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Abhijit Banerjee is never too tired for adda with friends

“Chole aye (come over),” he told some of his friends and they spend almost three hours at his apartment talking

By Jhinuk Mazumdar in Calcutta
  • Published 24.10.19, 5:45 AM
  • Updated 24.10.19, 5:45 AM
  • a min read
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee and his mother Nirmala Banerjee (second from right) with friends on Tuesday night Telegraph picture

Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee was exhausted when he reached home on Tuesday night but not too exhausted to catch up with friends.

“Chole aye (come over),” he told some of his friends and they spend close to three hours at the 86F apartment in Saptaparni talking about classical music, childhood friends and cracking jokes. Nobel was the only topic off the adda that went on till 11pm and ended with dinner.

“Whenever we go to his house, we eat together. After reaching home, he called me. I was almost ready to leave. When I reached a little after eight, he hadn’t even changed,” said Bappa Sen, a friend from South Point who has known Banerjee since Class VI.

The group that met included Sen, a documentary filmmaker; childhood friend Ujjayan Bhattacharya, a history teacher at Vidyasagar University; and his wife Ira.

The friends gifted him Banerjee Bengali books, including Dui Dashaker Desh: Golpo Sankalan 1983-2003 and Golpo Sangroho by Saradindu Bandyopadhyay.

“We had some serious discussion, some light-hearted conversation… Mashima (mother Nirmala Banerjee) also joined us. It was like a get-together. But the situation has changed. Our friend has won the Nobel. We had to wait a little longer to meet him because usually we sit together a little earlier. But it’s fine,” Sen said.

The friends not just spoke about classical music but also exchanged recordings of Bhimsen Joshi and Rashid Khan. “The exchange is common among us. In fact, Mashima also listens to some of them,” Sen said.

Banerjee’s friends had spoken to him while he was in Delhi and said they would meet him once he was in the city.

“I would think when would he win the Nobel because there was talk about it in the last few years…. The fact that he won the Nobel is a kind of a fulfilment of all that we wished for,” said Bhattacharya, whose friendship with Banerjee goes back to more than 50 years.

“We were introduced to each other by our fathers who were friends. But gradually we became friends as two individuals. On Tuesday, we spoke about some of the friends he met in Delhi and some that he could not meet this time.”