Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Remembering "dadu"

Dear friends and family,

With a heavy heart, I regret to inform you of the passing of my grandfather, Santi Ranjan Karmakar on Tuesday, June 22.

With the love and care he received from all of his family and friends, he was able to live a very long and fulfilling life. Dadu gave us more than we could ever give back, but I feel some comfort knowing that he is not suffering anymore, and that he is in a better place.

Ma and I received the phone call about dadu's death very early in the morning today and since then, images and memories have been passing through my head. I started rummaging through my old drawers and re-reading letters from him and looking at old photographs. Many people know of dadu's professional work as a Dhaka district and sessions judge, but I want to say a few words about him as a person.

Some of my best memories in Bangladesh were of times I spent with dadu. Although, he had a stern and serious exterior, he really was a humorous and loving person on the inside. As a child, I remember sneaking into his Judge's chamber while he was reading law cases and slipping ice cubes down his shirt and quickly running away to giggle with Monti. But instead of yelling at me, he would quote Shakespeare. What a character!

Most importantly, he practiced what he preached. He was a person who led by example, and through him I learned the power of discipline, hard work and education. Dadu never missed his 5 a.m. walk and was happiest when he was helping others or learning something new.

When him and dida came to visit us in America, I remember him shaking his head in disapproval whenever he would see me eat pizza and hot dogs. He would say "Eta ki? HOT DOG! Bhaat khao!" Translated, "What is this hot dog business? Eat rice!"

As a child, when I would get eaten alive by mosquitoes in the evenings in Bangladesh, dadu suggested that I wear his "lungi" over my shorts .... And he would say that the mosquitoes liked me more because I had "American blood" and to the mosquitoes it was a delicacy.

After he became sick with Alzheimer's he still had his humor. I called him once in Bangladesh and said "Dadu, how are you?" and he said "Not good. They don’t let me eat roshogollah (dessert)." I thought it was funny that he never complained about his ailing health, but the fact that he couldn’t eat dessert.

I believe that after a person leaves the earth, their spirit goes into the atmosphere and goes into all the people around them. Dadu is still with us in our hearts, and my cousin Deven has his namesake to remember.

Please keep him in your prayers and on behalf of my family, I would like to thank everyone for their support.

With love and respect,


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