One of my childhood friends father passed away on Friday and he’s not only my friend’s father but a long time neighbor and family friends whose relationship were grown from my grandparents generation. Karthi and Vela are our (me and bro) best childhood friends and our friendship lasted for very long time but only Karthi was in touch with me and even after we shifted our home a decade back we used to enquire every time meeting either. But after shifted back to the neighborhood (close to our native house here) a year back, I happen to meet him often while coming around the neighborhood in the wheelchair by evenings, and I also meet his father while crossing his home where he used to be reading newspaper sitting outside his home. I can’t believe he’s no more! Even few days before his death, he inquired me on walk – what they refer me to be out in wheelchair and he showed no sign of demise. A severe cardiac arrest, all of sudden, ceased his breath.
To describe our relationship, I need to go back to the childhood days and back from school most of our evenings were spent at their home front (which was at our backstreet), playing with our best friends – Karthi and Vela. During those times he used to come back from work, pedalling his bicycle but we continue engage with the play and I showed little or no attention towards him unlike his bike. He was working in a private company and his only mode of commute to work was in bicycle, the traditional one aka utility bicycle. A classmate of my uncle (dad’s brother), he’s a very family man and irrelevant to anything outside his family and showed great care for his children and though economically backward he was more concern about their studies and health. For any ailment he would take them to the ESI (Employees’ State Insurance) hospital, which is a self-financing social security and health insurance scheme for Indian workers with less income. Placing one in front and back, he used to pedal them to the hospital. The way he fed his son with cough syrup is still vivid in my memories J
His elder son and my friend Vela is a very intelligent student and so bright in studies. I have seen him even correcting his classmates’ exam notes that were given to him by their school teacher and he was such genuine in his assignment showing no favor to anyone even if they are his close friends. Being family friends, his father treated us no different and we even had fun playing at their bed room, jumping here and there and he never scold us anyone. One time, he took me to beach along with his sons in the bicycle; putting his younger one in the baby seat in front; me and Vela shared the rear carrier. We had fun playing at the beach sand and the duo went against the waves to take bath in sea and a scare being, I decided to stay back in shore taking care of their things while they enjoy the waves. Anytime he sees me, he never fails to enquire and also tease me sometime with nothing ill inside. Moreover, I ever seen him serious and an easy going personality really makes me wonder what cause him heart attack. I know a person’s attitude doesn’t expose on his health but ignorance plays an important role and being unaware of the causes and symptoms of heart attack pull us into trouble that leads to nothing but death.
I know he has experienced mild stroke in past that forced him to drop his security job, after the company he worked was shut down or he left the job. The only complaint or disappoint I hold for him was that he stayed away from his mother due to some personal regrets related to their transformation from thatched house to a concrete floor. I have watched through their building home and destruction of the former, but my connectivity with the friends (Karthi and Vela) and visit to their house has diminished slowly as my mobility become restricted, the diversion in lifestyle brought each ends loose and tied somewhere. But shifting back to the native neighborhood makes me feel of reconnecting and creates chances to keep in touch… but I didn’t expect this disconnection from him quite. I really forget to say about his wife, who has been a great support to their family not only by love and affection and caring but also economically she aided by grinding flours to others who can’t do themselves at their home. Hope his family and my friends gather strength to bear his lose.