The sad news of Amit Sir has made me to reflect upon my association with him. Though it was brief but it had an element of eternity that brings two souls together in this universe, out of care, brotherly love and devotion. I am indebted to him for helping me out in my early days at OG. I have always met kind souls all my life, at each new place I had been to. To say the least, Amit Sir was the first such soul since I ventured out of my home. May be it was his prayers for me that I found similar people elsewhere, and in each of them I saw Amit Sir. I request the OG fraternity to read about him and know him well.
I don’t remember how I first met Amit Sir. But much must have happened in that meeting, for within weeks of my joining OG, he was helping me out with my studies. He wanted me to start preparing early for IIT. Back then, I had little idea of IIT. I only vaguely knew that they are at Kharagpur and Kanpur. But his words, coming from a senior, at a new, unknown place helped a seventh grader find some footing for himself. Moreover, had they been merely words, I would have surely forgotten them. But what was touching that he actually followed them up with his actions. He brought me books, Brilliant Tutorials study material, ABC of Chemistry and K C Sinha Maths (both Class XI textbooks). He monitored my progress regularly (until he remained at OG), and taught me concepts which were too difficult. Amit Sir was a rare human being who wished much more for his fellows than he wished for himself.
On my first birthday at OG, Amit Sir called me in the morning, while I was going to take bath. He was in his bed, in what was known as super-senior dorm, the area at the end of Tagore house. He called me near his bed.
Jaa cupboard khol ke dekh, first shelf pe jo hai leke aa.
It was a birthday card and a Dairy Milk chocolate. I brought them to him.
Smilingly, he said, aaj mera birthday hai.
I wished him.
Abbey kiska birthday hai?
He laughed and asked me to open the card. The card had my name on it. Then he said happy birthday. I don’t remember what I said. But that day, I kept trying to go to Mr. Naqvi, and get some pocket money, to give him something in return. Ashesh Chaubey Sir had however put us, the last 10 height-wise from our class, under his command, to shift furniture here and there. I had requested him to let me go to Mr. Naqvi, but he did not. However, he gave me a hundred rupee note from his pocket, when he came to know the reason. I bunked to Gupta store sometime, and got some Dairy Milk chocolates. The chocolates remained in my pocket, until at night. It was just before the night play, I saw him in the dorm, and rushed to give him a Dairy Milk. By then the chocolate had melted within the packet. When he took it in his hand, he said – Dairy Milk waale halwa bhi bechne lage kya? We both laughed.
I don’t remember when I last met him. It hurts in a way, not meeting him, but it is also soothing that whenever I remember him I see him laughing, I see his kindness.
It is his image that reflects in the following lines:
Stumbling in that hardened place,
many hit upon some hearts so tender
like they had walked inside of a seed
within its soft, sweet, life-bearing core.
If Oak Grove is indeed a seed, Amit Sir surely is its soft, sweet core.
I had always wished that one day I would meet him. His sudden departure has left much unsaid between us. I wished I would have got the opportunity of thanking him.
यह आपके लिए अमित सर:
तू मिले बग़ैर बिछड़ जाता है
जैसे बहार में पेड़ से पत्ता झड़ जाता है
जो बात तुझे कहनी होती है हमेशा
वो मेरी आँखों को कहना पड़ जाता है
अलविदा ही कह देते तो तसल्ली होती
तू चुपचाप क्यूँ अक्सर सफ़र पर जाता है
अब क़यामत के रोज़ मुलाक़ात मयस्सर हो
अब जो भी बचा इस दुनिया में उजड़ जाता है
‘शजर’ बहार में बेनूर खड़ा है
वो परिंदा जो शाख़ों से उड़ जाता है।
– Tabish Nawaz (2005 Batch)
Dr. Tabish Nawaz is an alumnus of OG, IIT Kharagpur and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. This eulogy was shared on email by Tabish on the day of Amit Kumar’s passing, April 29, 2020.