8 March: My best-friend’s birthday

Nochiketa, the famous singer from Kolkata, had an impact on many of us during youth. It was 1993/94; we were growing up with much happenings in socio-political scenario; music of Nochiketa being one of the elements.

I attracted and distracted many during my youth; my attitude was unconventional, rude and uncouth. Many people found me out of the ordinary, many found me impolite & loutish. My best-friend was in the first group. We were high school mates; shared same interest in literature, sports and music. We however differed on wishing each others on occasions. Wishing on birthdays is not my type of thing so I never wishes my best-friend on his birthdays. But now, I do want to wish and greet him, but can’t; the distance between us is impossible to climb.

In 1993, my best friend gave me a surprise visit on my birthday; presented me a mixed audio cassette and books. I was touched as I did not expect it nor I will do anything similar. My attitude did not stop him from repeating the act till end of college years. On one of the cassettes he gave me; there was this song – Onirban by Nochiketa – tale of two college friends, one being successful in life, another not so much. My best-friend one day said in a philosophic tone “Wasim, tui bhuley jabi amader feley asha shomoy; tui ekdin amakey chinbi na.” I laughed and moved on. After college, I got into a private university despite being an awful student, mainly due to my affluent father; my best-friend decided to do honors from a local college. Days passed on, we moved on, I got new friends, so did my best-friend.

In was 2001; we met at a bus-stop; talked for half an hour, laughed over things and went in two directions – me Uttara, him Moghbazar. Lyrics of Onirban flashed back; I feared what future holds for us.

Life moved on with no regular contact with my best-friend. Then the day came. Morning hours, January 8, 2002. A common friend called and said, Wasim mon tah shokto kor; ekta kharap khobor achey. She paused for a moment and said “Anayet mara gesey aj bhor ey.” I did not know how to react to this. I took the day off from office, reached his home as early I could; only to see him dead in a coffin. My best-friend Anayet-ul Islam was dead.

Death and birth anniversaries does not excite me much. This one does. From that year on, 8 March and 8 January have a different meaning to me. I wonder how I could wish him. I wonder whether the song Onirban has its presence in upstairs or not. I wonder whether my best-friend found a deserving best-friend or not. I wonder whether he will recognize me when I go upstairs or not.

Dekhey jaa, jaa Onirban; ki shukhey roye-chey pran.

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