“Friends never say Goodbye”
Heard this wonderful song by Elton John yesterday. And today just as I was about to participate in the ritual of studying, a thought occurred to me. I wanted to devote a post to a friends with whom in-spite of my best efforts I lost touch. He is a wonderful person, who came into my life at a very young age and enriched it with a lingering fragrance. Something that can still be smelled on a quite Sunday evening or when day dreaming sitting on a beach in placidity.
‘Sishir’ studied with me from Kindergarten to grade four. He wasn’t too good in Hindi, which was expected considering the fact that he was the son of a Portuguese diplomat. There was something very elegant about him. Never the one to get into any fight, always polite and courteous even at that nascent an age. He was always around to share your sorrow, whether it was punishment for forgetting your class notebook or whether it was dropping your Tiffin case, in which case he was most insistent to share his with his unfortunate friend.
You could alm ost feel the pain when Miss Chandra, the rude and imprudent class teacher of grade 1 (class one) would hammer away a wooden ruler at his palm for not being able to perform in hindi which was utmost ‘ridiculous’ according to her. I still remember the vicious anger that seethed in me with the appearance of quiet dew in sishir’s eyes. He winced but didnot scream or cry, which just made the teacher more ferocious in her efforts to punish the ‘defaulter’.
As I recall this incident, I get an overwhelming nauseatic feeling because inevitably at some other elite school in elite cities like Delhi/Mumbai today some psychologically unfit person would be repeating a similar act thinking that he/she has done a fine job of the responsibilities bestowed. So much for our ‘Education System’, something every truly Educated Indian should be ashamed of.
It was not on the last but one day before the onset of final examinations of grade 4 (class 4) and the gracious and kind Uma Sirkar asked Sishir to go and get her a glass of water. As soon had Sishir quietly went to get the serving, she called the class to attention. She said, and I clearly remember, “My Boys, your friend Sishir would be leaving us after the exams. Let’s give him a farewell Gift. I want you all to get Rs. 10 tomorrow and we will give a small
gift and a card”. I was stunned!
The next day after Tiffin break, as we sat just in front of the assembly stairs waiting for the last two minutes to pass before we will be hushed back to class, he was fondling with the gift. I asked him what it contained, and he quietly replied, ‘Let’s find out’. And with that he went about undressing the gift, as nicely as possible (I noticed this because I was quite rowdy when it came to tearing open gift wrappers to revealing the gift, but here was my friend as calm as a tulip ..).
It was a Mug from Archies with the message “We will Miss You”. We were both too young or too un ‘refined’ to express out our feelings at that point of time (thankfully, else we would have the so clichéd ritual of ‘vote of thanks’ as is common in the corporate world), but I saw tears streaming down his eyes. I distinctly remember that I was so shocked and in so
much in grief that tears failed me.
That was the last I remember of my friend. Indeed, I have never again met a person so wonderful and so nice in the rest of my life.
The words of this song came echoing back to my ears
Suddenly that isn’t true
There’s another avenue
Beckoning, the great divide
I would choose
The same joy the same sadness each step of
That fought me and taught me that friends never say Goodbye
Never say goodbye
(This Post is Dedicated to dear Sishir, wherever he is… So Long my Friend!)