How exactly does one swim this huge ocean of time: Sutapa on Irrfan's death anniversary

·4-min read

Mumbai, Apr 29 (PTI) The clock for her stopped at 11.11 on April 29 a year ago, writer producer Sutapa Sikdar said on Thursday as she remembered her husband Irrfan Khan on his first death anniversary and wondered how she will “swim this huge ocean of time”.

Friends, co-stars and other admirers joined her in remembering the actor-star, who was only 54 when he died at a Mumbai hospital after a two-year battle with a rare form of cancer.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Sutapa recalled the last moments of the 'Maqbool' actor, vignettes from their life together and his profound influence on her.

She quoted Irrfan's favourite poet Anais Nin's lines - 'People living deeply have no fear of death' – and said she and her friends sang the actor's favourite songs during his last moments.

'Last year tonight me and my friends sang songs for you, all your favorite songs. The nurses were looking at us strangely as they were used to religious chants in critical times but I had overdone that for you Irrfan morning evening and night for two years and since they told me it was time I wanted you to go with memories you loved …so we sang songs….next day you left for the next station I hope you knew where to get down without me (sic),' Sutapa wrote in her Facebook post.

The pandemic has added to the 'anxiety, fear and pain' and walking ahead has become more difficult, she said.

'… how exactly does one swim this huge ocean of time. The clock had stopped At 11.11 on 29th april for me .…irrfan you had a keen interest in mystery of numbers . .and funny you had three 11’s on your final day. some say actually many say this is a very mystical number 11/11/11.' During their first meeting at Delhi’s National School of Drama, Irrfan, who was to go on to become one of India’s best known actor and among the rare few to make his presence felt abroad too, mispronounced her name, she said.

'Like a film in a projector. i remember sitting outside NSD late evening… and you mispronounced my name and I tried to correct and rubbed it in as usual my permanent thing that north Indians are so stupid and they only can pronounce Sunny Vicky Rahul type names...” She described Irrfan as a loner in a crowd. “And now a whole crowd has followed you up there,' she wrote.

Paying tribute to those who had died in the pandemic, she said, 'All of you stay in peace' and 'remember that all of you is missed by some one or the other... all your families grieve'.

Their son Babil also took to Instagram to share photographs and memories of his father.

'…There is a legacy that has already been concluded by my Baba himself. A full stop. Nobody can ever replace him. Nobody will ever be able to,' he wrote on Instagram.

Babil shared a photograph of the actor building a table while he was going through chemotherapy. Babil also shared a handwritten note by the actor about his time in London while undergoing treatment.

Recalling the intense chemotherapy sessions Irrfan underwent to fight cancer, Babil said his father found joy in the simplest of things.

'Chemo burns you from the inside, so to find joy in the simple things, like building your own table to write your own journals. There is a purity, I have not yet discovered,” he said.

'To the greatest best friend, companion, brother, father, I ever had and ever will have. I love you so much, for the rest of this chaos we are choosing to call life,” he added.

Irrfan, an actor of many acclaimed performances in films such as 'Maqbool', 'The Namesake', 'Paan Singh Tomar', 'Qissa' and 'Hindi Medium', was trending on Twitter in the morning as colleagues and others flooded the microblogging site with their memories of the man.

Tilotama Shome, who played his daughter in 2013 “Qissa”, said Irrfan is still around.

“Papaji, your breath lingers on in the ether… swallowed the missing and focused on the dancing light. As things burn around us, I think of your extraordinary light,” she wrote.

“One year!! #IrrfanKhan ! It doesn’t and will never feel like you are gone!! The amazing legacy of work you have left, !! And that shy smile and the magical eyed embedded in our hearts!! @irfaniyat,” actor Divya Dutta wrote.

Irrfan's 'The Lunchbox' co-star Nimrat Kaur wrote, 'Thank you for the gift of your life... #IrrfanForever.' Radhika Madan, who worked with him on his last film “Angrezi Medium”, said as on-screen father-daughter, they created their own pool of memories, where there were no words but silences spoke out loud.

“…I wanna learn everything from you and he was unknowingly teaching me either about his life or art every single day. To endless silent teachings and love… To this phenomenon, people called Irrfan. Celebrating you every single day. Legend. Miss you,” she wrote with a heart emoji. PTI BK KKP MIN MIN