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Present Continuous

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I fondly recollect today sweet memories of my friend Gauntia Mahammad Jamiullah and his son Amjad Badshah from Jharsuguda. In fact Amjad was my student in IIMC and had invited me to visit him to grace his son . Cruel Corona has consumed him.

Today is a memorable day for me.Two renowned publishers from Odisha telephoned to whom I met in January. Their observation was similar,I have no publication since 2004,my last book 'Sammohanare Jibana' brought out by Vidyapuri came in 2004.They want a manuscript from me.

Alas, they are not aware that my another book has been published in the meantime by Pakshighar Prakashanee. Two more books from Diksha and Shraddha are in the pipeline and the publishers are conspicuously silent !

I was in the mainstream publishing for 3 decades.Had I wanted,would have not only published a dozen of books,but also have managed many big awards.Many of my friends in NBT have done such acts.I myself was the selector for many awards including Jnanpith’s samman Moortidevi.But I always fondly remember,time is the best judge,an artist should not run after recognitions.I replied them as usual ,'give me some time !'

I fondly recollect today sweet memories of my friend Gauntia Mahammad Jamiullah and his son Amjad Badshah from Jharsuguda. In fact Amjad was my student in IIMC and had invited me to visit him to grace his son . Cruel Corona has consumed him.

This was a post on Facebook from Amjad about his father and my friend Gauntia Mahammad Jamiullah getting an honour five years ago :

‘Congratulations to my father Poet Gountia Mohammad Jamiullah as Collector and District Magistrate of Jharsuguda has nominated him member for District Level Odia Language Sub Committee of Jharsuguda district.He has been nominated for his contribution towards Odia language and literature.This district level sub committee will work under Ministry of Culture, government of Odisha.’

Where is Amjad Badshah now? Where ?

A young Hero Siddarth Shukla has passed away in gym in Mumbai.Had covid, recovered from covid and three months later went to gym,had cardiac arrest after recovery.He was just 39 years old- people above 35+ should avoid gym for 180 days as per advice of cardiac specialist as clot may still exist in lungs which will reach arteries in heart.

Death in big cities is very sudden.By coming to a big city I could know how cruel the metropolitan life is.Mad race,everybody wants to gain by hook or by crook,riding over others.No value system,no passion,no art or love, no healthcare.

The other day Amarendra Bhai called me.
Amarendra Khatua was DG ( ICCR) and once Secretary[West],MEA.For me,it was a great news,our friendship dates back to 1970s.He is 3/4 years senior to me,and those days even a year was enough to create a distance,but he has never given me a chance to feel it.Unassuming and friendly.

Amarendra Khatua is planning to visit Odisha soon.Welcome Amarendrabhai...I am eagerly waiting you here,we can have several wonderful evening addas as we had in the past.

My young friend Saswat gave me a shock this morning that my long time friend and brother Chandan Mitra is no more:

‘The year was 2006, in this month of September,I first met Dr Chandan Mitra. He told me, "Why don't you go back to your State to work for an Odisha newspaper?"

I said, "Sir, I want to work in Delhi." "But, you have to develop yourself," he responded.

By that time I had an offer of Copy Editor from HT Group and the salary was Rs 13K. But I choose to take up Pioneer's job of a Sub-Editor ( On trial basis) and the remuneration was a princely Rs 5500.

I realise today how Right the decision was. By the time I left Pioneer in October, 2010, I became a Chief Sub Editor and was working in three divisions - Sunday Pioneer, Digital and Edit-Oped.Dr Mitra called me to his chamber and said, "I am happy that you have developed yourself. My door would be always open for you."

Pioneer was a great learning curve for me and Chandan Mitra was truly a great Editor. His departure has marked the end of an era in Indian journalism. I will always be grateful to Pioneer and Dr Chandan Mitra for making me a full fledged Journalist.

I last met Dr Mitra in Pioneer office in 2017. We had a long chat on politics, journalism and nationalism.’

I got another post today from Tulika Devi, fiancée of Aiyusman who has been consumed by Covid:

‘No matter how fitness freak you are...no matter how loved you are...no matter how hate you some one....we have to leave this world today or tomorrow anyway. So leave your grudges or greed. I myself have seen harsh reality after Aiyush's death. Few people can kill you only by their words.... and believe me it's very very dangerous when you are living but with your dead soul.’

These are the real Corona Warriors off the record and I am painfully surviving to continue the present ! Yes…

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