Remembering Kolkata…Mid-Monsoon

School end monsoon

Last year on this day, my father passed away. He lived a long, fulfilling life.

We were lucky to have been able to be by his bedside, a few days before his final departure. And, even though it was a very difficult time for me and my family, it was also peaceful for two reasons.

Crow on tree
One, it was mid-monsoon in Bengal. Torrential rain, thunderstorm, and then relentless rain all day…the crows getting drenched perched on that big Ficus tree right in front of our house…the streets are making noise with the pattering of the rain, wheeling of the rubber tires of Calcutta taxis…and the indescribable sound people make with their feet when they walk across rain-soaked alleys…occasionally leaping over the puddles…

Monsoon evening

And then, after a hard burst of rain, the sky gets crystal clear. The trees show their real lush green foliage. Pollution disappears. That’s how it has always been. That’s how it will always be.

Green Kolkata
And the second reason, of course, is that we could make it on time. Being in America, ten thousand miles away from there, we always had anxieties that when the time finally comes for him to go, we wouldn’t be there. This apprehension exacerbated after my wife could not arrive before the death of her parents. The news came too suddenly.

I have written about my father’s death, and I have written about our immigrant life in America — its isolation and melancholy — many times. I am linking up some of the articles I wrote on those subjects. You can click on the links, and read. I don’t wish to test your patience.


Here I’m including a few photos we took on our trip last year. It’s a different type of a story. Or, it could be the same story, told in a different way.

You decide. I am a little out of it today.


Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York



Bus stand





My Father Passed Away


Back in New York. Hurt, sad, and reflecting on the experience I brought back.

It was a very different and difficult trip to Kolkata this time. Monsoon in Bengal, and the pollution-free, lush, green, wet trees and fragrant flowers calmed me down a little. It was not easy to realize my father would not wait for me anymore, with his loving, welcoming smile. He would not sit in the balcony chair looking down, when I’d return to USA.

He passed away on August 6. Yes, he was old. Very old. He was 93. But does it matter?

On August 16, I performed the Shraddha ritual for my departed father. Through this ritual, the deceased (Preta) was admitted into Pitri Loka, or the assembly of forefathers. He united with those men before me — ancestors who made me possible. I would also want to believe he reunited with my mother, who waited for him in heaven for many, many years.

Mahanirvan Math

The last hour on August 6, when we brought my father’s mortal remains from the hospital back home, and sang Tagore songs together. Very happy we could pay him respect one last time this way, with songs he loved so much. I hope people noticed this way to pay homage to him.

August 6 2

August 6, 2017, 7.40 A.M., Kolkata, India. — My father passed away. He left his uncompromising character, and a total renunciation of selfish pleasures. He lived for his ideology, and he lived for his patriotism. I am fatherless today, but I shall live his uprightness, his inimitable courage and determination. Regardless of politics, he will always be a lightning rod for me.

Empty bed

Salute to this man.

Sincerely Yours,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York


It Rains. My Memories Mushroom.

Mushroom3Rain has a lot to do with my memories. My pleasant memories.

I promised to my family, friends and well-wishers that I’d be writing about some of my most wonderful memories — to pull myself out of this depressing time with the global war, economic tyranny, worker deaths and all. We need to talk about the good times God has blessed us with, and not just the horrid times Satan has thrown at us.

Karl Marx, Engels and Hegel and such philosophers would perhaps call this continuous conflict between the good and the bad as proof of dialectical materialism, but even without being a Marxist, I can definitely vouch that they are right: this lifelong conflict between God’s paintbrush and Satan’s smudge is that dialectics — of materialism or not. It could well be a fierce fight between spirituality of the soul and dark devilish doom.

Robert Louis Stevenson many years ago showed us how in the human mind, such a major fight goes on between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He made the hideous Hyde the ultimate victor. I’m not so sure I want to look at life that way, even though we have an ever-increasing, zillion reasons to want to believe that is the case, especially with the rise of a new, tyrannical Roman Empire.

Even though I express pessimism from time to time, I simply do not want to leave this world with the hideous Hyde having that horrendous howl.

So, when it rains, I especially reminisce my pleasant memories. It works as therapy no clinical psychologist can buy.

Having come from Bengal, where monsoon has always mushroomed our famed poetry, rain automatically turns on my memory switch. I read poetry. Think poetry. Translate poetry. Sing my favorite monsoon songs of Tagore and Nazrul Islam.Mushroom2

And then, more pleasant memories well up. Memories rush in like a pleasant, soul-soothing, mind-drenching rain shower.

Memories spring up like monsoon mushrooms sprouting randomly, in all unpredictable corners. From all unpredictable facets of life.

Pleasant memories bring back life. Wonderful memories kill off death, destruction and doom.

My Dr. Jekyll emerges as the ultimate victor.

Let’s share our beautiful memories.

Sincerely Writing,


(Writing from Chicago today. It’s raining here.)