Hari Prasad Chaliha, our dearest Pita as we affectiotely call him, left for his heavenly abode on November 25, at the age of 8, in Guwahati. As we are learning to come in terms with the irreparable loss, the void his absence has brought can never be filled.
Pita was a man of prominence and left a legacy of sorts in everything he did. When he joined Assam Civil Service he had the distinction of consecutively serving with two ideologically different Chief Ministers as Principal Private Secretary and later on as Chief Liaison Officer. His literary works in Assamese and English languages have been widely talked about.
Those who knew him persolly would agree that it is a blessing to have known him during his lifetime. If I could turn each drop of tear into words, then the countless reminiscences of Pita would have formed a fountain of love, caring and sharing.
It goes beyond saying that Pita has lived life to the fullest and this is engraved in every bit of his accomplishments. It takes an extraordiry mettle to tread in the path of principles, and I have never seen anything deter his will power. Knowing exactly what is desired out of any given situation and getting it right while setting an example, is what we love and remember him for.
Pita and I had this strange unwritten, unsaid understanding of amusing each other. Yet, sometimes it occurs to me that knowing him for 18 years wasn’t enough to grasp through the enigmatic charm of his. An epitome of integrity and discipline, a man of few words – sometimes with only a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ yet, when he spoke it was showers of knowledge. And just when we thought this is it, he would mesmerize us with his subtle shots of wit and humour.
He never ceased to surprise us with his relentless energy either. Even when there was a health condition, he was unstoppable. I was amazed to see him pursue his passion for writing even then or perhaps that was his way of relaxing. Whatever his mannerisms were, it has always been an inspiring journey along with him.
When I met him in August this year, never expected it to be the last one. Fondly addressing him ‘Pita’, and his smile and love in response will be immensely missed.
Believing in what Hellen Keller said, “What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us.” Yes Pita, we will forever cherish you!