‘A person should always put on his dress smartly’, perhaps, I read this line in an interview of Katrina Kaif. It comes in my mind every time I come across Sunirmalbabu, a retired junior technician of public works department. At 83, he is the oldest member of the local Laughing Club and may be their iconic figure like the celebrated actress. With his dark lanky figure and dressed in nicely ironed white half-shirt inserted inside black trouser he looks very young. He has a strong composed voice which can baffle anyone like me in judging his age. Only his high-power lenses in black frame against the backdrop of white hairs and slightly bend posture indicate his age. On many occasions in the morning we find the Gate of Badharghat Sports Complex closed. But, it’s not a problem for Sunirmalbabu. He did not scare to cross the wall climbing like his younger comrades. This is despite the sad experience of one of their aged friends who damaged a leg by attempting a small jump from the wall.
The other day, Sunirmalbabu made an interesting revelation about the taste of independence. He was a student of
His earning berth in the government service is equally interesting. Accompanying somebody in his last right up to burning-ghat is treated like pilgrimage in Hindu mythology. There is a popular belief that one can approach at least one stair towards the heaven by attending 108 such processions. Many elderly persons of his locality wished to sail their last journey on his shoulder. By the time he met an octogenarian lady in her deathbed he had crossed a quartet of such hurdles towards the
The lady smiled and wished to take ground nuts. At once, some ground nuts were brought. She took two three pieces smilingly. It was about a month away from Durga Puja. Sunirmalbabu predicted that the lady would expire two days after the Laxmi Puja.
His friends said, ‘Why do you forecast two days after the Laxmi Puja?’
‘Because, Didima will not like to deprive us of the feast of Kojagiri Purnima’, came the reply. The lady survived on that occasion and died as per prediction made by Sunirmalbabu. But, before that she asked his son to arrange a government job for Sunirmal which his son obliged.
When I was listening the story from horse’s mouth in course of morning walk, a man in his mid-forty was crossing us with his wife. He has a nickname ‘Bancha’ in the locality. It has derived from the Tapan Sinha film ‘Bancharamer Bagan’, based on the story of Monoj Mitra. Our ‘Bancha’ has an influential politician at a distant mofussil town as his father-in-law. The man had four brothers, all bachelors. They have huge landed property. Though his father-in-law has expired, two of his brothers are still counting their days. ‘Bancha’ will get the entire share of the property once they die. So, every time ‘Bancha’ gets information about their illness he visits the place with his wife, only to return disheartened.
‘Bancha’ can not predict like Sunirmalbabu one’s end of journey.