sister's daughter. Her elder sister Bhakti Bhauju's daughter Madhuri married to Prof. Vishnu Man Shrestha* in the Tribhuwan University, Kirtipur would help me in reaching girl's home. Mine was thus done. Bidhan Mama's sister Sarala* and Shyam Raj Rajbhandari* had one proposal from Pokhra and we visited there. When we came back home his other sister Saroja and Mani Raj Kayasth from Banepa had come to meet us. One evening when we were sharing with him the progress so far, we could somehow know that Bidhan Mama had someone else already there in his mind. She was in that home itself and was none other than Shyam Raj Sanuba's niece. We too agreed with Bidhan Mama – trouble of travelling all the way from Sikkim to Pokhra was to further lengthen the journey those days. After some initial hitch, it was decided in his favour. By the year-end, Bidhan Mama brought home his bride Neera and next month for me to follow the suit and throw a reception party at Rhenock. He has left behind daughter Smita and son Atul with Neera Maiju while me too blessed with son Raman and daughter Rachna.

Final innings
By relation we were Mama-Bhanja but more than that we were friends since our childhood days. I wish I should have written when he was amidst us so that how well I love/know him as a company since our early days! None of us had even the slightest hint that he would be leaving us so soon and so suddenly but life is like that when we end up with it as the ultimate does not come announced. Yet the Yamaraj gives as some say, some signals that we fail to note or pay heed to. The first signal when our hair turns grey, the tooth starts falling, eye vision lessens, knees pain, the system fails this way and that. Anyway, we have to face them all and bid adieu once for all to our friends, family/relatives and well-wishers. Some achieve the ultimate early while sometime thereafter, but all must take a final leave and no one can avoid the exit. It is a great relief for them all who depart as they obtain the Moksha to free them from all the worries what life is made of in general as far as I know and believe.

Before coming to the end of this story, if I were asked to mention the best ever thing Bidhan Mama had done in his life, without any hesitation it would the love and respect a child could do to his parents. He had lost his mother when not even a year old but he knew how much his stepmother Yamuna Maya*(we lost her early this year) had done to his bed-ridden father and the entire large family including her own three children. Every single ritual maintaining the family honour and tradition was followed to find a suitable match and see all married off and well settled in life. It was at his Gangtok residence, Sahasra Chandra Darshanam / Maharatharohan or Jankwa in common parlance with profound love, honour and respect was held to mark sighting of thousand moons by her. It is believed in the Newar society that a person attains divinity reaching this age. What could have been a more fortunate opportunity for a son to have performed this socio-religious rite that gave us all relatives the golden chance to seek her blessings. Unfortunately, her own son and elder daughter themselves thought it better to skip and miss this great occasion!

May his soul rest and eternal peace in the company of all those who are already there in the heaven to begin a score all-new with much of experience and knowledge gained while in this world! Tearful we all bid adieu for a long journey to the eternity!!

CONCLUDED

Disclaimer: This is an account of author's personal notes in fond memories of a relative. Some names of persons (with *asterisk for those who are no more), places and events have been mentioned here only to relate/connect with and no intentions otherwise whatsoever. Contact: shrestars@gmail.com



Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi