Death of a Friend
By Hiranya Borah
Copyright 2017 Hiranya Borah
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Who is a good person and who is a bad person? After observing the society, I lived in for years, meeting people from different backgrounds, I am able to make conclusion that, there is no good person or bad person in this world. A person is good or bad, depends upon the perspective (sometimes we can say it self-interest) of the person who is looking at him/ her. We can find thousands of examples in favour of my argument; but I am restricting myself in citing only few extreme cases. Take the extreme example, in the eyes of a prostitute, a customer who behaves with her properly and pays her properly, may be the best person in this world. Whereas, the same person is a character-loose person in the eyes of the society, in general and in the eyes of his wife, in particular.
One of my friends say a person is good, if he is good in the eyes of the majority of the people. I asked him, ‘which majority?’ Many of the dictums of society of the past are rejected by the present generation. Then again, the question, which generation is correct or good? Even in many times our opinions in groups are different from our individual opinion about a person in camera. Sometimes public perception about a person may be diametrically opposite to his/her actual character. Therefore, finally, I arrived at the decision, nobody is good and nobody is bad in this world. It all depends from which side of the lens you are looking at.
On this background, I have written this fictitious story about changing of relation between the widow and his friend in the eyes of neighbours and relatives.
I thank all my friends and relatives for their encouraging words. I am thankful to my family members for their constant support. My sincere thanks are always due for Smashwarods for their support.
Chapter I: My Friend
We, Amlandweep and me studied in Cotton College, Guwahati four decades ago as Pre-University (now Class XI and Class XII). We had never been very close friends. We have very less in common.
He was more intelligent than I. His subjects were different from mine. He was proud about his family lineage and was able tell a lie at the drop of a hat. Normally we met each other very less during the college days in Cotton college. However, we used to talk as friends whenever we met.
When both of us came to Delhi for our higher studies, we became little bit closer to each other because of the fact that a very limited number of Assamese students were able to get admission in the main campus of Delhi University. We were in Delhi University for four years together since 1981. During this period, he developed the bad habit of taking all types of liquor. May be due to that reason, in the subsequent examination, I was able to do better results compared to him. However, in the same year we were able to crack All India Service.
Time passed quickly. We both got married and posted at different places of India. Ten years back, again both of us were posted at New Delhi in different offices as Directors of Government of India.
When we met in our second innings, I came to know that he got married little bit late and he was childless for few years after his marriage. As a result of that his son was very young when I met him in Delhi.
Chapter II: Indifferent Health
In his college days, also, he used to drink, but after reaching University, he started drinking a lot. I do not know whether he became an alcoholic or not during that period, but in many occasions, I used to get pungent smell of country liquor from his mouth whenever we used to meet him at any function held in Delhi University.
However, I am told he was able to discard the drinking habit after his marriage to Sunayana. Sunayana is tough lady both in terms of physical ability as well as in mental ability. After his marriage to Sunayana, when I met him for the first time, he accused of her being tough and quarrelsome. But I found the lady was very polite but somewhat more expressive about her likings and dis-liking when I met her for the first time in Delhi; after 15 years of their marriage.
As already mentioned only after few years of their marriage they were blessed with a son, the son was hardly five years when they were transferred to Delhi.
In the meantime, drinking took his toll. He was suffering from liver ailment when he was posted at Delhi. Rather, he opted for Delhi posting on medical ground.
As his condition deteriorated over the years and his body became nonresponsive to any medicine by 2003, doctors advised him for liver transplant instead of further medication.
With frantic search, Sunayana was able to find a donor, a distant relative, who became ready to donate a portion of his liver. It was a costly operation for which apart from Government resources, Sunayana had to approach each and every relative to arrange money for the operation. She got very less financial assistance from the relatives of either party. Even no relative had come forward for any physical assistance on or before the day of operation. Just two days before the operation, the relative who was ready to part with his liver also demanded a hefty amount.
When finally, operation was conducted at Vellore, three thousand KM from Guwahati Sunayana was standing alone before the operation theatre. She became penniless after the operation. Luckily for the couple, operation was successful and after three months of the operation, Amlandweep was able to join to his duties.
Chapter III: Death of My Friend
Even after transplant, his condition deteriorated after three years of his operation. The doctors advised him for another operation. The poor lady started searching another donor for his operation. Again, her frantic search yielded in finding a donor against a huge sum of money. Doctors had given a date for his second operation.
During these three years, I was giving physical and moral support to Amlandweep and Sunayana all along as residence of Amlandweep was very near to my earlier Government accommodation. To provide different types of physical help, I had to sit at Amlandweep’s house for hours together, even at odd hours. Sometimes, when Amlandweep had developed some serious medical problems, I used to sit whole night with his wife. In those days, in all practical purposes, Sunayana became a sister to me and I became a brother to her.
However, I must admit that I could not provide any financial help to the family as I was also reeling under heavy financial constraints due to bearing of educational expenses for my college going children.
One week before the date of operation, Amlandweep was asked to go to the hospital for necessary tests for the operation. It was a very exhaustive day for Amlandweep.
After a hectic day in office, when I was taking tea without even changing my clothes, on that fateful day, I got a telephone call from Sunayana. Her voice was trembling. ‘Dada, please come immediately. Amlan is not responding to any of my calls.’
When I reached their home both Sunayana and her son was weeping. I straightway went to his bedroom to see what happened to Amlandweep. I understood that he was no more. Still I called a taxi and took him to the nearest hospital. At the hospital doctor declared, ‘Brought him dead’.
We left the dead body at the morgue of the hospital. Then reaching my home, I tried to contact as many as relatives of Amlandweep and Sunayana over telephone. I had to explain each and everyone how he died and what would be our next course of actions for his funeral. All the family members of his family showed interest how to cremate his body. When I asked the question, when they would be coming, everyone said they would ring back. However, none had rung back on that night. I also contacted officers of his office. Contrary to attitude of his relatives, the officers immediately rushed to his residence at the middle of the night.
We, Sunayana and me decided to cremate his body at Delhi itself as we were not expecting any helping hand from his family located in Assam. When I told about the decision, his brother told me to make necessary arrangement to send his body to his native place. Probably I lost my temper and I told him categorically, ‘If you are interested to take his body to your native village, you please come and take his body. I shall provide all necessary helps. But do not expect that I shall run pillar to post to send your brother’s dead body to your village.’ They immediately backed out.
Here, I want to share a fact with you that during last three years, I did not see anyone from Amlan’s family to visit Amlan even when he was seriously ill.
Finally, Amlandweep was consigned to flames on the next day at Lodhi Road crematorium. Absence of any relative of Amlandweep was noticeable.
All other rituals were conducted in the next ten days where my whole family was involved. Though some of the relatives of both sides attended the rituals, none of the family members of Amlandweep or Sunayana took any active part on one pretext or the other as if, performing of rituals for peace of the soul of Amlandweep entirely lied with me and Sunayana.
Chapter IV: Change in Relation
The works related to family pension etc. were also looked after by some of our common friends. After settling all the financial issues relating to service matters, I reduce my visit to her home as I went back to my normal schedule of life. Further, I noticed, my wife started discouraging me for going to Sunayana’s home.
Though all of her relatives live in Guwahati, Assam, she decided to stay back in Delhi for the sake of her only son who wanted to study in Delhi. Both my wife and I used to visit her occasionally so long our houses were at the same locality.
After one year, we moved out of that locality to occupy a bigger accommodation a few KM away from my earlier accommodation. Number of visits to Sunayana’s home became rare after the change of our accommodation to the new place. After two and half years, she was forced to vacate her official accommodation and had to take an alternative accommodation on rent near to her earlier official accommodation.
One day, I thought, I should visit her to know about her wellbeing. When I told my wife about my desire to visit her rented house, she commented, ‘Ok, go once. But do not go regularly. I do not know what people will think about you and Sunayana if you visit her on regular basis.’
After hearing my wife’s precautionary advice, I postponed my visit to Sunayana’s home indefinitely. However, one day as I was to visit one of my friends’ home in the same locality, I visited Sunayana.
Seeing me she became very happy and emotional. She told me with a soaked voice, ‘Dada, how can you forget your poor sister! All other relatives have already abandoned me. You have been the only pillar of strength for so many years. If you also decided to abandon me, where shall I go when I need some help!!’
‘No, my dear sister, after going to my new accommodation, I became very busy. I promise you, I shall come regularly in future.’
I sat for half an hour. During that half an hour she sobbed many times while sharing her loneliness in last three years. I left her house with an assurance to her to meet her again.
After visiting Sunayana’s home, I reached home hardly after 15 minutes. I was happy to realize that my relation with Sunayana was still very strong.
However, when I told my wife that I went to my Sunayana’s place, to my utter shock, my wife told, ‘I know that you are coming from Sunyana’s home. Mrs. Prajapati telephoned me few minutes ago.’
Mrs. Prajapati was a neighbour of Late Amlandweep and known to my wife for last ten years. Probably, she telephoned my wife for the first time in her life as my wife never mentioned that she had ever telephoned my wife. Incidentally, as far as I remember, that was her last call in the next five years before her husband retired from service and left Delhi for ever.
I have not visited Sunayana’s home since then; not because of fear of the society who may try to disrepute me; but fearing that ‘the so called civilized society’ may not ever allow Sunayana live peacefully for having a brotherly relation with me!!!!!!
The author is a Government servant and a man of vivid experiences derived from his official postings across the country, travels across India and numerous visits outside India. He is presently placed at New Delhi.
His earlier publications are:
1.Random Thoughts through a Coloured Prism
2. Dilemma of a Young Mind
3. Funny Statistics and Serious Statisticians
4. Melody of Fragrance
6. Few Cities through the Lens of Hiranya Borah
7. Guilt: Gift of Winter Spring
8. Beautiful Ghost
9. Great Fighters: Grace of God
10. All Blurred
11. Putting kids to sleep
12.How to become unpopular
14. My grumpy Face
15. Love and Worries
16. Discussion of own Birth: A Taboo
18. Indecent Love Affairs
19. My Fair Lady
21. Two Stories
22. My Mother: Dashami Borah
26. First Attempt
27. A father
28. The Portrait
29. Snapped Thread
30. Only He Knows
31. The Stupid Mother
32. The Same Old Story
33. The Old Scoundrel
34. Third Attempt
35. Some of my First Days and First Nights
36. Snubbed Twice
37. Have You Met the God
38. Frequent Flier
40. Forgive and Forget
41. To Win or to lose
42. Call Girl
43. Beyond Blood Relation
44. Lady with a Black Car
45. My wife
47. Diwali Gift
48. Romance with a Lady
49. Open Hear Surgery
50. My First Love
52. Pebbles on My Way Home
53. My First Bengali Book
54. Murder Mystery
57. Make a Habit to Thank God
58. Killing of A Bird
59. The Hero
60. Fantasy versus Reality
62. Road Rage
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Who is a good person and who is a bad person? After observing the society, I lived in for years, meeting people from different backgrounds, I am able to make conclusion that, there is no good person or bad person in this world. A person is good or bad, depends upon the perspective (sometimes we can say it self-interest) of the person who is looking at him/ her. We can find thousands of examples in favour of my argument; but I am restricting myself in citing only few extreme cases. Take the extreme example, in the eyes of a prostitute, a customer who behaves with her properly and pays her properly, may be the best person in this world. Whereas, the same person is a character-loose person in the eyes of the society, in general and in the eyes of his wife, in particular. One of my friends say a person is good, if he is good in the eyes of the majority of the people. I asked him, ‘which majority?’ Many of the dictums of society of the past are rejected by the present generation. Then again, the question, which generation is correct or good? Even in many times our opinions in groups are different from our individual opinion about a person in camera. Sometimes public perception about a person may be diametrically opposite to his/her actual character. Therefore, finally, I arrived at the decision, nobody is good and nobody is bad in this world. It all depends from which side of the lens you are looking at. On this background, I have written this fictitious story about changing of relation between the widow and his friend in the eyes of neighbours and relatives.