This week of April has been etched in my memory with the most painful memories ever. Losing someone very dear to you is disheartening. Losing two is traumatic. Eighth April marks the first death anniversary of my grandmother. Twelfth is that of my childhood friend John.
The best of my growing years were spent in Goa with grandma and lots of friends. John was one of them. Since I was the eldest grandchild in the family I always garnered maximum love and affection from granny. A lot of it was evident during my vacations there. Especially when I indulged in alcohol at a tender age. I would come home in the wee hours. She would always shield me from my mom, dad, aunties and uncles in the joint household. She would even cook for me the next morning.
My staple Goan diet consisted of fish and she would buy the best catch for me. During Christmas, the entire clan would go on vacation leaving behind just granny and me at home. She would always wait for me in the verandah no matter how late I came home.
She was bedridden for more than a year due to illness and old age. I wasn't even there by her bedside when she breathed her last.
As for John, he was my best friend. He was always a part of our gang during my late night jamborees. Some nights it would be just him and me sitting on the parapet of Babush's bar cum shop, with our daily dose of feni. We would discuss everything under the starry sky. Another friend Peter would join us midway.. around 1 am with fish and chicken starters. One of the wackiest nights ever was during Christmas eve a few years back.
Having a blast
We were partying since afternoon. Our car was parked on the road that led to the church. The entire village was headed for midnight mass dressed in the best of three-piece suits, saris and gowns. We too were scheduled to go for mass. The partying had started a bit too early. John, Nicholas, Sandeep and me were grooving to loud music that was blasting out of the car stereo. Onlookers were in shock. None of us cared what people thought or said.. it was Yuletide.
We did go for mass thereafter. John died in a tragic bike accident. I was in the pillion and got to know of his death when I got back to Bombay last year. I vaguely remember the details.. as I had sustained injuries on my head too.
Can't move on I am still reeling under the trauma. So much so that I'm not even attending their year end services. Just not prepared for it. But their memories live on. So do they.. in my heart and in my words.