Thursday, January 19, 2012

Obituary to a Dear Stranger

An old classmate and the friend of a friend passed away yesterday. He died of natural causes (although the exact reason has not been ascertained). He was all of 22 years old.
When I heard the terrible news I instinctively felt sorrow and pain at the news of his death. He'd been a brilliant student, extremely quiet but friendly if you tried to talk to him. Unfortunately, being a shy one myself, I never got to talk to him more than once.
After feeling the grief and pain for more than two hours, in an effort to shake off the sadness, I asked myself why I felt so sad for the passing away of a boy who was no more than a complete stranger. Just because I was witness to his intelligence or presence in the classroom does not mean I knew him any more than the crowd of faces I see every day when I walk along the road. Then why did I get affected so deeply and personally?
It was then that a realization dawned upon me. I had been saddened because, though I didn't know him personally, I had never seen anything wrong or bad about him. I'd seen a "good" human being in him. Someone who was a genius in his subject, yet modest and shy. I hadn't seen him as greedy or jealous or conniving or competitive - and I can't say the same for many of my other classmates. Unlike them, he'd seemed like one of those genuinely nice guys who live in their own abstract worlds, along with a few of their close friends. He was an aspiring professor. A brilliant and true student. A genuine person.
Thus, something about his appearance, his attitude and ambitions, to me, suggested that he was very good. I frankly don't believe there are any good people in this world these days - everyone is ever-darker shades of grey. But he seemed more innocent than the others, one of the lightest shades if I may so say.
God bless his soul.
May he rest in peace. I know I will always remember him.

PS: Another insight I gained from brooding over his death was:
1) I should make the most of my short life on this planet. Not waste time, not a single minute! Every minute should go towards happiness - be it my future career and hobbies, my family, my friendships and relationships, or sharing gyaan (Hindi: wisdom) on my blog. But NOT on crying over spilt milk or worrying about silly things that are out of my control (e.g. true love).
2) I should smile at more people and befriend more people... else I guess the only friends I have will be the extroverts who want to talk to me (who are great people and I love their company, but I should I also be talking to the ones who are too shy to come talk to me!)

PPS: I'm going to go off on a slightly absurd philosophical tangent here so please discontinue reading if you don't want to hear me rambling:
I also realised that there are are hundreds of faces I see every day, be it on the streets, in restaurants and cafes or in marketplaces and metros and buses. A series of blurs. Some strike you for a few minutes, some stand out (for looking very different) but over a few hours are eventually forgotten. Out of these - a very few people, due to repeated contact such as being your classmates or office colleagues or neighbours or regular traveling partners or friends of friends earn your trust, friendship and loyalty over time. But how you meet them is almost random. I think luck and destiny plays a huge role in selecting the people you get to know and who you don't. So all that talk of 6 billion people out there for you isn't really true. In a single lifetime, you may not encounter more than a hundred thousand - many of them randomly chosen for you by some wheel of fortune.

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