Guwahati: Amarjyoti Deka vividly remembers a dinner hosted for the members of the Assam Mountaineering Association (AMA)’s under-15 team in 1995.

“ The contingent was invited for tea by our AMA founder president DP Neog Sir a day after we returned to Guwahati from a successful expedition to Sandakphu (West Bengal) on the Indo-Nepal border. It was a first by an under-15 team. But around 35 of us turned up. After tea, we were treated to a dinner by Neog Sir’s better half — Manjula madam,” AMA executive member Amarjyoti Deka, now 51, recalled.

He remembers the dinner not because of “what was served” but because it was a “surprise for all of us” and because “everything was cooked and smilingly managed by madam” despite the last-minute rise in the number of invitees in an age when there was “no” food delivery app.

“Even the kids in that team, now in their forties, fondly recall the dinner … the noodles, the chicken fried rice and our ever-smiling madam. There was never a day when we returned from the Neog residence without a cup of tea served by madam, reflecting her affectionate and caring side,” Deka said, adding, “ Madam will be missed by one and all who came into contact with her.”

Manjula Neog passed away on May 2, aged 75, in a Guwahati hospital with her two sons, their better halves and her daughter by her side, after a bout of illness. She was born in Golaghat.

Her adya shraddha was performed at her Lachit Nagar residence in Guwahati on May 12 where family and friends and acquaintances fondly shared anecdotes about her caring nature and her contributions to the various organisations she was connected with.

Besides the AMA with which she had an emotional bonding because of her husband, Assam’s first principal chief conservator of forests, Manjula Neog was also actively associated with other organisations.

She was the founder-president of the Assam Forest Officer’s Ladies Association, former president of the ARFWA (Assam Retired Forest Officer’s Wives Association), former president of the Inner Wheel Club of Guwahati (East) District 324 and then as a member of the NGO having presence in over 100 countries. Neog was also an active member of the Pensioner’s Association (Ladies Cell).

Said Amarjyoti Deka, “ We are discussing how to keep the contributions of Neog Sir and Madam to the AMA alive. It will be a fitting tribute to them.” True that!

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