Thursday, May 25, 2006

Requiem for a Friend

Requiem for a Friend

It was a normal morning like any other summer morning. I was on my morning walk with my dog when the cell phone rang. The call was from my village and a hysterical voice told me Siva is no more. He met with an accident. I couldn’t believe it. The caller confirmed that the body was positively identified. It was like a bolt from the blue. I rushed to my village to have a last glimpse. Mercifully the face was intact and he appeared to be in deep sleep. He was cremated on the same day.
I was 10 when I first met him in my village during summer vacation. He was a month older to me. He came from a nearby town to visit his grand parents. He came in an amby and was a sport to accept my exciting suggestion to take a side seat while I test drive the car. He stole the car keys when everyone at home was taking the afternoon nap and gave them to me. Together we were off. Not far though! Before I could manage to start and roll the car for a few yards, both of us were dragged out and a sound thrashing given. That day a bond of friendship sprang between me and Siva and blossomed for 35 years till a few days back when he rammed his car into a stationary truck from the rear during the dead of the night on NH-5 and died on the spot.

A few years after our first meeting, his family permanently moved to my village after his father lost a fortune in business. We met during every holiday, started our jobs same time in Hyderabad, shared a room and shared everything. We had similarities as well as differences. He was a religious person and I was an atheist and later a convert to the concept of Almighty. He was a conformist, while I was a rebel. We both chucked our jobs and started our own businesses, tasted the headiness of success and the pain of failure. Finally he settled in Chennai 15 years back. We used to plan out trips to the village to ensure both were there at the same time.

During the last 5 years, the meetings became infrequent as I was not able to make it to my village when he visited. I traveled to Chennai scores of times but there too didn’t find time to stay back for a day to spend with him. I visited him only a couple of times for an hour or so. He used to say that work will always be there and heavens will not come crashing down if I take a day off to be with him. How I wish now that I had done it. How I wish now that I had met him every time I visited Chennai. How I wish now that he lived for some more years for me to make amends. Alas, if wishes were horses beggars like me would be riding them.

I am left with emptiness in my heart. I am left with a guilty consciousness. I am left with a deep sorrow for not being able to meet him more regularly when I could have done it easily.

Siva is survived by his wife and 13 year old son.

May his sole rest in peace.


bk said...

Thank you for sharing three of the four "loves" in your life -
Dogs, Pickles, and Friends! Hope, the next one will cover the fourth one too!
Happy blogging!

Ramana said...

The fourth one is movies. I am sure I will add lot of stuff on movies.