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A Life

Bajey (grandfather) was 96 when he died on 8 August 2020.

In 1948, when he was 24, he took on Sikkim's last Chogyal (absolute monarch) and began a lifelong commitment to Sikkimese democracy.

He described his relationship with the Chogyal as "50-50, like that Britannia biscuit."

Broadly speaking, he was a politician in his 20s and 30s, a bureaucrat in his 40s and 50s, a journalist in his 60s and 70s, an éminence grise in his 80s and 90s.

In 1999, he celebrated his 75th birthday by learning how to use a computer.

He lived in a small bedroom and mainly worked from his even smaller bed.

He ate and drank frugally.

If you'd met him, you'd find it hard to believe that here is an architect of democracy and industry, a man on a first-name basis with BP Koirala and JP Narayan, someone who had tête-à-têtes with Nehru and Indira Gandhi, has a road named after him, etc.

On his death, it felt like all of Sikkim and its friends were celebrating his life.

What people remembered most was his smile.

"Slide with it!" was his playful reply when I once asked, "What if I get caught in a landslide?"

A twinkly-eyed raconteur, he was something of a mystery even to himself.

I am lucky to have grown up on the shoulder of a giant.