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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tribute to a friend who is no more

Christ Nagar School (Trivandrum) has undoubtedly been one of the best schools in my town from the past two decades. From an all boys' school to a co-education school, across streams and facilities, the school has grown from just another English medium school to a name to reckon with, all thanks to the good management in the past and the quality of education that they imparted to the students. I was one among the lucky ones to have done my schooling there. Which is why a part of me still resides there.

Reminiscing this incident that happened back in '95 was not difficult. It has always been one incident I would relive again and again just to feel the magic of that moment once again. From a local school where mother tongue was the medium of education to a giant school campus where all the slick kids spoke smart english, I was a loner for the first 2 months. I could not really bring myself to talk to anyone then for the sheer fear of having to talk in my horrible no-grammar English which would have led to heavy rebuking and sneers at that time. And no one seemed to want to talk to this kid from the local school who really looked like a duffer with oiled hair and a chubby glum face. There was one face among all of them that was always compassionate. He lived an age far ahead of his own times. He was always known for his genius. VISHRUTH V U, that was his name. A fair and lanky boy with a slightly serious face and demeanour but one who exuded confidence and compassion, thats who he was. He resembled Harry Potter a lot. And as you can gather by now, I never spoke to him because of my ever-dipping self confidence and lack of knowledge of the mysterious language. After 2 months of lonely schooling, I had begun complaining to my mother about how I hated my new school, of course I didn't know then that my parents had to pay through their nose to send me there. One morning, I got out of the school bus that stopped in front of the enormous school chapel. I trudged along with a heavy bag on my shoulders dreading another lonely day (not to count the girl whom I stole sidelong glances at from time to time). I felt a hand on my shoulder. Vishruth!

Vish: Hey.. I am Vishruth. Your good name?
Me: Name? Gautam.
Vish: Nice meeting you. I am new to this town. Athu kondu ithu vare used aayittila.(So not yet used to the place)
Me: Ohhhh.... so you know Malayalam?? Wow!!! You don't look like a Malayalee.
Vish:  I am only part Malayalee. I was brought up outside Kerala all my life.

That conversation went on for another 5 minutes till we reached the school assembly for morning prayers. After that, he always stuck out for me when people left me alone, walked along with me after school, had lunch with me, played with me, laughed with me. It was all a dream. And a reason for bafflement for most of my schoolmates for the sheer fact that they could not accept a world-class genius being friends with a duffer local-school kid. But Vishruth never seemed to mind. I used to speak to my mother at length about his genius and his looks (which inspired many a jealous look from most of the boys).

It all went hazy after that. We reached 8th standard. The famous 8th standard where we learnt what life, love and friendship were. Vishruth's reputation was growing each day in school. Celebrated debator, elecutionist, speaker, artist.. he was all over the place. And his growth unanimously inspired awe and not an iota of jealousy in anyone. And I, more that anyone, was happy for this friend of mine. Inside my heart, I had cherished the good old days with him when he was my only friend, when the school genius was MY friend. During busy schedules of elocution and debates, he still found time to catch up with me and I remember my chest swelling with pride just because he used to talk to me. After all I was just one among the below-average students of my batch.

Time flew.

One morning in 2003, I got a call announcing a suicide. Vishruth had taken the extreme step. I held on to the phone still trying to absorb the gravity of the news that was just delivered. I could not move. My legs froze, my heart skipped a beat. "Vishruth..????????????", I screamed through the phone. Silent muffled sobs escaped my mouth. Before I could control it, I fell on to my mother's lap and cried till I could cry no more. Even she had grown fond of this boy whom she had never seen. A drop of tear fell from her eyes too. I could not believe it. Why would he do it? I was told later. Vishruth had shifted residence to Mumbai where he had to pass through slums to reach the plush apartment where he lived. He saw stark poverty around him day after day and the cancer of depression started gnawing into this heart. He considered himself to be "undeservingly lucky" in a world where poverty and starvation danced around naked. He hanged himself!

If he was alive today, he would have probably graduated from an IIT and then an IIM, probably a Stanford even. Such was his genius, his talent, his compassion and nature. A true gem. He may even have re-written the future of our country if he were to live now. With mobile phones and Facebook, the world would have known Vishruth and celebrated him.

More than anything, I would still have had a friend who walked with me when I had no one.

Vishruth - your presence is always felt in my heart, my friend. There will be no one else like you, ever!

15 comments:

FreeBird said...

He was a fledgling legend. Proud to have studied and competed with him. Will always cherish those great days.

Red Handed said...

People take extreme steps and they have no control over their thoughts.
I pray for his soul.
RIP
You stay happy forever
I have nothing else to say..Blank

Musings of a Troubled Mind said...

Thanks Red

SeĐĆendipity™ said...

I left a gift for you at my latest post :)

Musings of a Troubled Mind said...

Thank you Serendipity :)

Menachery said...

I know that feeling, i lost a dear friend of mine some years back, and i dnt know whether life would go on for me, but she always wanted it to be"hawwpenningly saaaweet" (her words).. your post reminded me of her. Aren't we all lucky to have had the company of certain people in our lives, who leave such a n impact that no matter what they still live on ...

Musings of a Troubled Mind said...

@Menachery - Yes, they live through our hearts :)

sriramgovind90 said...

Hey, I'm a junior of yours in school. For some reason, some memory of Vishruth chettan came to my mind and I decided to google him up, assuming that he must've accomplished a few search results in the few years that he graced this world. This came up as the first result. Thank you for this. I don't think I've had even 10 conversations with him in toto, but he was always the school genius you looked up to. Thanks for helping me remember him :)

Musings of a Troubled Mind said...

thanks Sreegovind

S.Pillai said...

Hi, very surprised to see somone writing abt vishruth, i thought he was long lost in the memory of ppl who knew him. Yz u right, he would have made it great if he was ali parenta of everychild wabted a small vishruth out of them. Quite hert achening to see his story yr. Old resident of nabard qrts and friend..

Musings of a Troubled Mind said...

@S. Pillai - Would know any detail about his parents?

Vrinda said...

...

Anonymous said...

This made me cry.

L said...

Hi, I knew Vishruth too. I was your senior in school. There was a standing joke among us that Vishruth used to read Quantum Physics as bed time stories... He was such a nice guy. I was really fond of him.. Since we were in the same House, I really saw a lot of him. It was Anand Sir who told me about what happened to him. I had gone to his house for an errand and he asked me, "Did you know about Vishruth?" And there it was.... I will never forget the day...

Anonymous said...

Dear Gautam,
I am really moved by your tribute.
please contact me at vilasdr@yahoo.com