Sunday, 19 August 2012

A car journey to remember

I hadn't met her for 35 years. After school, we went our own ways. Our leaving school was chaotic- we were not even supposed to leave that year, but the powers that be, changed the rules and packed us off to college. Literally overnight we had to run; for the town we were from had no college and we had to go to the big bad city. There was no time for goodbyes. No time for farewells. We simply ran.

Thirty five years later I got a call from another ex schoolmate giving me a number. She's at this number ; call her there, the friend said . I did  and discovered that she was in the same city as I am in. Fancy that - no contact for such a long time and then all of a sudden, here she was not more than 5 miles from where I lived. I called her and was delighted to find the same old voice of the days when we were school kids. We were planning for a reunion back in school in a month's time and would she come ?? She took literally 30 seconds to say yes. 

We drove down  together to our old town , a fair drive of some 7-8 hours and B joined us for the trip. The two ladies brought  all the old memories back and we marveled at both how time had flown by and yet how we were going to set the clock back for the next two days. We had a reunion that would stay in our minds forever and when it was time to come back, she and I were the last to leave. The heart was heavy and I don't think I would have survived that drive alone. But she was there and we fondly recalled every moment of the time we all had together. As we reached Bangalore, we promised to be in regular touch. I dropped her off at  her house, had a cup of coffee with her mother and reveled in the knowledge that we had been through something very special. That was the last I saw of her.

We kept in touch on the phone.  We knew that when any of our other mates happened to visit, we would probably get together again. But imagine my shock, when I got the dreaded call three days ago. It was from another mate who had somehow heard of the news. 

How does one reconcile with the passing away of a schoolmate with whom you had shared many a moment in school, lost touch for decades, rediscovered recently and had spent a magical time together. All you can do is reel in complete shock. This is not supposed to happen, is it ? School mates are eternal, aren't they ?

All I have is that magical car journey to remember you by.

Rest in peace my friend.

16 comments:

Shachi said...

Hugz, my dear friend! Thinking about this aspect of life sucks....big time :(!

My undergrad class was small....and we lost two classmates during the 4 years we were together. One to cancer, and one to an accident. It was painful!

sriram khe said...

That is terrible, Ramesh.

I am trying to recall as many of your JHSS batchmates as I can, and am drawing a blank for a girl whose name started with "B." ...

It was news of deaths (yes, in the plural) of two of my close friends from school that motivated me to re-connect with those who are alive.

J said...

I have no words for you to make you feel better because how can you feel better. It is a loss when a dear friend passes on and it is not fair. I am glad that you managed to meet her and spend the car ride reminiscing. At least you have that now. Imagine if you had discovered how close she lived just as you learnt the horrible news. It is the hard reminders like these that life is short that gets us out of our inertia to reconnect with friends that we may have lost touch with. Take care....

Anonymous said...

School mates ARE eternal...she, as a school mate, lives forever in your memory, doesnt see? But yes, it is hard to hear such news, very hard..

Vincy Joseph said...

When i was starting to read this post, never thought this had a such a sad ending. quite shocking.

Death always leaves a pain that no one can heal and when it is a dear friend, its even worse.

I know that no words of mine can comfort you; God and probably time only can do that; but I did come to say how deeply and tenderly I feel for you in your grief.

May the almighty see you through this period of affliction and may the memories of the car ride be with you to be cherished forever.

Prats said...

I never expected such a tragic end to this post.

May god bless peace for her soul, and strength for family & friends to cope with the loss.

Ramesh said...

@All - Thank you for your words of solace and comfort. Means a lot .....

Hema said...

Ahhh...thats so sad Ramesh. Yes, it is so hard to handle such news.
When it happens to schoolmates, it is so much more harder.
Take care.
May her soul rest in peace.

Asha said...

No words of comfort can console the loss of a friend especially a friend whom you associate with your childhood. May her soul rest in peace. Time is the best healer.

Deepa said...

Sorry to hear about you loss, Ramesh! May her soul rest in peace. My schoolmates mean a world to me. Though we all are in touch but this was a reminder to keep the 'hellos' flowing.

gils said...

!!hmmm..

Vishal said...

Feel sorry, Ramesh! Thoughts and prayers for your treasured friend. Take care...

Preeti said...

:(
:(
:(

Preeti Shenoy said...

Last comment was mine from a different id.

This is truly one of the times when you feel like shaking your fist at the Universe and screaming 'Why now? WHY'

Some losses are irreplaceable really.

Feel really bad to read this.

Swamy said...

Words can never replace a loss of such close ones. I had a very similar experience recently. On 23rd May, I attended a marriage in a small town called Rasipuram (this town I was told is the home town of RK Laxman & RK Narayan) near Salem and 35 Kms away from this town is a village called Mullukuruchi where one of my school friend came from. I know for sure his mother stays there and went in search of him. When I reached this village, somehow I found & reached his house and met his brother who lives there. I got the mobile no. and spoke to my friend as he was attending a marriage in another town. I was thrilled to speak to him so as he on that day. My search of this friend (who was a professor in Namakkal Govt Arts College) for three-four years finally ended and we were supposed to meet next time. That day evening (23rd May) I left for Bangalore and same evening while he was driving back home, met with an accident and died. When I heared this news, I was shocked and couldn't believe. The bonding of school mates are far more greater and really value them a lot.

Reflections said...

I'm so sorry Ramesh and can imagine your shock and sadness.
We were a group of 5 in college & still keep in touch. But one of us passed away a few yrs back & I still cant accept it. I cant even get myself to delete her numbers & address.

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