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A tribute to Late Topobrata Baruah

G rit, determination, tenacity, endurance perseverance and resilience are traits that Topobrata Baruah embodied. Despite having lived a major part of his life with physical challenges, he never forgot to enjoy life. This was our Late Topobrata Baruah popularly known  as ‘Bheku’ or Bheku Koko to those younger to him. Although our different occupations separated us, we used to meet during my sojourn home. His warmth was never found wanting. He had a strong connect to our hometown. Bheku Koko ventured in to various businesses with mixed fortunes. His foray into the Assamese film industry was with the path-breaking ‘Bowari’ which was shot in their ancestral home in Golaghat. Mridula Baruah, the
lead actress of the movie, later became his life partner. After being propelled into the film industry he produced a lot of documentaries and took a pivotal role in its affairs till he was physically able to. As years progressed, so did his ailments. However this was no impediment. Despite all odds, he converted their ancestral home into a guest house and christened it ‘Indrani’. It is a unique abode with all necessary amenities, a sprawling lawn and a home away from home for the guests.
Bheku Koko took personal care of each and every guest, meeting their needs and requests. Today it has 10 rooms and in the last 4/5 years he had value added by adding two more topnotch rooms, a banquet hall and a conference hall. The venue has became a coveted place for privacy, homely touch and a landmark in this non descript hamlet of upper Assam town.
Bheku Koko, although a tough taskmaster, was kind-hearted towards his staff and never took anything to heart. He was a doting brother not only to his immediate family members but to the extended family of which I too was privileged to be part of. Once in a while he organised family reunions in this house whose original appearance is still intact. Infact he was the rallying point for the entire family with regular networking. His culinary traits will beat many a chef. He experimented with different items on a regular basis. In his prime, he was culturally connected with not only music but sports activities also, especially table tennis. It will be unfair of me not to mention Mridula Bou’s role in his joys and tribulations all these years. She was his rock. They were always together and for many of us, it was difficult to think of them as two entities. She played an important role in upkeep of their guest-house with her aesthetic sense,  especially in gardening. A humble, softspoken and a wonderful person- who got along well with everyone.
Today, I would like to cherish his never say die spirit. I recall an inscription in a war cemetery grave with the words ‘We miss them most, whom we loved the best’.
— Nandan Saikia

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Ankur Kalita