Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Last Days of a Real Writer

Subimal Misra, the well-known Bengali writer, called me this evening. Before going to my clinic, I was watching news on the telly at that hour.

Just when I was trying to relocate who it was speaking, he said, "Mrinal-Babu, I'm Subimal Misra. How are you?"

I hurriedly muted my TV set and replied, "Hi Subimal-da! How are you? I hear you after a long time."

"I'm in a very bad shape. That's why I'm going to disturb you."

"What's the problem?"

"You know I've scores of diseases: diabetes, asthma, a pace-maker in heart. But right now I'm having severe cough with shortness of breath. Can you suggest some drugs for me?"

I didn't respond immediately. The fact is, he is unwilling to go to any doctor for whatever reasons. May be he doesn't like visiting any doctor at all. And then he lives alone in a tiny rented flat far far way in the south. He seldom goes down out of his flat. How he manages his day-to-day living, I don't really know. I've not seen him in years - some eight or so. The only bit of news that I get of him is from his translator V. Ramaswamy, who is my friend. Ramaswamy keeps regular contact with him and helps him whatever way he can. .

"Are you listening to me, Mrinal-Babu?"

His is a long tired voice, and I can gauge he's breathing with difficulty. He must have some respiratory infection.

"Well, Subimal-da, take down"

I see him scribbling the names of drugs.

"Thank you. Part 1 of the problem is solved. The second part remains: to buy he drugs from the medicine shop. Who would go to buy it? I've not gone out of my flat for last two months".

"What about your fans and friends?"

"They have all abandoned me."

Silence reigns between us for a long while.

"Have you heard from Ramaswamy recently?"

"Yes. His 21-year- old son has passed away. How sad! Have you seen the boy? Long ago Ramaswamy came to take me to a doctor.. The boy was in the car".

"Are you writing these days?"

"How can I stop? I breathe in my writing".

Read a Subimal Misra story (translated)

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