I have many fond memories of Tagore Park. I was between 9-13 years then. My Dad was in the peak of his career, a very hardworking, conscientious person and was very involved with his work. My mother was the most accomplished lady, I have met in my life, was immaculate, graceful and social. She had this charm in her, that all his brother’s friends, like khokon mama, Rathin mama, Nemai mama, used to come to our house after work to meet her and enjoy her company. She used to cook for all. She was the most popular ‘Didi.’
She was also active in Mahila Samity, where she was the President. She was very strict with us, in terms of doing our studies, but used to encourage us a lot in extracurricular activities. I was very keen on sports, always. She also used to love seeing movies. The good thing was, she always travelled to the movie hall in a taxi, that was a big bonus for us, as my Dad, would never take a taxi, ever, and wanted all of us to travel by bus always. After movies, the buses were always very crowded.
15 Tagore Park, was artist Mukul Dey’s house, bought over along with a parcel of land, by the Government of India. My dad got this huge bungalow as an allotment for him. It was a big house with playgrounds, lawns, two outhouses and a summer cottage shaped building, with big rooms, a huge veranda etc. The good thing was, there was enough space to play cricket, which I loved. We had a whole enclosure for support staff and Bahadur with his wife, used to stay there, apart from other domestic help. Bahadur’s job was to look after me. He used to take me to school, bring me back, help me with my games etc. I still remember his face. A very nice guy. Every year in 15 Tagore Park, we had many parties and get togethers. My mother was great host. Once we had a huge picnic for all writers, composers and famous literary people and they spent an entire day with us. There were about 60/70 of them. They were all Dad’s friends. My Dad was very attached to children’s literature, and he used write poems for children, which were extremely well written. He was an extremely talented person. Then family members from my famous Mama Bari, which we were very attached to, used to assemble at least once a year for a get together and picnic.
Over 100 of them. We used to have a huge photo session in the afternoon, and that used to go into the albums. My neighbors in 15 Tagore Park were, Rana, Raja, Debu, Anjan, Barsha, Khokon. Debu’s dad was a very senior businessman, had a driver, car and looked always very serious. He used to wear a gown, when at home. I was a little bit in awe of him. I thought he must be a “borolok”, with lots of money. Rana/Raja’s Dad was great fun. He was very loving and very keen on sports. He used to play with us on Sundays. Both his sons were good in sports. I remember he had long nails. I did not understand why. Anjan was a little older than us, but was a leader. We used to listen to him. He used to stay close to the main road. Khokon/Barsha, were brother and sister and their mother was a very charming lady, but gave us a feeling, of being a little too well off. So, we were a little scared of them. But she was otherwise, a very pleasant lady. Barsha was the only girl in the group.
Everybody fell for her. She was petite, good looking and smart. We felt, she could be a little too good for all of us. She used to give attention to me and Debu, a little more than the others, but never got to find out more from her about her feelings. All these friends of mine are lost today. At times, when I pass through South City, which was where Jay Engineering was earlier, and the entry of 15 Tagore Park, was a road opposite to where the wall of Jay Engineering started. At times, I feel, I will get down from the car, walk around that place, and may be, I will suddenly meet one of them. I still see the Jewelry shop on the road, where my mother used to go, Sarat Jewellery Works, it is still there. I thought, one day, I will go and ask them. But I have never done that. They must have heard about me, but whether they have been able to place me, I don’t know. By writing this note about 15 Tagore Park, I am going back to those days of joy and having an opportunity to acknowledge people, who played a role in my life. This is my way of expressing my gratitude to them.
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