chanu... as i would often call him to irritate him.... was not a boy... was not a teenager.. he was a man! i was in class 9 when i met him first!! he was the first to ever tell me on my face that i was very judgemental! there began our friendship... i hated his guts for having said that... he wasnt too fond of me either!!he was a genius.. i was average!! he was my co-captain and we didnt get along at all!! forced to spend a whole lot of time with him.. i wasnt very excited bout it!! im guessing he wasnt either!! but i got to know him... and i found a friend, a gem and a fighter!! there i found a friendship... that could never be topped... there i found a friend...whom i could always depend on!!
it was a normal summers day when he called!! he was his usual self.. laughing and joking... but then his voice got a lil bit serious... he told me he was suffering from blood cancer! and that he was in the hospital!! i pestered him for details and promised to visit him with tons of books(stories)! i kept my promise! i went to see him... he looked drained but the smile was still on! he fought and fought... in the process losing all his hair! he laughed that off too! he returned to school but made frequent visits to the hospital!! his bald head some ppl made fun off... somehow it never bothered him! he was strong... i admired him and his strength and wanted to be just like him! he had a heart of gold... a natural genius.... everyones friend!!! he had a girlfriend whom he loved so! he thought with his heart... he made every desicion from there!! he was the sweetest person i had ever met! and he called me the sweetest person! he was modesty personified! no airs... zilch! he had a vocab better than most ppl! he had manners of a gentleman!!
by the end of the school year... he studied and fought the disease hand in hand!!! and came out with outstanding results in both!!! got 90% and his body regained the stability needed!!
he enrolled in a top college... and they had huge expectations from him!!! he broke every barrier and came out always as a winner! he was studying hard... in college for over 10 hrs... but still found the time to call and drop a hi! he was something!!! the last barrier... the boards! we were all nervous!! his modesty hid the fact that he had outdone everyone!! but when the results came.. none of us were fooled!! he topped the state!! he was a hero yet again!! he was literally worshipped in his college! all along... not knowing his body was losing it again!! he was not surprised when he had a relapse! but i was!! i was shattered!!! but not for one second did i think he wouldnt fight it again... not for one second did i think he wouldnt come out as winner yet again!!! but this time it was a long road!! he fought and fought!! did everything there was... everything he could!! allopathy,chemo,ayurvedic,homeo... he tried one.. tried all!!! but somehow nothing seemed to be working!!
there was one last hope... bone marrow transplant! for that he needed an exact match... he was hospitalised for 2 months!! he was depressed... he didnt like it in there... he wanted to be home!! they searched for a match.... unfortunately they didnt find one! he came back home... lived at home... but was still under medication! he was regaining his strength... i was delighted he was!! he never lost hope! but deep down he had accepted his fate... long before any of us had!!
the night before diwali... i got a call... at nearly 12.. informing me of his death!!! i was shocked... i couldnt even cry!! as the night went on... i barely slept... i broke down and cried myself to sleep!!! i prayed for his soul!! as morn came i made calls inquiring bout his funeral. i wanted to attend it... i needed to attend it!seeing him eased things a bit... he looked at peace! i was in a way happy... he didnt deserve to suffer... he deserved all the riches and all the happiness in the world! he gave me more than i guess he ever realised! i love him! his memories.. his thoughts... his values ... his virtues.. everything will always be with me! he will always be with me! my first true friend! my hero! my idol!
i didnt want to write this before... i wasnt ready!! now i am! im grateful i was touched by him.... im grateful i have him in my life!!! more than anything else im grateful for all the times he gave me strength... for all the times he told me i was the sweetest... for all the times he was there when i needed a friend!! he made me a better person!! he made this world a better place!! i have to find solace in the fact that his mission on earth was over!! whatever happens i will always love him... and hold him close to my heart... for now and forever!