To Sir With Love…

November 3, 2010 at 9:15 AMNov (Activism, Cinema, Friends, Letter, Literature, Media, Music, Musings, Poetry, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy, Theater)

Dear Buroshiva Dasgupta Sir,

Words like just born birds are unable to unfold their wings and fly from the nest of my heart’s lips. I know not what to say, in this moment. Every expression seems inadequate.

Probably the first time I spoke to you properly was when I asked you for Ghatak’s film. You were as excited as Historian who had succeeded in finding evidence, while excavating, to prove his theory. The insights you gave about Ghatak, not only Ghatak but also Ray and Bergman still echoes in the heart of my ears.

In 2005 November when I came to you to seek permission to have a two-day Ghatak film festival in college on occasion of his Birthday you said, “Go ahead, I will come for a while but you organize it”. It was the same kind of words of love and support that you expressed whenever I came to you with ideas, be it Kala Manch, MFSC or anything else. Whether you can be present for the event or not dint matter to you but you wanted the programs to happen and people to benefit from it. But still for every programme you did come.

The first time I met you in Heggodu, it was Shamik Sir who had asked me to meet you and he had told me that you were planning to start a film society in Manipal. And it did start in your guidance after a year later and by then I had joined MIC and was your student. Manipal Film Study Center as we called it wouldn’t have been the way it is without you and not to forget Ranga Pai Sir. Yes, ably lead and organized by Sunil Sir, but the free hand which you gave us really helped us (especially me) grow.

Kalaam-E-Jazbaat is a kind of ritual from the year Sunil Sir and I joined. In the first Kalaam-E-Jazbaat you sat in the last row and enjoyed the show. That evening Sunil Sir told me that you too are a poet who has translated many verses of Tagore. I managed to get you on to the stage the next time and you not only read out your translations but also sang for us. The next time you made us listen to the sonnets of Shakespeare. The light that I saw in your eyes while you read out those sonnets made me know your love for Shakespeare. My complaint against you is that you dint let me attend your Macbeth classes. But I am glad I was your student for the subject Scripting For Media where, I still remember, how passionately you had spoken about Brecht and Stanislavsky. Those were one of the best classes of my student life, I acknowledge.

When I gave you my application for the teaching post in MIC I don’t know what you thought heart in heart but the way you stood by me was extremely supportive. You, as my colleague and boss, made the working atmosphere so beautiful. You not only let me do what I wanted to do but also succeeded in making me do what I had thought I couldn’t do. Yes, I went wild over you when a dry subject like History of Media was given to me. But it was such a beautiful experience! It not only opened a new world for me but also got me a lot of love from my students.

So many moments when you put yourself under risk for the sake of students. At times it angered me and at times it made me salute you. The welfare of students came first to you. Your broad outlook was difficult for me to understand and for many too. Your spectrum has been difficult for many of us to understand. So the world around you either misunderstood you or understood you less. As you yourself said in the best possible class of yours- at your home- that in Brecht’s play Galileo the students of Galileo go wild against him because they think that he is wrong. But in reality it’s their lack of their understanding that makes them feel that he is wrong.

11th June 2008, I came to your cabin with my resignation letter. I was remembering the day, months ago, when I had come to you with a resignation letter and you had told me- “No, I will not let you resign. I will not let you run away like a loser” and in the next few months you made me realize that I am no loser. I knew this time you wouldn’t stop me from resigning. Now I dint want to leave but I had to and you too couldn’t stop me. My heart was heavy and as I handed over my resignation letter to you, you made my heart even the more heavy by saying “I too resigned an hour ago”. Because I partially know, what a great role you have played in establishing this Institute and knowing how well this Institute can be developed and knowing how well you would have lead it to a wonder, your resignation made my heart silently scream- “mourn MIC mourn”.

Today, (incidentally your last working day in MIC) when I came to your empty cabin my heart was filled with memories and my eyes with frozen tears. Ah, I could still feel the warmth of your hand on my shoulder when, once, in an emotionally overpowering moment I had shed tears in your cabin and you got up from your seat and sat next to me patting my back and holding my hand. You had told me “I am like your friend, you can tell me if something is troubling you”. You have always been with me whenever I needed you and I know you will always be there for me.

In Kamath Sir’s house on one fine evening when we all met you had sung a song from a Bengali play. A palace guard sings that song in the play you said. The princess is running from the palace with her lover and the guard is happy that she is going with her love but is also sad because he himself is in love with her, so the song fluctuates between two moods, which are opposing- you had explained the plot in which the song that you sang in planted in the play. I like the guard today am swinging between two strong emotions for you, who have been a great teacher, a guide, a colleague and importantly a friend in whom I have seen my father.

Without hesitating to mention the lump in my throat I end this nostalgic letter where I began- every expression seems inadequate.

Samvartha ‘Sahil’

30 June 2008

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