A few days back Sailada asked me if I could come to Gowhati (or is it Guahati these days?) for a tournament in place of N P Kabiraj as he has fallen sick.
Imagine ! me in lieu of kabirajda ! Back in 1984 or 85, when I was trying desperately to learn this game, I remember reading in the newspaper that N P Kabiraj has been selected to represent India in some event. His surname caught my attention & I remember him since.
I know a sick Kabirajda is way better to me anyday. But he was not in a position to travel & I kept it no secret that I am dying to feel and enjoy the hospitality of the people of Maligaon.
So there I was , trapped in a Circuit House room with a person who is to be my partner for the next three days.
But these three days turned out to be the three days that I enjoyed most in recent times. Sailada is a man of many virtues and a few vices but you must count smoking and drinking as vices to tick entries in that column. And who can blame him for he was initiated on the auspicious day of Kali Pujo at an auspicious place of Mission Hostel with a bottle of Beer and after disposing of the instrument of crime ,that is the bottle, he prayed or slept thro' the whole night in front of the dark lady & thus purging himself of any sin that might have been committed!
Then there was Satyada, Satya Ranjan Das.
At 82, he is probably the only National Master in Assam . I will not take any offence if you mistook him for a Life Master if you see him play.
Sudip Bhattacharyya of Dibrugarh is a fine player I was fortunate to play against for 3 sessions.He has a nasty habit of leading accurately . You will either hate or love him depending on which side of the table you are occupying.
Debasish Mazumder ( he plays with his namesake) did a tremendous job in organising the tourney. So did Rana, Jaydeep Bhattacharjee. And Gautam Roy as well.
It was heartening to see two young ladies from Dibrugarh came and play through all 3 days. Something which is becoming a rare sight in Indian Bridge.
Should I say something about Dr. Sujit Chakraborty? Is that really needed? I don't think so. How does one describe life? He is the life of ABA.