After all these years I cannot quite recall at what age I first became acquainted with his creations. It must be very early childhood. My uncle used to bring home his books from his office library. My first experience with Feluda happened like that. My first crush. Ever. Even after so many years that tall, dark, deviously intelligent man with Charminar hanging from his lips can turn me on like no other man in the world. And yet, the pure innocence of those feelings has still remained the same. Life’s harshness could not be able to touch that treasure box hidden safely away in one corner of a very Bengali little girl’s heart.

My father had promised me the newly published Golpo 101 if I performed well in the upcoming board examination. At that age, I could not think of a more precious gift or a stronger motivation. My father’s proud message for his little girl in his immaculate handwriting is still shining in all its glory on the front page of that book.

And those old Anandmela from my father’s collection? Yes, there is a reason why I so strongly hate the modern Anandamela and no longer read that blasted magazine. Despite the risk of getting tagged as a non-intellectual Bengali. Because I know how that magazine used to be like during its golden age. Anybody who has read a full Shonku adventure on a Pujabarshiki Anandamela along with author’s own illustration would puke at this new version stinking of cheap marketing strategy and tomfoolery.

When did Tibet and its mysticism first claim my soul? Yes it might have happened after my first trip to Sikkim. But its seed had probably been sown the first time I read the great Bengali scientist Professor Shonku’s adventure in the land of magic and mystery. How many times did I mentally travel through the tricky terrains of the Gurla Mandhata range searching for Charles Willard who claimed to have witnessed a unicorn in Tibet? I have a motto. Which is a borrowed and modified version of an unforgettable quote by the father of this great man. Whenever reality starts to suck, escape to Tibet. Not this China occupied one though.

My first movie experience at a theatre? I vividly remember a Ray Retrospective was going on at Nandan that time. My father took me to watch Sonar Kella. I tasted the flavor of adventure for the first time on celluloid. That was also the first time I came to know there was once a man on this earth named Santosh Dutta.

There are times when I feel absolutely and unequivocally proud to be a Bengali. When I look at the illustrations on the dilapidated cover of an old Anandamela – the first time I saw them I thought they were drawn by a child. Or when I read the adventures of an eccentric Bengali Scientist. Or when I watch that masterpiece of a movie that depicted poverty, pain and loss like poetry on celluloid. Or when I watch his interview on BBC – find me another Bengali or an Indian who can speak such wonderful English with so much grace and eloquence. Yes I am proud to be a Bengali. Because we have Him.

Wish you a very happy birthday, Mr. Satyajit Ray.