Dr. Debasish Bhattacharya, Disha Eye

Dr. Debasish Bhattacharya, Disha Eye Hospital was a classmate at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Barrackpore. He was very popular, and school girls were very fond of him. In studies too he was good, in the final board exam exam, he was just behind me in total scores.

In short he was a model Bengali, obedient to his parents, and serving the poor by opening up his hospital Disha Eye Hospital in Barrackpore, offering eye operations at reasonable prices.

So I was surprised when I got an email from him, decades later, stating that he is going to be in the USA and could he stay with me.

Around 2000, I was living in Irvine, a posh city about 50 miles from Los Angeles. I had no objections, if fact, I loved it. Someone from school days, so much to talk about. He came, we went to famous beaches nearby, and also went to little India (Artesia?) near Los Angeles, to seat samosas. Only one thing he mentioned a couple of times, that we were best friends. I remembered him fondly but we were never best friends, just good friends. But who am I to correct him.

A few years later I was in Oakland, next to San Francisco. Got another email from Debasish, stating that he was coming to San Francisco and could he stay with me.

He enjoyed this time too. We went to Santa Crux to watch its beach, want to nearby beer factories in Napa Valley. It was good times again.

In 2014 I came back to India. He called me 2-3 times to come to Barrackpore at his house. He took me to Park Street to watch a movie – The Imitation Game featuring Benedict Cumberbatch – and ate snacks lying in our seats. And back riding Mercedes Benz, life was good.

We went to our school’s annual function. Our classmate Gautam Biswas was there. Again Debasish introduced me as “best friend.”

Soon later I got a call from him. He was chairman of some doctor’s association, and needed Nandan Nilekani to deliver the speech. Could I call him to ask him to do it.

I told him that I don’t have Nandan’s phone number. Debasish stopped talking to this best friend of him No talk since then.

Maybe I should have directed him to Shyam Maniyar.