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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Suren Medhi is dead

"Shri Suren Medhi, retired teacher of Assam Engineering College and a writer by passion passed away in the morning of 25th June 2011 (Saturday)after a brief illness. He was the son of late Kaliram Medhi, who was one of the founders of Asom Sahitya Sabha, and a well-known writer who preferred to write under a pen name. Throughout his life he believed that it was the work of a writer that the readers should be acquainted with and not the writer or his personal life and therefore worked very hard not to be identified. He left behind his wife and a daughter and host of other relatives".

This is possibly how Suren Medhi would have liked the news of his death to be covered by media. Today, while reading the host of write-ups on Saurabh Kumar Chaliha by almost all the who's who in the literary and social life of Assam and by some well-meaning, die-hard fans of the writer,I realized nobody actually respected him or his soul.
A man had painfully tried to remain anonymous throughout his life despite having the scope of busking in glory. It was his choice and not an easy one for him. He had been hounded several times to be exposed not because the excellent writings that he produced need a face but because exposing him would have been a great expose - a win against him and his soul. People wanted to know about him because he was such a great writer. But, what about the respect for his ideal - the philosophy of remaining faceless and living in his writings?
As if all of us were waiting for him to die. The moment he is dead, we all have forgotten the essence of his philosophy for which he lived - and died. The newspapers today were spread with photos, stories, memoirs and write-ups about how great he was; about how close he was to the writers; about what were the secrets of Saurabh Kumar Chaliha; about intricate details of his life and time. I am not doubting the intentions - all of them genuinely felt the loss, all of them are 100% genuine admirer of Saurabh Kumar Chaliha and all of them wanted to immortalize him.But in doing so, a unannounced competition on who can churn out the best collectors item has broken out. And thus, we have killed Saurabh Kumar Chaliha twice - his persona and his soul.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wine & weight

I discovered a small, about two by seven inches, silverfish-eaten piece of paper carrying a few line of scribblings in my hand as I was sorting out old, accumulated assortment of documents and newspaper clippings from a cupboard attacked by white ants today. I could not make out the age of the piece as there was no date mentioned on it, but circumstantial evidences like the company of the documents this piece of paper had been keeping gave me an idea that it should not be less than 10 years old. The other circumstantial evidence was an email address at the back of the piece ostensibly in the handwriting of my brother. The last time he was staying with me long enough to be able to litter the house with small, apparently meaningless scribblings on almost all my documents was more than ten years ago.
Today, I want to share here the few lines found on that ten years old piece of paper which possibly my son will find useful ten years from now.

" North European ships were measured by the number of wine casks they could carry. These casks were called Tuns.
Today, ships are still measured in Tons. This is because the English authorities fixed the size of Tun at 252 Gallons of wine, the weight of which was 2,240 lb (that equals 1,016 kgs)."