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Best gift we can give Abhijit: Let him rest

Calcutta, however, may not allow him that luxury

By Sanjay Mandal in Calcutta

  • Published 23.10.19, 1:51 AM
  • Updated 23.10.19, 2:11 AM
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee with airport director Kaushik Bhattacharya and other officials on his arrival in Calcutta on Tuesday evening.
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee with airport director Kaushik Bhattacharya and other officials on his arrival in Calcutta on Tuesday evening. Picture by Sanjay Mandal

Q: What is your plan in Calcutta?

A: Go home, take rest and talk as little as possible.

Nobel laureate Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, a sought-after celebrity since arriving in India, is craving a few hours of silence during his short stay home.

“It feels wonderful to be back home,” Banerjee told The Telegraph at Calcutta airport on Tuesday evening.

He said he had last come to the city three months ago. “I was alone and there was no one to receive me. It was better.”

He added: “I’m very tired and need to sleep.”

Asked what his plans were, he said: “Go home, take rest and talk as little as possible.”

Calcutta may not allow him that luxury, going by the scenes at the airport.

The IndiGo flight, 6E 283, had landed a little after 7pm. A crowd was already waiting at the end of the aerobridge. Mayor Firhad Hakim, minister Bratya Basu and airport director Kaushik Bhattacharya were part of the welcome party. Hakim greeted Banerjee with a bouquet.

On his way out, Banerjee was bombarded with selfie requests. “I’m tired and want to sleep,” he said but obliged everyone.

A police convoy drove him to his home in Ballygunge.

“He looked very tired and slept during most of the flight,” said Abhijit Chowdhury, a Calcutta-based gastro-enterologist who was on the same flight.

Chowdhury heads the Liver Foundation, an NGO that has worked with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, co-founded by Banerjee, to improve rural health care in Birbhum.

Tanima Dutta, an assistant general manager at Calcutta airport, turned out to have been an alumna of South Point where Banerjee also studied.

She was carrying a picture of her batch and showed it to Banerjee. “Wherever I go in the world, I find South Point,” Banerjee told her.

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