Thursday, January 1, 2015

Thinking about Avijit Paul and Moumita Das in the New Year

(Avijit Paul and Moumita Das, the artist couple were killed in October 2014)

A year without you two. In October you are gone. In November we came to know about your departure. Many a tear was shed. So many words were written. A few condolence meetings. Yet, I do not know, you Avijit Paul and Moumita Das, how many of us remember you still. I was with a couple of friends yesterday night, drinking beer in silence and listening to a few old Rajesh Khanna songs in television. My New Year Eve was like that; without noises and shouting. Happiness was not overflowing and the shake hands at the strike of twelve at night were more obligatory and customary than out of pure intention. While listening to the songs from Amar Prem, a Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore starrer from late seventies, I was thinking about you two. I was thinking about you two so intently that I woke up with this feeling that I should write about you once again. But then people will call me a pessimist; someone who writes about the dead and gone on a beautiful New Year morning. So I postponed the idea of writing about you two, two innocent souls that were destroyed for no reason. Still I could not overcome you. I travelled from one city to another. And I am here tonight, sitting in a new place, in a new bed with a couple of boys to attend my worldly need of hunger. But I am still thinking about you. May be your parents and relatives and a few friends are also thinking about you at this moment. But be reassured, you are remembered.

There is a particular reason for me to remember you two so intently. I was one of those few people who had met in a place to do something towards commemorating you two. There were a few enthusiastic friends who knew you better. I had not even met you two when you were alive. But I thought it was my duty to be there and do something towards commemorating your lives. There were a few plans and they were really good. We wanted to declare an award in your names. We thought of setting up a few scholarships and funds for assisting young artists who needed support in fulfilling their education and international residencies. We had even thought of having a fund raising show to give some money to your families, not as compensation but as a gesture of togetherness. We wanted to tell your parents that we were with them and we would remain with them so long as we live. We wanted to tell them that we shared their pain. Everything was going smooth and I found my friends very enthusiastic. I suggested crowd funding for it. And I was sure that crowd funding would have worked better than forming a corpus fund through the contributions of selected donors. Everything was going smooth and I was hopeful. My friends looked earnest in their approach. I even wrote a concept note for the show that would earn some funds for your families. I did not want any piece of glory from it so I even I decided not to mention my name anywhere in the activities. My friends who are good at organising things promised me that they would do the needful.

Nothing happened. I kept on enquiring about it. One of them who took the initiative to organize the meeting that I had attended later told me that the friends who promised their help soon turned cold towards the whole thing. I do not know what happened. Was my approach wrong? Was my approach too patronising? I do not know. May be those who live, do not want to spend their precious time on the cause of the dead. But I am in a way guilt ridden because I thought that I was doing something towards commemorating your lives. But nothing happened and I feel that it was my failure in getting things done than those people promised their help. I think a lot about you people on the last day of last year and the first day of the New Year because I feel that I have further done something wrong to you by trying to initiate something which turned out to be a non-starter. I want to tell you sorry. I am sorry for doing that. And I do not know what my fellow travellers who came around to do something to commemorate you think about it now. But I cannot exorcise you two out of my mind. I think you will live along with me so long as I live because I understand the possibility of death in the mind of someone living. 

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