With Jayanta dada at twilight

Special issue curator: Owshnik Ghosh

Jayanta dada,

I consider myself privileged that I got the chance to meet you. Though our dada grandson relationship (not blood but word) lasted only for a few months, you gave me beautiful memories and lessons which I will carry with me till I go. I’ve seldom seen such a big-hearted person like you. The way you received me: an amateur in the field of words, was unbelievable. The rest of the world lost a prolific writer but we, who got to know you in person lost someone who remained very close to our core with his charming personality.

I saw tiredness in your eyes when I first went to Chandrabhaga, Tinkonia Bagicha. The burden of such a long life with the partings of close ones tried to occupy you. Yet you always kept smiling. At the twilight of your life when I came in touch with you by chance, that smile was fading away and the shadow of near parting was occupying you. That reflected in your words too. The last poetry book- Noon which you had sent me with a small letter reflected your melancholic mood.  Your poems have always been a companion in my mournful times, when I bleed from inside, your words sit beside me and accompany me: as if you rest your hands in my shoulders.

You know, I was utterly surprised when you read some of my translated works of Sankha Ghosh published in a web magazine and asked for some more translations to be published in Chandrabhaga 20. I never dreamt of that. How can such a great and strict editor like you can ask for works of an amateur like me? But when you asked for the original Bānglā ones with the translations, I understood you never compromise with your works. That is really a lesson for all of us. Do you remember all those conversations where you preferred to speak in Bānglā instead of English? I was so impressed by your Bānglā accent and regretted for not knowing Odia. Otherwise, I could have read your Odia poems too…

Thanks to Anwesha who helped me to read your Odia poems afterwards. And I dared to translate them too! When you heard that you were so happy! You sent me an autobiographical poem just few days back before getting admitted to the hospital. You wanted that to be translated into Bānglā, me and Anwesha worked on that and now when that got published, I found you’re gone.

Your readers will remember you through your infinite terrain of words. But we, who were linked with you personally in some or other ways will sufferer. Because you had something in your personality which is lacking in this age of rat race. What’s that, I can’t tell. That extraordinary quality of your personality with which you could make lifelong bonding with people young and old. We are mourning but at the same time we are trying to keep a smile on our face. We can’t let you go with a heavy heart. In spite of all partings, you celebrated life. I believe the best homage we can pay to you for all the love you gave us is by celebrating our own lives. Please bless us so that we can reflect your virtues throughout our lives.

The weary sun is on move towards the horizon. The leaves of the trees at Chandrabhaga are shading the drops of late monsoon rain. Birds are coming back to their nests. Leaving your writing desk by the window, you opened the door and came out in the garden, crossed the path with tired feet. Then you opened the gate, leaving the bustling streets of Tinkonia Bagicha behind moved towards the horizon, where Mahanadi meets the infinite twilight. Have a safe journey Jayanta dada. If you can please take some rest. The shades of the bamboo trees will always wait for you in our hearts.




Owshnik Ghosh

Owshnik Ghosh completed his masters in Comparative Indian Language and Literature from The University of Calcutta in 2022. He is engaged in a number of translation projects. He is a bilingual writer and his works are published regularly in literary journals. At present he is pursuing a course in ‘Translation in practice’ at Jadavpur University. He is one of the co editors of a literary web magazine named The Antonym. He is also associated with Yapanchitra literary magazine. His dream is to see a world without any boundaries and dedicates all his works to that dream.

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