“My son was always playful, even during his death.” Those words of my friend’s mother still resonate in my ears.

“We had bought new plants and photos to show him as a surprise. We tried calling him from 5 p.m. only to see our son come home like a zombie wrapped in white cloth. I wish i could see his face for one last time,” says his mom.

February 6 was yet another tiring day, after reporting, for me. I had a bad headache and crashed immediately after my dinner. Suddenly my mother’s phone started buzzing. Which sane person would normally call in the night at 11 30 p.m.? I got up with a pounding heart and sweat trickling down my forehead.

“What are you telling? Oh god! How did it happen? I still cannot believe my ears, my heart is beating fast, and I am unable to breathe. Wait I am coming down,” my mother said, put the phone down and ran outside thinking I was asleep.

First of all, I am allergic to sudden sounds; secondly, it was obvious that something was ominous. To my bad or good, premonition or just a thought, I felt that it was him, Sriram, or someone from his house was dead, it kept running in my head. I rushed to the other room and slept with my grandmother. Not that I could still sleep peacefully, something terribly disturbed me scared me and left me worried the entire night.

Restless and sleepless, my heart was with my mother who was down, curiosity was killing me. I don’t know what really made me do this but I left my phone in the other room fearing a call.

After two hours of intermittent sleep, I woke up at 5 45 a.m. to tell my grandmother that something was wrong. I could see a blurry vision of my mom walking towards our room. Then she let the cat out of the bag, “Sriram is no more and started weeping”.

Did I already know? Were those words expected or did they come as a shock to me? How did I guess? Were they signs of omen? I was shattered and paranoid and broke down unconditionally.

I had received missed calls in the midnight like I expected, messages from a friend who wanted to inform me. I called him back, gasping for breath, groping for words, overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted. The next minute he came home and took me down to Sriram’s house.

The first person I saw on my way was his father. How do I see him and what do I tell him? I bent my head down with a heavy heart and entered his house. My last evening in his house with him was a few days back; he had made Maggie for me, but today? I am still in his house but without him. I felt the emptiness.

There was absolute silence around me. He never liked it, he always wanted loud music. His torn wallet, broken phone, watch and his bag were scattered on the table. He wore his new t-shirt and shoes to college on his last  day of college.

The very concept of death has always puzzled me. I have always contemplated on it from different aspects but none of my attempts have been fruitful enough to fetch me a convincing answer. The recent incident of my friend’s demise has made me realize a lot of things.

According to Kubler-Ross Model of Death, the sequence of reaction takes place in five stages- Denial, anger, bargain, depression and acceptance.

I am right now experiencing a dissonance in assuming roles. Do I sympathize with his family or empathize? Both are strong yet contrasting words in terms of the feelings associated with them.

I sympathize as a friend but empathize as a single child. My ego states are constantly shifting. I know, I have to deal with this emotionally overwhelming situation that was totally out of the blue.

I still remember the last day I saw him. He was wearing a red t-shirt and waved a bye to me. Little did I know that it would be the last time I am seeing him. There was a sparkle in his final good-bye, a touch of hope and casualty.

More than a friend, he was a brother to me. One thing I am sure about is none except for me could have handled his weirdness better. Irrespective of how loud, jabbering or annoying he was, I liked his originality. He never changed himself for anyone, his friendliness towards others and the light “I don’t care attitude” was something I admired.

That one person who bangs the door, goes walking in the midnight, hogs constantly, works out like crazy, believes in spirituality and what not. “How the fuck did you fall da? ” This man is irreplaceable.

I am still in a stage of denial. I still cannot believe that he is no more. I will definitely miss being called “paapa” and his missed calls. I feel guilty for not picking them up at times.

I still blame the fate for taking away my friend so soon. I wish he was here with us right now. I promise that I will always be there for his parents, as a support and will always be there by their side.

You have always walked by my side, had Samosas with me, played Uno with me, motivated me to work out and play my game, given me sermons on nutrition and shared everything with me.

I am glad that he celebrated last birthday, last diwali and last everything in the place he loved. I am sure; those were the best days of your life in Chennai. Bye.




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