Subarata and I rarely argued but when we did it was dramatic – and then we refused to speak for days...
Eventually one of us would relent or our hearts would come forward and then things would revert to normal. I learnt early on that the quickest way to make friends again was to follow Guru's wise advice and to buy her something – preferably a teddy bear – and I recruited help from others in the Centre to track down the most endearing stuffed animal that money could buy.
Once, into day three of a protracted silence following some dispute, I spotted the most heart-melting stuffed bear I had ever seen and placed it in the passenger seat of the car, with the seat belt fastened, while she was shopping. Then I waited in concealment. Sure enough, when she came back and saw it, she glanced around to make sure I wasn’t present and then picked it up to hug it and laugh. Then I knew things were okay again.
Subarata's collection of teddy bears and stuffed animals is unrivalled and each has a story of reconciliation or friendship to tell.