Kaushik, you beautiful, lovely, silly fool.
My friend, brother, co-writer, sharer of adventures and memories.
Lover of words who won’t write or read any, anymore.
The mind is still grappling; no, the mind is numb. Like a blob of cabbage, it just is. But sometimes it wakes itself up, becoming rational enough to shriek: “This can’t be real.”
Yet the nightmare chugs along. Like an underpowered ghastly thing, the horror of your passing away is something our mind-eyes have to relive slowly, as if on loop. Throats choke, only to find fresh cries. Tears dry, only to drop again. Such is the fragile promise of life, the futility of conjecture and the failure of our collective comprehension.
We met last just two weeks ago. Christmas was over but the city still twinkled with the promise of the new year and sparkled with the magic of the past. Our beers turned back time, and that night you were like how I’ve always known you – carefree; your face full of smiles and your tongue full of wit. As always. As forever.
We hugged like the old times, and the last words you said were words that haunt me because neither of us knew what you were saying.
“I wanted to meet you now, in case I don’t meet you in the new year.”
You were one of the nicest persons I’ve known, full of the kind of kindness that warms everyone around you. You radiated the rare goodness found only in children. There were more people at your funeral than there are at most weddings. And yet it was a close-knit affair.
The fact that I’m referring to you in past tense is the cruelest reality-check of it all.
To Rohini, who must try and make sense of this more than us, and to his wonderful parents who have fed me many times but who I feel unable to look in the eye, I hope you cope somehow and that the lie about time easing things is true.
So here’s to all the teen-patti games we played, the beers we downed together, the weed that you blew in my face, the bike rides to Bhandardhara and Bhimashankar, the girl-fiend you saved me from, to my wife’s nickname that you gave, to your un-returnable repartees and your unforgettable wisecracks, to the mattress in my house that you made your own, to all the hugs you gave me and the jhappis I will never be able to give you.
Take care, my brother. If there is a God, you can spot him easy. He’ll be fixing you a large Rum and Coke with a “Woh sab toh theek hai, aur suna.”