Das probably came for a quarter of a season.
There was a time in Pune, when I was waiting for my MBA admission and had nothing to do, so I took up a filler job at Aptech as a counselor. It was a branch office and thus a very small establishment with just a handful of staff including, Das who was the office boy. Well, boy would be a misrepresentation since he was married with a 3 year old daughter.
Since it was a pastime job, seriousness had not set in me. In fact all of us working there were young and doing this as a stop gap arrangement.
The center was recently established and IT as an indstry was going through a slowdown, so we didn’t get too many students and had plenty of time to ourselves. We used to have a gala time exchanging stories and experiences during lunch time and tea time.
That’s when Das’s skills as a story teller would surface and he would enthrall us with his various past experiences including one as a movie theater projectionist. He had a very animated face and did an excellent job of imitating people that had us in splits.
One of my fondest memory of the place is, the whole gang sipping on chai and eating Parle G biscuits while listening to Das narating an exciting story.
Though he was an office boy, he was extremely intelligent. In fact, he learned MS office just by listening to the lectures we conducted for our students and practicing in the lab. He spoke reasonably good English and loved going out. He would always turn up in the flashiest of clothes for any outing we had. He was all for fun and adventure.
Soon I moved out of Aptech and so did most of the gang, we tried keeping in touch via emails and phone calls (this was before Facebook took over the cyber space) but it’s not always that easy and soon drifted apart.
But thanks to a friend’s initiative of reconnecting, we got back in touch and that's when I came to know that Das had passed away a year ago. He was dancing in some Ganesh procession, got a heart attack and died.
Just like that.
Sometimes I feel sad that none of us were there at his funeral or with his family in their grief. But then, I console myself with the thought that the last image of Das in my mind will always be that of a slightly plump man with an infectious grin and an expressive face recounting yet another of his numerous fables.