Thank you Dinesh, for making me a friend and keeping me in the most sacred and revered place: your heart.
Remember how we spent our times together! The days have gone, the months have elapsed, the years have passed; but there are permanently embedded memories here in my mind.
Ha ! I still cherish those after-school evenings in Itahari. We used to enter a narrow passageway from the main building on the southern side across the highway to reach a strikingly simple and homelike teashop to enjoy our evening tea. We sipped tea and talked about art, literature, music and what not on end. Once I very badly nagged you because you couldn't say who Hariprasad Chaurasiya was. I knew I acted a bit too much as I considered myself to be 'know all' but you took it very naturally, as if I haven't said a thing: a gesture of true friendship. In your heart you've nothing but goodness.
And those roasted corn-cobs from that nearly African looking woman by the roadside. She used to roast larger corn-cobs for us and wait eagerly; we were her regular customers. Holding hot corn-cobs in our hands we hanged around the Municipality Office area and chatted endlessly. It is with you, friend, I learned that another relation exists between the buyers and sellers: the relation of humanity. I still have a few fixed shops for buying my necessities. I may pay them a little extra or they may charge me a little extra; but I don't mind. I buy things on purpose; not because I have money. And when you buy things on purpose you don't complain about being nasty, expensive or cheap.
Our evenings transformed to tea parties every day, alternately at mine and at yours, after our forced bachelorship ended. We had our apartments a hundred meters apart. We could add our dear ones to our friendship circle. We were families with so many common characteristics and interests and we enjoyed virtually everything. We laid mattresses on the ground, talked and laughed. We saw the clouds together and dreamed better careers together. We clicked photographs from your Yachika- MF2. I forced you to buy this camera and didn't buy myself on pretext of buying an SLR one in the near future. Look, sixteen years have slipped through, and the age of digital camera has come and still I don't possess an SLR. Never mind, I have a friend like you.
We started the blissful journey of literature. You showered me with your immense knowledge of language and grammar. It was during this tenure we ventured on so many things together, from knocking the doors of shopkeepers to correct their signboards to the training of commercial painters on how to write correct words and phrases in signboards. You've an exceptional quality for accuracy of language. It is around this time, my friend, I learned what it means to write things correctly; and what it means to love our country, language and literature.
Years ago I brought one of my writings to you. You read, smiled, patted me on my shoulder, shook hands and said, 'You can write stories. Please continue. This is the way one writes stories.' That was one of the steps, dear friend, of the ladder to reach where I am now. Thanks a tonne.
Dinesh, I am not exaggerating, you are an editor with excellent skills. You've been doing it for a long time. I am indebted to you. You edited my three books, spent days and nights doing so and didn't charge a penny. Only a true friend can do that.
I owe you a lot. But still I beg something more as a friend, (friends are always beggars you know !!!). Will you give me a nice hug every time we meet? Ha...........