[Transcript of Letter One]
Room No 367, “Grand Hotel”
Calcutta. 4th November 1943.
My dear Father, I am so sorry I didn’t write on my arrival here in Calcutta, on account of some unavoidable circumstances; in the meanwhile you might have received one letter written by me from Moghal Tarai. I reached here on the 3rd inst. in the evening and reported myself along with some eight officers at I.M.H. (Indian Military Hospital) Alipore (which is a part of Calcutta). First two days we had very little work in the Hospital. Today I got orders to work for Bengal famine relief. I shall be moving from place to place in affected areas. My exact work is not known.
I am at present staying in the Grand Hotel which is supposed to be the best – it is as good as Taj Mahal Hotel, Bby. We are really happy here, don’t know how far [sic] we will be here. The charges are fifteen rupees per day and the expenses are borne by the Govt. It is exclusively reserved for military officers. The management and all other arrangements are absolutely grand and is ultramodern. I have no time to describe the arrangements.
There is accommodation for about 500 officers. Major Koppikar who is here on a short visit is also staying in on of the rooms. Yesterday I went to Sumitra Manjeshwar & Kulkarny’s place. I went there hurriedly & was there about fifteen minutes. I couldn’t see He——. Shankar is down with fever for the last few days with pleurodynia. If I get time I mean to see the worthseeing places by Saturday – if at all I am here.
I think, since my present address is not permanent, it will be kind of you if you will post letters on my name to H. S. Kulkarny; 154 Bakulbagan Road, West block, 1st floor, Bhavanipura, Calcutta. I have no idea as regards dear mother’s present state of illness. I am really worried about her condition. I pray God the almighty that she will be free from this chronic trouble.
Please be writing letters now and then. I shall be then to read your letters at least.
I hope you are all well at home. My best regards & my best wishes. With my kisses to Jayashree.
Your loving Son
P.S. – Please ask dear Mnjula & Vimala & Sushila to write me.
[Transcript of Letter Two]
Station Staff Mess
21st November 1943 (12 P.M)
My dear Father, I am in receipt of your two letters for which I am thankful to you. I also received a letter from dear Indu. I am sorry I couldn’t write to you since over a week.
Since I was asked to work for the Bengal famine relief, I had to undergo a short training at Singur – a place 20 miles from Calcutta – for a week. About thirty officers were there and another batch of thirty more doctors are undergoing training at present. After my training I received immediate orders to proceed to Dacca – to take charge of the Subdivisional medical officers’ work. Dacca is a big town of about three lakhs population, & is about 400 miles away from Calcutta. I left Calcutta last night at about 9.30 P.M & came to Gonando at 5 A.M. From there we proceeded by the boat to Narayanganj. We went along the river Padma – a tributary of Ganges. We had throughout first class accommodation. The cabins in which we were putting were marvellous and I had a memorable voyage of about six hours which I will never forget. I had a good time. I reached Narayanganj at 2.30; from there we had a connecting train by which we reached Dacca at 4-30. On the station, military conveyances were there for us to take us to the station staff mess where I am putting up. I have got nice accommodation and messing – where there are many European and American officers are there.
Tomorrow there is a conference of doctors & govt. officials at the District Magistrate’s bungalow to chalk out the programme. I will have to tour about six villages a day – doing vaccination, cholera inoculations and other preventive aide of medicine. I will have to open new distitude camps. As a matter of fact I will have such a heavy work that I wont be able to able to get sufficient time for rest. Never mind it’s all for the good of suffering poor. I have travelled theses famine stricken areas, and I am really unable to describe the ghastly scenes which moved my heart. Over and above the epidemic of cholera are smallpox, dysenteries, malaria, typhoid and what not, have broken out. I am glad that the almighty has given me chance to do something little to alleviate the sufferings of the poor. I shall however, write you, in detail at my earliest convenience.
How is dear Mother going on now? Please inform me her present state. Please tell dear Mother hat I have allotted Rs 200, every month, and out of it you may give her as much as she needs. Remaining of it you may utilise or if you deem – can keep in the Bank on our joint account. Henceforward my allowances & pay will be credited in the Imperial Bank Poona on our joint account.
Hope this will find you. Myself in good health and wish to learn from you the same. With best regards to self & best wishes to all. Please tell dear Manjula & Vimala that I am much thankful for their kind letters.
Yours affly Laxman.
(scribbled at the top of the first page)
P.S. – As I am writing this letter after my long journey I have not answered your some of the queries you asked – which I hope will comply next time. Please excuse me. Laxman Please write letters on → District Health officer, Dacca, East Bengal