This is not an obituary. This is not a thank-you note (Although I’m really thankful for everything you ever did for me!). This is more of a “Remember the times…” post where I just want to let out everything I wanted to tell you, everything I felt about you and everything you made me realize, but couldn’t and now it’s too late.
Remember the childhood days when we used to visit every year, during our summer vacations. We used to play Scrabble and we used to fight over made up words and stealing peeks. It meant more to me when I would win or even score a point more than you did, and believe me, I used to read the frikking dictionary and memorize the words so that I can beat you at it! The same goes for the word game that we used to play, where one says a word and the other says the another word that should start with the last alphabet of the previous word, kind of like antakshari but with words. The number of times we fought over who cheated, who said the word already, and so on. You were the one who made English interesting, long before I actually started reading books (And by books I mean real books like Enid Blyton and Ruskin Bond, not magazines like Champak or comics like Tinkle and Chacha Chaudhari).
Remember the time when you told me that you could easily ‘cheat’ on your tests, just because your Mom is the teacher. And when I asked why you don’t, you replied with a filmy “That’s not something I would do!” Since then I’ve never taken advantage of any of my friends or family. You taught me that.
Something that I also learnt from you, but not particularly proud of, is the ability to justify myself, even with the knowledge of wrong doing. The umpteen number of times I’ve seen you do something wrong, regret it but still justify the doing to elders in such a way that neither your conscience nor your dignity is affected. Even though the logic was totally absurd at times, you used to get away with it!
The uncountable games we’ve played, invented, discovered and the amount of fun and frolicking we did during our vacations. Cricket matches that ended in fights, Hide-and-seeks that spanned out to the entire house (which included a garden, a porch, a backyard, a kitchen garden, and orchards and about a couple of dozens of coconut trees). You were the one who introduced me to actual computer games (Commandos, Wolf 3d, and Wolfenstein were the first serious games that I ever played.) and my mom would tell you, I haven’t looked back since.
And there’s a little secret that I carry around, a wound to my right knee. Very few know that it was inflicted by you, when we were playing make believe Pokémon fights, and a pair of scissors accidently dropped from your hand and landed point first on my knee. I don’t exactly remember what happened then, but I remember not crying, and refusing stitches. Well I still have that scar, and I believe that is the only thing ‘physical’ that I took from you. Rest all are just fond memories.
Remember the time before last when we met, I believe it was two-three years ago, when we all went for Kites. The film was “umm… okay” (your words, not mine but I share the same feeling) and you promised that we’ll go for another movie next time and that it will be much better than this one.
The example you set before me, the high standards you kept for me, the way you influence people, the way you knew me, it was all an inspiration for me. I’ve heard and seen many interpretations of you, as a friend, as a brother, as a colleague, even as an acquaintance, but I do not care how others saw you or knew you. Maybe they knew you better, maybe they didn’t.
But to me you’ll always be the brother you were.
This is what you taught me, over the years, in the words of your own favourite author :
To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget. …
Even though we haven’t talked much in recent times, you will always be cherished and remembered Kunju chetta!!