A tribute to Aiyushman Dutta
It is almost six months since intrepid journalist and budding entrepreneur Aiyushman Dutta passed away on April 26
It is almost six months since intrepid journalist and budding entrepreneur Aiyushman Dutta passed away on April 26 , leaving his shell-shocked family to cope with the treachery of a promising young life lost in his prime.
It is only memories of a short eventful life that must sustain them and all his loved ones now. I remember that frail impish child who was babied longer than his brothers. He had a naughty glint in eyes and easily got into scrapes. But, he was everyone's favourite child. In the neighbourhood, my sister Ruma was known as Aiyush's mother. He would invite anyone over at the drop of a hat and his mother had to play hostess. He was always game for any adventure. In daredevilry, he took after father Dilip. At a local fare, I remember him whooping with joy as he careened down on the ferris wheel with his father while other children were screaming in fear.
Even as a child, he knew that he wanted to be a journalist; jor-naa-list was the way he pronounced it. He began writing at an early age and his writings got published too. We were amused at his penchant for using difficult words.
The exuberance of childhood gave way to the angst ridden teenage years when we saw little of Aiyush and communication stretched thin. But, his writings throughout gave us an inkling of his sojourn among the various tribes and communities of the northeast region with whom he had built a very good rapport. He wrote extensively of their music, cuisine and life styles.
His wide and in depth study of the folk cultures of the colourful mosaic that is the Northeast has acquainted us with the instruments used by the local artists of the region to create unique music. His intimate knowledge of the diverse cuisines of the various tribes and sub tribes that people our land has been shared with us in an attractive coffee table book that has been widely appreciated in the tourist circuit of the region.
Soon we saw a more mellow Aiyush, who picked up from where he left off and bonded seamlessly with his cousins and extended family. We were enthused to see him at family get-togethers and weddings. He also took his responsibilities seriously and gave of his time when his parents needed him. During the lockdown he ensured that the refrigerator was well stocked. He got along famously with his little nephew Arya who was quick with his repartees.
Aiyush was out and out a people's person and got along with everyone. His friends and acquaintances ranged from those in the higher echelons of society to those less fortunate. He was soft spoken but had a fiery temper only those closest to him knew about.
He had been associated with the newspaper 'The Sentinel' for a long time. When he took over as Feature Editor in charge of their weekly news magazine 'Melange', he took it to a different plane altogether. Writers like Rituparna Goswami Pandey and Sanjib Sabhapandit regularly wrote for it. Anurag Rudra and Swapnajyoti Bordoloi contributed to the poetry section. The last issues of Melange carried Sourav Kumar Chaliha's short story in translation.
Aiyushman's coverage of the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland was outstanding. What also stands out in my memory is the way he covered the splendour and solemnity of the royal wedding of Bhutan. The Eastern Beats Music Society, his brainchild will hopefully be kept going by the other members as his legacy.
It is hard to believe that a youngster in the pink of health, jauntily marched off to fight COVID-19 and lost to an unfair enemy. May be God loved him and took him away. But we loved him no less and needed him more. Lets treasure our memories of him and salute a life short in years but well lived and how.
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