Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life is when dreams are surrendered to reality.

Friday, January 19, 2007

I will remember you, friend

The year 2007 has started picking momentum, stories of the New Year’s Eve parties have been told and re-told and no one even remembers anything...or cares to, already the year has a faded appearance to it. There has not been that earth shattering moment of epiphany where I thought that the New Year would bring me clarity as to my purpose in life...New Year resolutions have passed into the dustbins of fading memory and the endless path of rut and apathy welcomes me to its brooding familiarity.

All this would have been par, 'cause I have this innate ability to ignore and recede into the shell that I call life, but for a very traumatic incident that affected the very core of my being in away nothing has...for a very long time.

Srinivasan Sreedharan joined our SQA team 9 months back. He was a CA turned ISO auditor and now he was a part of the SQA team. It took me some time to warm up to him and I kept my polite distance, but accorded him all the help required for him to feel comfortable. Over time I got to interact with him more and got to understand him better. Somehow I believed that he found me to be most comfortable within the team. I used to rib him a lot and tease him about a lot of stuff...but I was never critical of his work or his abilities to cope up with the paradigm shift in job profile. I mean from an ISO auditor for manufacturing companies to driving quality initiatives in a software organization is not very easy, especially if you come from a non computer background. Gradually he warmed up to me and we got to talking about where he came from and the kind of person he was. He always told me that this job was important to him and would put in extra effort to try and learn as much as was possible, this I guess was due to his understanding that though he may have been good at what he was doing earlier, this was entirely different, and though quality was not considered to be of paramount importance to our client, we had to do our part in the rigmarole that we were playing.

Anyways, last friday, the 12th of January, before we split for the weekend we went to the Irani cafe near our office and had a tea along with Meci - this was our usual practice. We talked for a while and as usual I teased him about a few stuffs including his driving skills and his inability to get angry...I mean there was nothing profound or anything, but it was all in a spirit of camaraderie. After finishing our smoke and paying up we bid goodbyes and happy weekend and pongals and left on our own separate ways, not knowing that, this was the last time I will be seeing him alive.

Sreedharan passed away due to a massive cardiac arrest early morning at around 5 am on monday the 15th.

It was all the more tragic 'cause according to his friends and himself, this was turning out to be the best phase of his career and life. He had been thru a lot in life. Sreedhar's demise was more than a shock, 'cause sometimes we don’t have words to express the feelings that go thru our mind. This particular incident was traumatic on the realization that, he has left behind him a wife and a mom-in-law who have no ways to fend for themselves. Sridhar was looking at doing something this year so that they will have a wonderful future ahead of them.

I remember him telling us about his plans and what all he planned to do this year so that he can give his wife and himself a decent future. He was just beginning to see the light at the end of a long dark tunnel and he was very happy now.

I remember him telling me about his married life and his sadness at not having a kid. He said that in his horoscope, it was mentioned that he would have a kid only in the 14th year of his marriage and this was his 14th year...and he was looking forward to it, though he kidded that when you have the energy and time you don’t have the money and now when life is really looking to be alright there is no energy.

I remember that he carried a snap of his wife in his purse...a black and white photo frayed at the edges, which I later came to know was the first time he saw of his wife. It dawned on me, how much he must be attached to his wife and it felt beautiful that in a world that has bastards like me there were beautiful people too. I felt happy for him...I felt really happy for him when I realized that with all the problems I had, it is funny how it seems minor when compared with somebody else's problem. It was funny how he got himself to confide some of these things to me. For the past few days, I cannot stop thinking about him and what a lousy stack of hand life had dealt him. He was not a bad person in any sense of the word...just that he didn’t get the right breaks. I feel so very sad and even now as I went thru his personal effects at work, I couldn't stop my eyes welling up.

It is ironic that the day before he passed away he had got a complete medical check up done and he was certified normal.

I don’t know if it is this incident, I realize now that life is neither beautiful...nor a bitch. It is easy deluding ourselves and say that life is beautiful and we should only look at the bright side and stuff like that. But what of those with no bright sides... or silver linings or light at the end of tunnels. Life may not be beautiful, but I consider myself lucky to be where I am now. I may not be the happiest, the wealthiest, the strongest, tallest, smartest and so on. But I am sure there are so many out there who would be wishing to be where I am now given a chance... so many of those with no dreams, no desires, no needs, except to sustain and survive...exist.

I have been incredibly lucky and it is upon me to do something more with my life, create a meaning to my existence. I believe that we have all got to do our part in the way we think right and in the manner we think right, everything else is left to chance. We are in control of only a miniscule percentage of our daily life....the rest is dependent on a lot of factors beyond our control, we can call it whatever name we want, destiny, fate, luck or even God's will, but at the end of the day you pick your cards from the stack that has already been dealt.

Srinivasan Sreedharan was just 42 years old...that’s way too young to die…way too young.

I will remember your shy smile, friend.


Blogger Sachin R K said...

When Death strikes down someone close to you, it comes as a real shock. I felt the same when one of my best friends at college passed away.

January 20, 2007 4:45 PM  
Blogger Shivani said...

Why do u call urself a bastard? Were u a really mean person?

June 13, 2007 12:17 PM  
Blogger ReadnRyte said...

Sachin - Death reminds you about the fragile nature of our very existence.

Shivani - Not was just that when I was writing this, I was feeling really depressed about what happened to Sreedhar and I hadn't yet come to grips with understanding the fickle nature of existence.

I may have my faults...but I wouldn't say I am mean :)

June 13, 2007 1:02 PM  

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