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Memories of his last journey from Santiniketan to Kolkata for treatment

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It was a different morning at Santiniketan. It was July 25, 1941, when Rabindranath Tagore left his abode of peace for the last time, never to return again. He also left behind fond memories of seventy long years. That day he was dressed up and sat by the window on the eastern part of Udayan since dawn. Probably he realized this would be his last journey. Residents of the ashram felt a deep sense of agony bidding adieu to an ailing Gurudev who was being taken to Kolkata for treatment. People gathered in front of Udayan and sang ‘Edin aji kon ghore go khule dilo dwar’. The huge gathering came near the poet’s window and the poet embraced the love of his dear ashramites. Their silent prayers touched him. 

Who doesn’t know that the poet did not want to leave Santiniketan. It seemed to him that it was his last journey and he would not be able to come back to his land again. Memories came crashing in but there was none who could gauge Gurudev’s feelings. The poet sat in an easy chair as he was brought downstairs. He waited in front of the courtyard for a while. He was wearing a pair of black sunglasses, may be to hide his tears. The poet was finally taken to the car. The members of the ashram sang ‘Amader santiniketan, amader shob hote apon.’ 

They stood on both sides of the road with hands folded to pay their respect. As the car crossed Chatimtola, Amrakunja, the poet felt weak and could not hold back his tears. Perhaps, the visionary could read his fate. He could understand that he would never be able to return. The car moved slowly towards Bolpur station so that the ailing poet felt no sense of discomfort. The authorities had made an initiative to smoothen out the undulating roads to ensure that the journey of the poet was comfortable. The train also had a special saloon car for Tagore, that had a study room, a drawing room, a secretary’s room, two bedrooms, two bathroom and a kitchen. The train departed at the right time as Kabiguru left behind a romantic monsoon of Santiniketan. He sat for a while and looked outside the window for one last glance. As he reached Jorasanko, he whispered to himself: “Why do you whisper so faintly in my ears, O Death, my Death?”

Today, as monsoon dawns in Bengal again, one cannot forget that fateful day of 25th July when Tagore left Santiniketan for one last time, never to return again. Baishe Sravan was just a whisk away.