My neighbours had gone for a drive to the Gateway of India on New Year’s Eve. It was a trip down memory lane for them. But they felt as if everything had changed after the 26/11 attacks.
Now, my neighbours also happen to be my old college friends. We had studied together in Elphinstone College and spent many happy moments together. So, the Gateway held a special place in our hearts. We would bunk class often and hang out at the Gateway. At times, we would go there for a brief walk during a free period. Suddenly, I had a great desire to visit the Gateway again. It was over 50 years since I had finished college. It was a nostalgic moment when I set my eyes on the stone structure.
Suddenly, I spotted a man sitting near the Gateway and gazing at the Taj Mahal hotel. He seemed to be lost in his own world. But his face seemed very familiar. I stopped to have a closer look at him. Suddenly it struck me that he was my college classmate, Redkar. I was thrilled. But I stopped in my tracks when I noticed that he was crying.
I put my arm on his shoulder. He recognised me. I asked him what the matter was. He told me that his only son had died in the recent terror attacks. He had gone to the Taj to attend a business meeting. Redkar was angry and frustrated.
He was inconsolable. I kept in touch with him after that. At times, I would drop in at his place or at speak to him over the phone. One day, I was told that he had died in his sleep. Life is so strange. Just when I had reconnected with an old friend, he was gone.