2009 began normally for others, while I recovered from experiences in 2008. The first three months were full of brutal flashbacks of the last year repeatedly appearing in my dreams. My mother suddenly fell sick in the month of April and was drained of energy to a substantial extent. Probably the tensions of 2008 had taken a lot from her. My mother has had severe bouts of asthma before and had very bravely handled herself while my father was sick in 1995 and 2006. This was probably for the first time I experienced the “tigress” going weak and saying “I cannot take it any more.” This was also probably for the first time that I was unable to attend a critical situation in the family owing to my academic pressures. My mother was hospitalized two times within a month. I finally decided to take leave and go see her for a week.
I had the opportunity of visiting Delhi two times in this year and had mixed experiences. Interacting with colleagues and students from IIT Delhi was an exciting one as we chatted on areas of mutual interest and comparing our “bulla” sessions and facilities with theirs. In this connection, I would like to mention the names of two very motivated students of our institute Veerender and Alok, who sort of kept on pushing Susham and me to interact with people from the industry and defence. I also remember taking the risk of missing the train to meet Soumita, who is very actively working in the area of social issues.
I have always remembered that my father had told me how he had worked hard to study. He used to wake up early in the morning, light a lantern and study. When the sun rose, daily household chores were handed to him. It must have been very difficult to live along with these chores then, as the economic conditions were not pretty favourable then. He had always tried to give his two sons the best of the education possible and that he could afford, while he never compromised upon his principles. During the riots of 1984, he played an active role in saving one of our neighbours. I have always been very proud of my father for his standards regarding work and society. Unfortunately, on the fourth day of August in 2009, I helplessly saw the “Royal Bengal Tiger” succumb to his conditions of a severe kidney failure. My father must have loved me very much, for he still appears in my dreams, smiling, hale and hearty, and indirectly inspiring me.
Shortly after my father's death, my mother suffered a silent cardiac attack. With all the might possible, we brothers prayed for her health, while we planned to shift from our home town, Jabalpur. Had it not been for the support from S. K. Bannerjee, Mr. K. Mukherjee and Raju Bhaiyaa, we would have been reeling under severe pressure. The month of August was further unfortunate as my mother's uncle also passed away after falling down and staying two days in the hospital at Kolkata. In this condition, it became severely difficult for us to communicate about my father's death and mother's ill health to my maternal grandfather. It still is.
Dr. Bharat Lohani and Professor Onkar Dikshit, help me get back to my feet after these incidents. Had it not been for their kind words, I would have been still having the brutal flashbacks.
This year, I got back in touch with many of my schoolmates. I was particularly getting jealous of my younger brother owing to the advantage, in terms of technology, he had in keeping up with his peer group. It was a nice experience chatting with old friends with the same vengeance as in school days, albeit with a better sense of humour.
I have had many good news this year as well. Moumita and Susham had a baby in the month of August. Shweta and Ray Mitten are expecting their baby sometime soon in 2010. The same is the case with Nathalie and Roger Goodall, from the Goodall family with whom I had the chance to stay while I was in France, and have kept in touch with me.
My research colleagues from the institute and group friends Nirmali Goswami and Bhavna Bhalla got their respective appointments as teachers. It has always been nice to chat, argue and quarrel on specific points on areas of common interest with these people. I wish them a very fruitful career ahead.
The morning of the first day in this year was cloudy, foggy and cold. However, as the sun rises further in the sky and the sunshine, smiles and warmth spread, I wish you all the best for your journey through this year. Times would be peaceful, sometimes they might be turbulent as well, but I wish that you find God with you always by your side.