My Father Passed Away


Back in New York. Hurt, sad, and reflecting on the experience I brought back.
It was a very different and difficult trip to Kolkata this time. Monsoon in Bengal, and the pollution-free, lush, green, wet trees and fragrant flowers calmed me down a little. It was not easy to realize my father would not wait for me anymore, with his loving, welcoming smile. He would not sit in the balcony chair looking down, when I’d return to USA.
He passed away on August 6. Yes, he was old. Very old. He was 93. But does it matter?
On August 16, I performed the Shraddha ritual for my departed father. Through this ritual, the deceased (Preta) was admitted into Pitri Loka, or the assembly of forefathers. He united with those men before me — ancestors who made me possible. I would also want to believe he reunited with my mother, who waited for him in heaven for many, many years.
Mahanirvan Math
The last hour on August 6, when we brought my father’s mortal remains from the hospital back home, and sang Tagore songs together. Very happy we could pay him respect one last time this way, with songs he loved so much. I hope people noticed this way to pay homage to him.
August 6 2
August 6, 2017, 7.40 A.M., Kolkata, India. —┬áMy father passed away. He left his uncompromising character, and a total renunciation of selfish pleasures. He lived for his ideology, and he lived for his patriotism. I am fatherless today, but I shall live his uprightness, his inimitable courage and determination. Regardless of politics, he will always be a lightning rod for me.
Empty bed
Salute to this man.
Sincerely Yours,
Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, New York


  1. I am very, very sorry for your loss Partha. I know that pain well. My father passed away in 1997 at age 81, just shy of his 82nd Birthday. It has been 20 years since I lost him and rarely does a day go by that I don’t think about him in one way or another. Thankfully, the pain has lessened over time. But, I know this is a difficult period – coping with an incredible emptiness and a heavy heart. I know you hold dear his memories. That will help ease the pain. Please know my thoughts are with you. All the best, Heidi

    • Thank you, Heidi. It’s not so much the loss of a man, who happened to be my father. Parents are always precious, and we often don’t value them. But my loss is much more: I lost a very important part of my history, and my consciousness. Being on the other side of the world, not being able to be with him and my family, friends, and a familiar world is something you don’t truly understand, unless you live that life. His departure took away a big part of that identification, one that I call my home. I will write more about it.


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