"Fare Thee Well... dear Brother": Ranjan Kumar Choudhury
Our brother Dipak (Dipak Kumar Choudhury), or Runu as the family and his close friends called him, was quite set in his ways but he was our go to man in the
Our brother Dipak (Dipak Kumar Choudhury), or Runu as the family and his close friends called him, was quite set in his ways but he was our go to man in the family in case of any problem. He had been staying in Delhi since January 2020 with his youngest son, an army officer and his daughter and got stuck up there with the pandemic and lockdowns. He was recuperating from a successful surgery in March earlier this year when the second wave struck. I got a call from his middle son here in Guwahati around six in the morning on the 19th April that he had collapsed and was taken to the Army Base Hospital around 4 am. Despite the best efforts of the doctors there and his family he succumbed to the virus.
Runu went to college at St. Stephens where he graduated with Honours in Mathematics, just missing out on the Rhodes scholarship. For him life was to be lived in an orderly manner, the sums had to add up and if it didn't he would immerse in the daily crosswords till he found the answer. Just within a few years after college he had to assist our eldest brother to shoulder the responsibility to the family business after the untimely death of our father. Perhaps for this he developed a serious disposition towards life, always wearing his white shirts and light coloured trousers and a dark suit on formal occasions. The only exception was when he went out fishing or camping with us, and with the sober coloured sweaters or jackets he wore in the winters. He loved angling and like his attitude towards life he got himself a perfectly matched Mitchell reel and rod which helped him to catch many a fish with the least effort. He lorded over us, especially our eldest brother who would cast away for hours while Runu, after landing the first catch would inevitably relax and enjoy the surroundings. We would all invest in heavier equipment to be ready for the big catch but he trusted his skill to land the fish if and when he caught a big one. Runu was a voracious reader who invested in books right from the Upanishads, Encyclopedias to all that is there in pulp fiction. That was perhaps one of his few indulgences he allowed himself. Another hobby he had was horse riding which he took up in Shillong when he was in school as our father had a stable of a dozen odd race horses which needed long workouts.
At work, our brother Runu did not brook fools and was quite stern to reprimand others when we had to cajole him by saying that God did not give all his intellect and brains. He did not mince words and had a temper which would flare if he found the other party trying to put one across in business. But to his siblings he was the true friend we could rely on. Perhaps I saw his softer best side once when after his marriage was fixed up I took him with me on a fishing trip on the Boroi river. He looked up at a brilliant night sky marveling at the beauty of nature and telling me how beautiful life was which stunned me , as he was not a person given much to matters of love and emotion. I had felt truly blessed to be with him that evening.
Our father had sent us to the same school (St. Edmunds) , the same college (St. Stephens) and we continued this when he left us untimely to manage the tea garden business besides many other enterprises we started here in Guwahati and Delhi/Gurugram. It was a unique experience to work together, cultivate and enjoy the same hobbies and we began to spend most of our time together, only going to live in separate houses after we got married. We all realize that life is never permanent and death is the ultimate truth; it will not be easy to live without his calming presence in the office. He was truly a man distinguished by simple living and high thinking; in short he lived his life as a perfect mathematical sum, often chiding us when we could not get results as laid out in our business spreadsheets.
Runu leaves behind his wife Rupa with whom he spent 50 years of togetherness, three sons and daughters in law, a daughter and four grandchildren. I am sure that his spirit would always guide the family and his memories would be cherished by all of us …. Dear brother fare thee well.
— Ranjan Kumar Choudhury
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