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King of sandesh will mould no more

Prasanta Nandy, the man synonymous with Girish Chandra Dey & Nakur Chandra Nandy for four decades, died late on Wednesday.

Nandy, the 56-year-old great-grandson of Nakur Chandra Nandy, was a permanent fixture at the Ramdulal Sarkar Street sweet shop in north Calcutta since he was 12 years old. He was at the shop till around 10.30pm on Wednesday, but around 1am complained of breathlessness and passed away within hours, on way to the hospital, of a cardiac arrest. Everything happened in a span of 15 to 20 minutes, said Partha Nandy, Prasanta’s nephew.

“He was the uncrowned king of sandesh,” said veteran author Mani ‘Shankar’ Mukherjee. “He would do a lot of research on sandesh. He was always interested in innovating, making new kinds of sandesh.”

Shankar, a Nakur regular and a friend of Prasanta, added: “Of late, he was concerned about the depletion of khejur gaachh (date trees). He was voicing his concern to me the other night that the demand for dates was growing while supply was dwindling. He also rued the fact that sandesh-makers never got their due. Cakes always sold at a premium and so he had innovated the sandesh-cake…. He was a confectioner of the highest order.”

Mahesh Chandra Dey set up the shop, now a legend, in 1844. Later his son Girish Chandra Dey took over and the shop was named after him. His only daughter was married to Nakur Chandra Nandy and since then the mishti address has been known as Girish Chandra Dey & Nakur Chandra Nandy.

The shop will remain closed for three days.