What set Biplob bhai apart from everyone else? Perhaps his rare quality of positivity. There doesn't seem a single person in the office who has heard him gripe or groan about anything. We all have moments when we vent our anger or give way to our grievances, but he simply had no complaints in life. "He would simply shrug his problems off and say, it's okay, I'll survive. I'll manage," recounts his colleague HM Jakaria Sumon.
We in the English section were particularly close to him because we shared the same 'cul-de-sac' when we were on the 11th floor. Covid struck and we worked from home around a year or so. When we resumed office, our section had been shifted up to the 13th floor and so had Biplob bhai, as part of his section. So we were together again, sharing anecdotes, fun and laughter, and food.
I remember him telling his colleagues, "When we were on the 11th floor, Apa would bring us so much food, especially her homemade donuts!"
The very next day I brought a fresh batch of donuts and made sure he was the first to get one. He proudly told his colleagues, "See, this is what I was telling you all about!"
He plied us with mangoes this season (our office is in the middle of Karwan Bazar with mango stalls all around in peak season), giving me generous servings of my favourite fruit.
My fondest memory of Biplob bhai, perhaps the saddest, is about a few weeks before his death. Argentina had won an important match and most of us were Argentine supporters. Caught up in the euphoria, I treated everyone to sweets (we tend to celebrate and gorge on mishti at the slightest excuse!) Biplob bhai joined in enthusiastically.
Soon after, another Argentina game loomed up ahead and Biplob bhai turned to me, "Apa, Argentina will win again and we want mishti again!"
Argentina won, but I didn't bring mishti. How could I? Dengue had snatched Biplob bhai away from us.
It has taken me a long time to write these few words, words that cannot encompass what Biplob bhai stood for and meant to us. But let this be a humble tribute to the man that was everything a human should be -- gentle, good, kind, pleasant, helpful, polite, generous, compassionate, friendly, uncomplaining and, above all, happy with his lot in life.
Rest in peace, Biplob bhai, we miss you more than we can say.