The garlanded photo on the coffin seemed to say, what the hell are you mourning for? Get moving! Do something! Stop uselessly moping around! It was quintessential Shasheesh.
The blue light came flashing through the crowds. A swathe of fog swooped down on the car as it took the bend around Chowrasta. The reality was taking shape fast. The Saint John ambulance was streaked yellow with strings of marigolds and wreaths. It stopped by the door. Ajoy was in the front seat, bringing his buddy home. The brothers behind and some more people. Friends and admirers of Shasheesh were all there. Disbelief was soon disappearing. A massive crowd watched the coffin brought out, hauled over the heads and into the house, up the worn out red-carpet that he had always skipped up and down. You never saw him drag his feet.
The reality completed itself somewhere inside the house. It shot out of the heart, lodged in the throat for moment and ran out of the eyes. Why does THIS man have to go???? Do cry for him Darjeeling. Just this one time, Shasheesh, allow us.
He was carried to the top floor where often friends had come to celebrate the birthday of his children. He was laid in the hall next to the entrance of his room. Sketches of animals on the glass - a father creatively loving and nurturing his children. Happy dolphins. Outside in the corner of the terrace a small garden of rocks, water and plants. He had it built for son's last birthday. The night had fallen by now.
People poured in, struggling for words to comfort a hearbroken family. It wasn't easy. Ranjita, the wife, could still see him come up the steps, the bridge. She will for a long time.
At the hotel the children did not know Papa was home. They were told by Ranjita's sister that Papa had gone to the moon. He was summoned there by the gods who wanted him to build castles for them. It is a beautiful story, and we actually believe it is true.