Calcutta Story Kaikous Burjore

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A friend comes calling

– Writer’s mother meets a Persian, more an Indian at heart 

Calcutta Story Kaikous Burjore 1

The author speaks of a meeting with an old friend and well-wisher in Delhi…

In the last episode I wrote about a providential escape my mother and I had at Rishikesh while we were in the holy city for the Mahakumbh mela.

It was an incident which had left us shaken — many pilgrims perished when a bridge on the Ganga collapsed — but we tried to laugh it away.

Sitting on the banks of the Ganga, we discussed our long pilgrimage and my mother was more than happy that her wish was fulfilled at last. I was very happy, too, on seeing the contentment on my mother’s face. But it was also a very difficult phase in my life as I had to hide the actual state of my mind and soul — torn as they were by depression and sorrow — from my mother.

It was that phase of my life when I was still trying to come out of the dark hole of pain created by the death of my husband Madhu.

It was during my mother’s stay with me in Delhi that an old friend and well-wisher came to see us.

He was none other than Kaikous Burjore, who had been Madhu’s boss but more of a friend.

Burjore was a Persian whose forefathers had fled to India to escape the persecution by the Arabs. That was a long time ago and the Burjores, who were Zoroastrians, had become more Indians than most Indians. His family had even adopted many rituals of the Hindus.

To me, Burjore was one of the most kind-hearted friends I had ever had. It was he who had performed the last rites of Madhu. Burjore was there when I collected by husband’sasthi from Madhu’s pyre. He was there all along when I needed him.

My mother had heard all about Burjore earlier from my brother Satyabrat. So Burjore was no stranger to my mother though they had never met. Now, as she saw him for the first time, she was delighted beyond words. She talked to him for a long time.

My mother’s dream of seeing me a well-known writer was coming true. Over the next few years, I had won several literary prizes. But by the time I was awarded the country’s highest literary award — the Jnanpith — she was no more. Burjore, too, had left this world after many years of giving me company. He was a friend, philosopher and guide in the truest sense.

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