Supratik Bose

Supratik Bose

July 14th, 1939 March 19th, 2020

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Michael Meister

A man of great merit and a great friend! MWM
Comment | Posted at 02:40pm via Condolence

Priya Natarajan

I first met Supratik at a party at Amartya & Emma's home about 6 years ago or so. We hit it off immediately with common interests in architecture, art, design and ideas. His enthusiasm for life was infectious and his child-like curiosity was remarkable. We became close friends and he was very supportive of everything I did. He would always congratulate me when an essay was published in the NYRB; when my scientific research results made a splash in the media and when I was featured in some BBC documentary or PBS show talking about my work. He has enormous faith in my intellectual capacities and was a source of strength during moments when I felt shaky. He was a gentle, generous soul. We met for lunch and dinner and argued about all manner of things - elements of the educational system that stifled creativity; the injustice in the world; growing income inequality and bad design! I miss him greatly, his wonderful stories and warmth.
Comment | Posted at 06:58pm via Condolence

Megan Marshall

I first met Supratik Bose in November 1975, at Thanksgiving dinner in the Cambridge apartment he shared with his girlfriend, Linda Lord. Like me, Linda was a new transfer student at Harvard that semester and an English major writing poetry. Bose and Linda were generous hosts, and I fell under the spell of their hospitality: relaxed, yet far more civilized than the communal households of Central Square where I’d lived for the past few years. I was grateful to know both of them, happy when they married a few years later.

When that marriage ended and Linda moved away, I wasn’t sure I would stay in touch with Bose, as he insisted his American friends call him, never expecting any of us to master the pronunciation of his first name. But I learned that friendship is one of Bose’s gifts. Our connection strengthened as we began to realize this about each other—neither of us liked to give up on a friendship.

Then, over the years, as we both turned to preservation of our family histories, we discovered a deeper, almost familial relation, which made it seem as if our friendship had been predestined. I’d grown up in Southern California, Bose in India, but my paternal grandfather, Joe T. Marshall, had been a Harvard senior in the spring of 1913 when Rabindranath Tagore delivered the lectures that would become Sadhana. Those lectures on Indian philosophy changed my grandfather’s life. The following year, rather than attend law school as planned, he traveled to India to meet Tagore, becoming the first American to observe the small school at Santiniketan that would become a university—where, six years later, Bose’s grandfather Nandalal would start an art school at Tagore’s invitation and raise his family in the remarkable household in which Supratik Bose grew up. The only grandchild to bear Nandalal’s family name, Bose was given his unusual first name by Tagore himself. My grandfather never met Nandalal, but his diary entries from his August 1914 visit to Santiniketan persuaded us he’d met the grandfather of Bose’s great friend Amartya Sen, the Sanskrit scholar Kshiti Mohan Sen, on the fledgling campus.

I always hoped to visit Santiniketan with Bose, to close the circle opened by my grandfather’s visit, the promise of which went unfulfilled when world war broke out. Perhaps I’ll still get there, to sit in the now-famous meditation spot, Chhatimtala, where my grandfather had his photo taken. When I showed Bose the photograph, he assured me that the marble altar was still in place, although the ancient chhatim trees that shaded it, that had inspired Tagore’s father to acquire the property, had come down. Bose recited for me his own translation of the prayer inscribed on the altar:

He is the pleasure of my mind
happiness of my life
and peace of my soul.

The lines seem an appropriate benediction for our departed friend, with his active mind, his delight in the physical world, and remarkable capacity to find peace as he left it and us behind.

Megan Marshall
Comment | Posted at 11:09pm via Condolence

Why light a candle?

This is why you should light a candle..

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