Today I got the news of yet another friend, roughly my age, die of a heart attack. I mean, so many deaths in last one or two years, like heart attacks were being sold over the counter. Buy one, get one free.
No amount of philosophical thinking prepares you for any death, let alone of the one you’ve known at some stage in life. People come close, become friends, part, never remain in touch, and so on, but they do remain on the back of your mind to be brought to the fore once in a while. Some will be remembered more than the others. Memories of some will leave you with pangs of of guilt while some will leave you in tears. Some will bring back beautiful memories while some will be talked about out of humanity. None will make you happy even if you ended with them on a bad note. There will be that one good thing they did you’ll remember that will moisten your eyes. And all you will ever remember after that day is that one admirable thing they did.
Why don’t we remember that one good thing when they are alive so we can continue to live a fulfilled life in their company, physical or not?
Ego? Hatred? Disgust? Arrogance? Pride? Disinterest? Indifference? Not thought or reflected upon their one virtue over their negatives? Or simply got too busy in life to remember them?
My personal take is… All of the above in different degrees.
My friend who died had shared with me her half eaten apple once when I was shunned from the group of bitchy girls when wanting to join them in Kabbaddi. We later separated after, supposedly, she snitched on me to the teacher. I was given a detention to remain outside the classroom. Very embarrassing experience that was. Other kids made fun of me. She never owned up to snitching.
Years later I realised that the bitchy lot probably lied to me. Why did I not give my friend benefit of the doubt? But I was only a kid myself. Maybe I could have called her after that to tell her that I believed she was wrongly accused. To make peace with her. To tell that I believed her now. But life had moved on by then. People usually don’t go back to those they left behind.
If you can hear me now, Arry, please know that I know you didn’t do it. That I valued you as my friend. But I was only a kid and couldn’t understand why other children the same age would lie. I didn’t know people can lie. I didn’t know lying was even a concept. My mother only taught me to be truthful. “Honesty” has been her buzzword. I wrongly believed all mothers taught their kids that. With the same honesty that I grew up learning, I say that you will be remembered fondly for doing, among other things, that one good thing for me, sharing of your jhootha apple, cementing in my memory, your kindness. RIP, darling.