My youngest friend Prof. Bhatia is no more. And I am going to miss him.
Here’s what I received from one of his friends the other day: “It is with regret that I convey Prof. Bhatia’s demise Monday morning (Nov.1). Prof. Bhatia would make me open Greater Voice often and ask me to write something there but I always used to promise myself that I’d write a few words. Alas! Little did I realize that my procrastination would result in my post here being of such nature.”
Another would write: “Feel so sad that we have to live in a world where there is no more Prof. Bhatia. A few drops of tears, from the bottom of the heart with a wish that let his soul rest in peace. I’m sure he must be watching all of us from a distance and of course with that typical smile.”
These poignant words came from persons who, like me, were addicted to Prof. Bhatia, a regular at the Press Club of India.
Prof. Bhatia was not keeping well for months and had to be hospitalised on number of occasions in the recent times. But. Even from the hospital bed he would call me to say, “Neeraj, I’ve so many things to do.” And the last time when he called, he was authoritative: “Hope I am not disturbing you and even if I am disturbing you, I have a right to disturb you.”
Yes. His heart was young, even younger than many of us; though his body left him, may be too early. He was just 87, and so dear a guide.
Unarguably, he lived his life, perhaps to the fullest. Romantic that he was, Prof. Bhatia would often take me to a pure world full of his poetry and nicest Persian literature.
As my tribute I take his permission to post one of his love letters that, perhaps, was never delivered. Here it is: