"He would come beside the bed and stand motionless listening to my violin. He used to say that my music was an inspiration for him. Who will now listen to my violin," asks Gupta who Tuesday lost his only son Sudipto Gupta allegedly to police beating in the metropolis after his arrest for taking part in a protest.
However, the police have claimed that the activist of the Students Federation of India, the students' wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), died after he crashed into a lamp post while being taken to jail.
Inconsolable at the loss, the retired government employee feels empty, helpless.
"I am not keeping well. Who do I live for now," asks the old man, looking distraught at his residence in New Garia on the city's southern outskirts.
Only a day back, television channels had beamed heart-rending footage of the old man's wails at a state-run hospital after the doctors pronounced his son dead.
"My son was a voracious reader. He used to read books of all kinds well into the night. For him, reading was a means of gaining real education. He dreamt a lot. He used to dream of a new social order, a new dawn," said the father, reliving the memories of his son every minute.
But he is determined to fight for justice for Sudipto, who was more than a son to him, especially after he lost his wife a year ago.
"I will not let his death go in vain. I will fight for justice," says Gupta as he manages to play the Tagore masterpiece "Purano Sei Diner Kotha" (Memories of the Good Old Days) on his violin.
If Sudipto, a bright student leader, could keep the audience spellbound during students rallies by soulful rendition of inspiring Rabindra Sangeet, back home he was equally adept at taking care of his ageing father.
Before leaving the house for his duties as a state committee member of the Students Federation of India, Sudipto would not only cook, but made sure that his frail father had his lunch and medicines.
The toughest moment came late Wednesday evening. The flower-bedecked hearse with Sudipto's body wrapped in a red flag halted close to the residence.
Helped by CPI-M and SFI leaders, the grieving father wobbled towards the vehicle, folded his hands, and then went down to place some flowers on the body.
As lonely life awaits Pranab Gupta, one of his neighbours summed up his tragedy quoting lines from John Millington Synge's one act play "Riders To The Sea".
"In the big world the old people do be leaving things after them for their sons and children, but in this place it is the young men do be leaving things behind for them that do be old."
--IANS (Posted on 03-04-2013)