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Sutapa Sikdar takes art of letter writing to a different height after Irrfan’s death

6 May, 2020 22:30:53
Sutapa Sikdar takes art of letter writing to a different height after Irrfan’s death

As the art of letter writing died over the last decade, most of us thought formal or informal emails and WA messages would do the trick of expressing feelings. Though in the age of Fast Forward, such tools of communication are used, but they can never reach the heart and soul of a reader. Take for example Rabindranath Tagore’s innumerable letters that have thankfully been stored and shared in published books, or even Netaji Subhash Bose’s letters to his wife and his elder brother depicting important episodes of world history and India’s fate. It is said, be in love or in revolution, none other than Bengalis can write the best letters ever. 

Very recently that dying art of letter writing seems to have been brought back again by another Bengali – Sutapa Sikdar. Yes, actor Irrfan Khan’s wife whose letter to his fans will leave anyone teary-eyed and send messages of victory over death. 

As she writes, “How can I write this as a family statement when the whole world is taking it as a personal loss? How can I begin to feel alone when millions are grieving with us at the moment? I want to assure everyone that this is not a loss, it is a gain. It’s a gain of the things he taught us, and now we shall finally begin to truly implement it and evolve. Yet, I want to try to fill in the things that people don’t already know.

It’s unbelievable for us but I would put it in Irrfan’s words, “it’s magical” whether he is there or not there, and that’s what he loved, he never loved one dimensional reality. The only thing I have a grudge against him is; he has spoiled me for life. His strive for perfection doesn’t let me settle for ordinary in any thing. There was a rhythm which he always saw in everything, even in cacophony and chaos, so I have learnt to sing and dance to the music of that rhythm, even with my tone-deaf voice and two left feet. Funnily, our life was a masterclass in acting, so when the dramatic entry of the “uninvited guests” happened, I had by then learnt, to see a harmony in the  cacophony. The doctor’s reports were like scripts which I wanted to perfect, so I never miss any detail that he sought for in his performance. We met some amazing people in this journey and the list is endless, but there are some whom I have to mention, our oncologist Dr. Nitesh Rohtogi (Max hospital Saket) who held our hand in the beginning, Dr. Dan Krell (UK), Dr. Shidravi (UK), my heartbeat and my lantern in the dark Dr. Sevanti Limaye (Kokilaben hospital). It’s difficult to explain what a wondrous, beautiful, overwhelming, painful and exciting this journey has been. I find this 2 and 1/2 years to have been an interlude, which had it’s own beginning, middle and culmination with Irrfan helming the role of the orchestra conductor, separate from the 35 years of our companionship, ours was not a marriage, it was a union. I see my little family, in a boat, with both my sons Babil and Ayaan, paddling it forward, with Irrfan guiding them “wahan nahi, yahan se modo” but since life is not cinema and there are no retakes, I sincerely wish my children sail this boat safely with their father’s guidance in mind and rockabye through the storm. I asked my children, if possible, they could sum up a lesson taught by their father that has been important to them."

Sutapa further continues her letter by saying, “Tears will flow as we will plant a raat ki rani tree, his favourite, to the place where you have put him to rest after a victorious journey. It takes time but it will bloom and the fragrance will spread and touch all the souls whom I won’t call them fans, but family for years to come.”

May be Irrfan’s soul will rest in peace, but letters will survive the test of time. 

Story Tag:
  • Irrfan Khan

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