The time had stopped in this house. The hands on the clocks were turning, the seconds were passing but the time had lost its significance. The walls, air, furniture, the gate knew it wont be the same again and in a way it will be the same forever, just like the way he left everything, the way everything was when he last looked at it. In that place everything had a soul. In that place he was still alive. Moving anything was to create a proof of his not being here, his being dead.
Some journeys are hard to make. It was with great courage, mostly thanks to Nanha, that I went see Dhupar’s parents sometime back. Since the phone call we received about his accident I had known that I will have to face and, if possible, answer these two persons someday. This journey would be among the most difficult ones.
Even if there was a sound outside or inside the sounds didn’t reach us. There was a sense of fear and a kind of shame deep inside me as we stepped in that house. Afraid for everyone there and ashamed, for I knew I will not be honest with these two people I should be.
They had lived their lives it seemed. I could see two persons hung between the real and the world where they still had two sons. They were as old as they could ever be and yet they still seemed the same as they were when they had lunch in the mess of Aravali many years back. Only the link to Aravali was missing.
Over the conversation I tried not to break down and tried not to admit the things which his parents knew were true but wanted to hear from me or from anyone who was there with him in those last moments. They were still trying to justify the unjustifiable. They were trying to give a reason to why their son was gone. Was he drunk? How much? Was he himself responsible for his death? Has he gone before his time was due? Or was he just simple plain unlucky and was destined to live only such a short time? Were we his friends so careless to let him drive if he was that drunk? Didn’t we realize that he should be stopped? Was it his mistake? Was it the other driver’s mistake? Was it a mistake at all? There was anger in the questions and I could feel the anguish and agony and pain in those eyes and hearts.
We recounted the events of that day for them, as if that will make it all seem more real. For my part I tried not to say that yes he was drunk, yes I knew he was drunk, yes it didn’t occurred to me that he will leave us that night, yes it wasn’t the first time I have seen him drunk and then drive (mostly safely), yes it was beyond me to think what was going to happen would be the events that happened. I could not give them the answers they wanted to hear from me, I could not speak.
Life moves on. Things change, events happen, time moves on and the important becomes insignificant and the very insignificant becomes the truth that we live with but for most part of it we keep playing our part as the drama keeps unfolding. However, certain events stay there in the memory as they happened, neither important nor insignificant. The scale and magnitude of life and death hanging at a perfect imbalance and that’s the way we remember what passed in those moments of our lives.
Rushing from office to home to airport, buying the earliest available ticket, jumping into a car full of friends at the other airport, the ride, the mountain peaks, the long trek, the Independence Day, the meeting with friends, the get together, all lead to the moment when the sanity, sensibility, the meaning, plans, aspirations, dreams all lost there meaning forever, for some.
Tera Yaar Bolda and many other numbers bring a smile and a remembrance of the energy which surrounded these songs in his company. The one time lift from Kailash to Insti and he getting red all over on the mention of that name. The so very smart dumb of our dumb charades.
The dead look serene, unaware of the mayhem around, carelessly beautiful. Ugly did. Radiating a kind of calm, trying to sooth the nerves of all the shaken souls around him. After his passing there had been many more daru parties and there will be many more but I some times wonder how many times we friends have raised a glass for him or how many times we will. How many times we will remember what his presence meant or if we ever feel his absence. If we ever look up at the sky and say ‘Hey dude’.
Road goes ever on an on…
Pursuing it with eager feet…
Pursuing it with weary feet…
And whither then I cannot say.
Whither where? Of all of us only Ugly knows.
Written a year back...