|Shri Kumar Vivek, (1967-1997)- known as 'Suman' to his family and friends|
|Both Ogden Nash ( (1902-71) and Harishankar Parsai (1924 – 1995) (below) were bhaiya's favourite|
Mike Brayerly (b. 1942) would have never known that
he had a faithful disciple and practitioner in my bhaiya
at neighbourhood cricket in Muzaffarpur in early 1980s
when Mike was also very much in action
In the neighbourhood cricket team, he was always chosen to captain the side by his friends, not really because of his cricketing skills, which were limited to slow medium bowling and better batting, but mainly because of his captaincy skills--for field placements, for change of bowling in a strategic manner and so on and so forth. No wonder, his one of the model cricketers was Mike Brayerly, the legendary captain of England in the 1970s, who was known to be a master-captain, and was kept in the side not as much because of his cricketing skills as such, but because of his 'captaincy skills.'.
But my bhaiya had two problems: he was quite an introvert and over-sensitive. His bathroom singing of Kishore Kumar’s songs, love for the parallel as well as masala action films including James Bonds'-- he was a die-hard fan of both Amitabh Bachchan and Naseeruddin Shah--perhaps showed a zest and intensity and range for life which proved too much for the space and time he was placed in. This aspect of his personality with his ingrained desires to overcome the surroundings of Muzaffarpur, put him in direct conflict with my father’s Gandhian idealism on the one hand, and, more importantly, with the rather apathetic social ambience of Bihar of the 1990s. From 1991 onwards, bhaiya developed acute psychological depression, with which he fought for nearly six intense and painflul years, ultimately succumbing to it in 1997—two and half months before he could turn even 30—ironically, as a ‘drop-out’ student of MA (Economics).
Needless to say, the overall deteriorating atmosphere on the campus of college and universities of Bihar starting in 1980s and taking on entirely new colours in the 1990s, added to his derailment, with academic sessions getting delayed by more than 2 years and examinations happening haphazardly, almost chaotically. I have always seen the deterioration of my bhaiya as somekind of concrete manifestation of social deterioration, though my father generally never shared my understanding because of his immense faith in social ethos, and always tried to analyse it as a personal failure--a reading which I though was too cruel on himself and bhaiya.
His rather incomplete life reminds me of that incomplete play that he once decided to stage with his neighbourhood friends in which I had also got a minor role, perhaps of a girl. This might have been the summer of 1982--his post-matriculation examination and pre-results days-- when bhaiya took out a play from the magazine for the young adults 'Paraag' brought out by TOI. He edited it suitably, and cobbled together many of his friends--boys as well as girls--and proper rehearsals got started. My father asked a few of his students to help the team out in managing the show. However, after some days of rehearsals, which was really fun, everything just evaporated probably because a few of the parents were not very appreciative of the growing up boys and girls working together for a play.
|Shri Kumar Vivek's Poem in His Own Handwriting|