If it was a small world and we would all be staying near each other, Suresh Bhai was one person I would definitely love to have as one of my neighbours.
We were all young kids, playing, going to school, not caring about the world as kids do, when this Marwari family moved into the neighbourhood. Initially they were introduced to us by a close doctor friend of my father. My first memory is of a young Suresh standing on our doorsteps with a box of nail polish as a gift. Young, shy and answering my father's myriad questions. They had a stationery / electrical / all in one shop right on the main Ranihat Square which seemed to populate the streets of Cuttack. I guess this was their attempt to know the local families and integrate with them.
Over the years Suresh became an integral part of our family even calling my parents Nana and Bou. Their shop was a favourite pit stop for everyone from our house. I sometimes wonder.. why did they chose us when our colony had another 20 odd households? His mother would drop by for gossip while his father remained the quiet soul he was. Suresh was brash, exuberant and fun while Sushil Bhai, his brother, seemed to be the responsible one. But there was a spark to him, a jest for life, a wish to go places all bound with an overwhelming love for people he liked.
I got married and moved away from home. Lost contact with my town for a long time. My brothers too moved away but hardly ever lost touch with anyone. Ten years back when I caught up with happenings... realised Suresh and his family were doing well. From the small shop, the brothers had graduated into real estate and other shops. Last time I met Suresh was just 3 months back. At a wedding of the grandchild of a friend of my father's. The same friend who had supported the Agarwal family when they had first reached Cuttack. (This is how some relationships in Cuttack endure!) Met the same Suresh with his wife and kids. The kids looked ready to take over.
I didn't know that was the last I would see Suresh Bhai. Feeling an overwhelming sadness with the knowledge that he is no more. I do hope he realised at least some of his dreams. And his sons carry the love he had for life and people, forward.