Debapratim Purkayastha was the director of IBS case research centre who left this mortal world on 7th of May 2021 after being infected with corona virus. We share this conversation between two of his friends remembering the fond memories they shared.
It was a usual day on the 7th of May 2021 in ‘Class of 93’, the Whatsapp group which bonds the pass-outs of South Point School Guwahati, 1993 batch. That day the group was applauding a beautiful picture drawn by a child. Such small merriments helped the group to overcome the air of despondency caused by the pandemic. But then, sometime in the evening a message pops up which silenced the group completely. It said ‘It’s very unfortunate news… Debu is not with us anymore’
Debapratim Purkayastha was one of the luminaries in the group. He jumped on situations to help others. He always encouraged others who were infected by the corona virus until he himself got infected. Soon messages started pouring in the group confirming recovery of friends who were infected earlier. But Debu’s message did not come. He finally left the mortal world on 7th of May 2021 after a brave fight leaving a huge void.
A year has passed since then.
The present day….
The absence of Debapratim’s presence was felt by all. But the one who suffered the most was his closest friend Sid Ghosh. Sid and Debu were friends since childhood and remained inseparable. Besides Sid, Debu had many more close friends one of them was Somashis Gupta. Somashis and Debu both were residents of Dispur in Guwahati.
Recently Sid and Somashis were discussing a new series they intended to start in East India Story on Comic books. During the discussion the topic of Debapratim came up which left the two in reminiscence. Here is how the conversation went…
“….but I think before we write about the comic artists we should give a introductory article about comics” suggested Somashis.
“Yes I think that s a wonderful idea. I can talk about how comic book remains my passion since childhood.” Sid agreed
“Yes that is what I am talking about.” Somashis reacted.
“You know who else was passionate about comics?” asked Sid
“Debapratim” the silence which followed after Sid said the name spoke all the emotions which revolve around this man Debaprotim.
After a brief pause Somashis said “Yes, I remember you and Debu created a comic book in school.”
“Yes and what a creation it was, everybody featured in that. All our friends were the character. I remember Debu came up with the idea of one of our friend transforms to kauwa the crow after he eats neem leaves” both enjoyed a moment of laughter as Sid said this.
“Me and Debu often spoke about those days. Debu was a one of wittiest person I have ever met, he could easily find humor in almost anything.” Sid said.
“Yes I know, his studious looks were actually very deceptive. In reality he was a chucklesome with great sense of humor.” Somashis agreed.
“You know the irony…what brought us together in school was the comic book, and later after so many years the same thing brought us together professionally again.” Sid expressed.
“Sorry I did not get you, how professionally?” Somashis asked.
“After many years when we met again, we decided to do something together professionally, and ultimately we started making graphic case studies” Sid answered.
“Oh yes both of you are extremely talented.” Somashis continued “You remember the incident when you came down to Dispur to meet us?” Somashis asked
“Yes I do, in fact you all took me round and round the place just for fun. We visited Jhankar, Partha, Hrishikesh and many others.” Sid recalled
“Yes, you remember Debu used to be a fitness freak?” Somashis continued “and I remember we all were inspired and started a small gym in our garage”
“Yes where Jhankar used to exercise wearing a wrestler’s belt” Sid laughed
“Yes, those were fun days. I also remember one more prank. It was some function in school, you all gave me all the pep talk to go to the stage and sing a song. Now those days Western music was not very popular in our school. It was a total disaster.” Somashis laughed while saying this.
“I remember the first day Debapratim came to our school. We were in the fifth standard, he just shifted from Hilakandi. Madhuparna teacher introduced him to the class and somehow we immediately gelled and since then we were inseparable.” Sid recalled.
“I remember Debu had a sylati accent in whatever he spoke.” Somashis said.
“Yes he even used to speak to the Americans with that accent when he received the award.” Sid continued “In fact did you know he was the only Indian to receive so many awards after renowned management guru Sumantra Ghosal”
“In fact he received the ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Case Method’ and he was the youngest, and the first educator from India to receive this award.” Somashis said proudly.
“The other day I read Marquis Who’s Who. Guess what our Debu’s name is even before Sachin Tandulkar.” Somashis said.
“His achievements were countless, yet there was no a bit of pride in him. We spoke just the good old days. In fact Shomali tells me that he found his childhood when he spoke to me.” Sid recalled.
“He was a gem of a person” Somashis said
“I really miss Debu” Sid continued “We used to make prank calls to each other. I remember I had taken a number for official use, now that number was registered in true caller under some Mr. Pillai’s name. So when I called him up posing as Mr. Pillai. When he understood my prank he said will surly return this prank some day.” Sid said.
“With Debu every moment was fun isn’t it?” Somashis asked.
“True that. Debu lives on in our memories.” Sid said.
Death ends a life, not a relationship. ― Mitch Albom