It was 21st of March, 2015. Exactly 11 days late my birthday. We lost a beautiful soul embodied in a handsome physicality of Mandar, a friend of the friendliest people I’ve ever known. I still distinctly remember when I first met him. I was with a mutual friend in the football field, when he came up to talk to that friend. And within minutes, we both were introduced to each other. Honestly, being a human born normally with no superpowers, I don’t remember the expressions, but guessing from the usual, he must’ve been calm and cheeky at the same time, blended with an innocent, friendly smirk. I never got the chance to explore him deep, but just swam near the surface.
So yes, a soulless body is turned to the ashes as dictated by various saints mya, which now has become a tradition, dictated in Hindu scriptures. Or let me embroider the words better – a body abandoned by its soul should be sent back to the heaven through smoke, and the remainder of ashes is offered to the running water, with a hope that it’ll be carried to the mystical land of God through paths unknown to us humans.
Same day, in the evening, my phone pinged. Facebook Messenger. There was a text on our friends’ group chat, regarding the mishap at Kerwa Dam. I knew a part of our group left for the dam as soon as the last Board examination scheduled on that day got over, to enjoy the time they never knew would be one’s last. We all thought it was a kind of joke, but after continuous calls and texts and information gathering, we got to know it was for real. Mandar was no more alive. A friend who was somehow saved was hospitalized. We left for Mandar’s house the very next moment we were sure all of it was happening for real.
On 22nd of March, 2016, everyone was gathered at his house. It was around 1 pm, quite dark. The gathering was the kind you’ll never want to experience in all your lives. It was mourning precisely. Every eye had tears, including the eyes which were absent from his house, bolted in their rooms, punishing themselves. Every body was shaking, sobbing. Those which were still, were nearing numbness. There were people blaming themselves, people wishing to turn the clock back, people desperate to make the lifeless body kept in the veranda to wake up to life, people regretting decisions, people calling out to God to exchange souls, people soothing people. The people I always saw smiling, fooling, rejoicing were so very melancholic that it all seemed surreal.
Like everyone else, I too was asked to offer flowers to his body, probably like a final Goodbye. I distinctly remember his expressions. He looked calm and cheeky at the same time. At peace? Or just resting, gearing up to bear the heat of pyre, which definitely must be cooler than the heat of surviving in the humongous world.
We all grew up that very day.
My Grand-dad told me that every human arrives in this beautiful hell to serve a purpose. Probably it was his role to mature us dumbasses in a day, and make our future brighter than what it would’ve been? Or was he here to test our commitment to friendships and brotherhood? Or maybe to make us realise how heavy a loss of life is?
Almost a year later, I was asked to ink something in remembrance of that soul. I gulped down a mug of strong coffee and worked on that white sheet. I could come up with nothing. Nothing seemed to perfectly explain the feelings. The reason was probably that love for him in every heart increased when he left the ground. No words, sewn in any pattern, could create the perfect image. But then, for my part of contribution, I had to try my best. It was challenging, but you be the judge now.
The Sun was embracing the deep blue waters.
Dimming, mellowing, with each elapsing moment.
Oh wait! The Sun seemed terrible, reluctant to leave.
As if it wanted to shine a fistful more. To illuminate any and every corner he could touch.
Was he asking for too much?
As if a king was being mercilessly dragged off his rightful throne.
To the deep, dark dungeons of nothingness.
Was he being treated as he should’ve?
Sigh! So was the rule of Nature.
Beautiful in its own sinister way.
The world now fell into the clutches of darkness.
The tyrant to whom they lost their Sun.
There was melancholy, depression everywhere.
People bolted their doors, deserting the streets, beaches, and valleys. Birds returned to their own little nests leaving the sky vacant and colourless. Even the mighty lions took to their dens.
What they couldn’t see was there wasn’t much time.
When the Sun will Rise, and win his royal throne again.
There’ll be light again, just hold tight.
There’ll be happiness again, with streets bustling with cycles and limos.
Birds will beautify the blue sky again. The lion will roar once more.
And don’t you worry, it’ll be the same Sun that’ll rise. The same zeal and positivity. The same enchanting ferocity.
Just close your eyes with a smile, keep warm, and let the night pass!