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Sirsananda Das Kanungo*

Khoka Bhai’s birthday was a joyous occasion for the music fraternity. There was one such occasion, when we had gone to his house to wish him a very happy birthday in the morning. I asked him what delicacy he was treating us to. He said that there was no money and therefore, nothing special for the day. And that was the end of the conversation.

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At about 12:30 in the day, a rickshaw dropped him off at my place and he told me, “Your Bhauja (sister-in-law) has asked for you. Go see her at about 1:30.” I asked him if it was something important. He said that he had no idea about it and that his wife had asked for me. As directed, I reached his place to find the likes of Bibhu Das already present. Bhauja had especially made biryani for lunch on my demand. Two biryani pots arrived for serving. I was served from one container and the rest were served from the other.

I was intrigued. Why this separate container, just for me? I was told that because of my particular demand, biryani would be served to me till I could no longer eat and said “no more”.

I remember that one day I was standing in front of the radio station with Durga Kanungo, Rabi Satapathy and some others. Khoka Bhai came with a packet of ‘guda kora’ and distributed those in celebration of his birthday. We pulled his leg asking if he was going to treat us with just those packets. He replied that it was a special ‘guda kora’ and we would keep munching on it and keep remembering Akshaya Mohanty.

Indeed, we have not forgotten the taste of that mouth-watering ‘guda kora’ and we definitely, remember Akshaya Mohanty.

The writer is an eminent lyricist.