The Last Ride

This piece has been written for #FictionMonday, a blog hop hosted by Vinitha Dileep on her blog, ‘Reflections‘ based on the word prompt Fume.

It is not a pure piece of fiction but is based on the recent events following the passing of Bengal’s eminent intellectual and cultural icon, Mr Soumitra Chattopadhyay, last week, that has left a huge void in the world of cinema. This is my humble tribute to the legend.

The Last Ride

As news poured in from all corners, people waited to catch one last glimpse. The news was literally everywhere. Television screens splashed clips from his films. The city saw massive crowds lined up on either side of the streets, despite the norms of social distancing in place, to bid adieu to one of its’ favourite sons.

Today, neither age nor sickness could have taken away his sheen, for he shone, even on his final journey, as one bright star that always spread light and warmth on every soul that ever crossed his path.

They lowered his body into the pyre with, while his admirers watched with heavy hearts.

She watched too.

Memories of their first meeting played in her mind. Her eyes went misty, the once-kohl laden eyes, now dimmed and no longer as bright, strained to read the message that came through this morning. It was difficult to believe it, at first. And then, a friend called, giving her the news. This loss hit hard.

Memories came flooding as she looked back over the years. How could she forget their first meeting on the sets of that iconic film—the one that had transformed them into celebrities overnight and catapulted them onto stardom? But, more than that, it was their friendship that had endeared them to one another. She mused upon the rare bond that they shared, and how they could always pick up exactly from where they had left off, every time they’d met after a gap of several years. How she wished she’d made that one last phone call!

Today, the world watched as millions pouring onto the streets, with the cortège leading the procession. Etched in every heart, was the image of a man who stood out not just for his exceptional talent, but as an embodiment of a wonderful human being, who was always polite, empathetic, grounded and genuine. One of the last few members of that dwindling species, that one would refer to as a gentleman in the truest sense of the word.

As the billowing fumes rose from the funeral pyre, there wasn’t a pair of eyes that didn’t shed a tear. Very soon, the fumes engulfed the entire place. The crowd stood still.

On the other side, carrying his two favourite books with him, someone was on his way to meet his Maker.




3 thoughts

  1. That was so beautiful, Esha! My eyes teared up at the last line.
    I did read about how Sharmila Tagore reminisced about Soumitra Chattopadhyay on Google, sharing memories of their first film and how wonderful a human being he was.

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