Some people are born to impact the lives of others, in a way that things are never the same again. These people can easily be assumed to have a gift, something which others don’t have; something which brings people closer rather than divide them. It is this gift that distinguishes these wonderful people from others. Usually, these people are ones that connect with people in a very sequential manner; a manner which others would assume to be the basic traits of an introvert, something which isn’t really true.
I have known many such people, and their thoughts and actions have made influenced me greatly. However, there has only been one person who has managed to make a difference in my approach; a person who, without much contact, managed to make an impact on the way I lead my life, much after any normal person could have. On this day twenty-one years ago, this person entered the realms of the known. Her name was Esha.
Even after her untimely departure, she managed to influence my thinking in a very effective manner. If it wasn’t for her, would I ever indulge myself in “The Overture”. I have mentioned so much, here on this blog, and in my tweets. The aftermath of “The Overture” notwithstanding, it should be understood that Esha deserves more credit than anyone else who played a role in planning the events that occurred between 24-27 July.
I must admit, that her demise left me in a state of disarray, coming out of which took a considerably long time. I probably haven’t come out of it completely, which is probably why this has been written in the first place. Wherever she is, I am quite sure that she’s watching, and watching closely. Her presence can be felt sometimes, and all I want to tell her is that she is sorely missed.
And yes, most important of all: HAPPY BIRTHDAY ESHA!
Esha Patel (8 January, 1989-20 June, 2009)
Remembering the departed- An Obituary
“It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. The act of dying is not of importance, it lasts so short a time.”
This piece is about two people- Esha and Hari, people who played a role in quite a major part of my life, in more ways than one, and whose sudden demise has left a huge gap that will obviously take a long time to fill. I came to know both of them around eleven years back, when we met at The Lawrence School, Lovedale. In Prep School i.e. from classes 4-6, all three of us were in the same section and also in the same house. Over the next three years, I got to see these two grow into two fine people; people who knew how to stand up for themselves at an age that people don’t usually associate with maturity. With this, they lived up to the tag of being Lawrencians. While Esha was the only girl prefect of our house, Hari was one of the three boy prefects. Esha’s leadership skills were at a level that could only be matched by a handful of her peers, arguably the more illustrious ones. Hari wasn’t exactly what you would call a born leader and what made him stand out was his controlled aggression, something because of which he was able to exercise adequate authority as a prefect. Even my father remembers that he was the one who gave them their stripes as he had chaired the swearing in ceremony for the Prep School prefects for our batch.
Esha and Hari were what one would call diametric opposites. Esha was someone who loved to express herself. This, she did through activities like debates, music, drama and art. She was very good at playing the piano and also has a certificate given by the Trinity College, London for this very hobby. She was an avid reader and was always with me as part of the house quiz and literary teams in Prep School. Hari, on the other hand, found his calling in sport. He excelled in almost every game he played as he captained the house in all sports while he was in Prep School. He was particularly good in basketball and cricket. When I met him last i.e. three years ago, he was training hard to get into the Tamilnadu state basketball team. Only when my house changed in Junior School i.e. classes 7-8, did I come to know why they were among the most respected opponents in their respective fields- it was because of the sheer effortlessness with which they went about doing whatever they were supposed to be doing.
There was this instance in early class 8, just before we had shifted to Junior School, when we had the Inter-house Mathematics Quiz in Prep School and I somehow made it to the house team despite my curious love-hate relationship with the subject. Esha was also with me on the team which consisted of four members. The last round of the quiz required a single member of the team to answer a set of questions without any help. As my knowledge of the subject was rather limited, the team had decided on sending Esha to the hot-seat. However, a person sitting in the audience was the one whose decision was finally counted. It was Hari. He wanted me to represent the house team in that round. Though we came second in that quiz, our house managed to get the highest points in that particular round. I later came to know that Hari had planned this move and had taken Esha into confidence long before the quiz had even begun! This display of confidence made me overlook the fact that our house had lost the first position in a quiz after a really long time.
Esha was someone who was always an integral part of my life. It is a pity that our closeness was later affected by barriers like distance and lack of regular communication after I left Lawrence. We tried everything to stay in touch but nothing seemed to work. In fact it was her who got me on to Facebook in the first place. Misunderstandings also played their part and we were reduced to just being civil to each other. My personal equation with her is something which I don’t wish to comment about right now as it certainly deserves more space. I can’t say that I was in touch with Hari either. I just met him once after leaving Lawrence and all that made us stay connected was Facebook. How much would they have changed in all these years? Did I lose the same Esha and Hari who were in my life for a considerable amount of time? These are questions to which I don’t think I can find answers, no matter how hard I try.
I am still in a state of shock, something which I don’t think I can get rid of anytime soon. All I know is that I shall pull through, eventually. I sincerely hope that the souls of the departed rest in peace and meet us in the afterlife or whatever people call it, and take us on a journey filled with memories, memories that are lost for lesser mortals like us, at least for now.
A section photograph taken at The Lawrence School, Lovedale. It was taken by the school photographer way back in 2001. It shows Class 7-A.
Hari, who passed away yesterday, is third from right on the top row while the greivously injured Fazal is fourth from the right i.e. he stands right next to Hari. Pranav Singal, whose condition was also stated to be critical is fourth from the left on the same row. Esha, who also passed away is the fourth girl from the right in the middle row.
May the departed rest in peace. And I hope the rest get better soon.
“When you lose someone you love, you die too, and you wait around for your body to catch up.”