This probably is a very late eulogy. This also means, it took me that long to find the nerve to put together words without breaking down or loosing my composure.
So here goes the story of two little friends who “are” brothers (from two close families) for a lifetime.
I was almost a year old when he arrived (Hari Krishnan, referred to as Kichus from here on).
We both grew up sharing toys, getting new dresses together for Onam, buying crackers together for Vishu, fighting for penalties and 6s (and ofcz making amends the very next day).
I took for granted that this kid is going to be with me forever, see me graduate high school, class 10th, class 12th, see me become an Engineer. But destiny as we call it had other plans.
Kichu was diagnosed with Blood Cancer at the age of 16.
Little did we know that, we started losing each other way before he even turned 16.
Let me tell you how I remained helpless while everything around me pulled me down into a rabbit hole.
I was off for school that morning, to attend my last half-yearly exam. Something was off that day from the time I woke up. My mom was acting weird and she was in a hurry to push me off for school. Given this was my exams, I felt this urge was justified. So I walk away from the gate and I could see my mom peeking through the kitchen window, making sure I was not being stopped by anyone to tell me what had happened. I somehow reach the bus-stop, and the bus that comes on time everyday, was no where to be seen.
I could see my mom outside my house now, with those extended neck looking out for me, checking if I safely got into the bus. At this point I knew something wasn’t right. We all knew Kichu wasn’t gonna make it, coz I saw him a month before this day.
He had his fare share of chemo done by then, and had lost all his hair. It was hard for me to face him and look him in the eyes that was searching for a bit of hope, coz he knew it all the way.
How did he know you may ask.
Coz he had seen his elder sister take the same path to death when he was probably 6.
Every time I saw him, he was holding on to that smile making sure his mom never saw him suffer the pain he had within. Kichu was strong and he asked me to be strong alongside him and keep my shit together.
He wanted to do so much thing, and he had very little time.
We started swimming lessons, we went for painting class, he got himself a gaming PC and we played NFS all day or till he was tired.
He couldn’t play any more for his heart was weak, but he watched me score goals. Even when he was cheering from the sidelines, I was hoping for that one day when I could celebrate another goal with him.
So the bus finally arrived and I am off for school. Mom is relieved for the time being.
I write my exam, thinking about what had happened in the morning. I walk back home in the afternoon, and I open the front door.
I could see my mom had cried the whole day, and her eyes were so red and dry. I could see my grandma numb and looking at me with those helpless eyes.
Mom finally said: “ശ്രീ, നമ്മടെ കിച്ചു പോയെടാ / Kichu is no longer with us”
I don’t remember anything but just one answer. I asked mom if she was hiding this from me in the morning.
I felt so much anger and pain, I wanted to smash the front window glass. I went straight to my room upstairs, shut the door from behind, grabbed a pillow, and bit it like an angry dog and screamed for a long time as far as I can remember.
I had to be strong.
How can I be strong, when I hear the friend I thought I had for a lifetime, had gone away for ever.
How can I be strong when the last image of him I had in my head was of the kid who hoped to live a healthy funny life.
How can I be strong when I could not even say a final goodbye. I couldn’t even see his body for one last time.
Days, weeks, and months pass by. I wanted to accept the reality, but till this very day, I wake up on most days empty and have all these thoughts about how we grew up as brothers.
Chemistry paper was out after valuation, and I still remember the then chemistry teacher asking me in-front of the whole class about what was wrong with me. She wasn’t expecting me to do this poorly in the exam for she knew my mom who also happens to teach the same subject.
As much as I wanted to shout to the whole class that I just lost my best friend, I kept quite with my head down. I felt so much pain that day, that I tore up the answer paper and threw it away on my way back home. I don’t think any of my classmates knew about the whole Kichu scene.
I was scared to talk about it and have only told this to a close friend of mine, once. I am still scared and it hurts hell to write this draft, which I don’t know if I would be able to publish.
Almost 10 years have gone by, and when I look back at my childhood, at least I can still picture the little kid with a bright smile who always had my back.
This is a Eulogy for you buddy:
You have shown me the courage to fight with hope. You are my brother, I miss you very badly and I’ll always carry you with me. I wish you could see me now. I wasn’t ready for you to go yet, but you left me with no other choice. Growing up into adulthood without you was hard, and am still finding it hard to believe its been 10 years since you left.
I feel so proud and honored to have shared the kind of brotherhood and love we had for each other for 16 years, but how I wish I could get more of those.
I know you tried hard and I understand why you had to give up. I know you faked a lot of smile towards the end but I know you did it for a reason. If something life has taught me from all that you went through, its that “there are some people who always find reason to make others happy, even when they know that they are dying”. I don’t really believe in after life and stuff. For all the people who know me, should now know why I gave up on the concept of God, for God wasn’t there when I needed. I don’t trust someone who doesn’t show up when you need them to. So God for me died with Kichu.
Love you, my brother.
NB. This post is for remembering my friend and also to help me let some of the longing feeling of pain and heavy heart. This post doesn’t really tell half the pain I still have and I could never write something that does. For people who have been in my shoes or are currently in it, please find that strength by holding on to good memories with the ones you lost.