“The comfort of having a friend may be taken away, but not that of having had one”.

The kind of friend everyone should have!

It has been a month since I lost you, Sap, and not a single day has gone by without your thoughts. Even today I am not sure if it all happened for real or if it is just a bad dream that I am yet to be woken up from.

We meet so many people throughout our life and only few will come close to our heart while many remain strangers or just as accomplices. I want to share some of the memories about you through this…hopefully not sad but cherishing the good times we have had because I continue to believe that you are part of my life still irrespective of where you are. Many might talk or have somewhat similar experiences or stories to tell when they talk about you. But I consider myself close to you for having spent so much time doing all the things we did together.

Those who are close to me already know about you Sap. And those who don’t know much, they can all identify you from most of the pictures I share online. So those who do not know her much, here is a short introduction of who she was.

Where it all began:

I met Sapna 16 years ago at Digital EC office. Though I don’t recall the exact first interaction, one incident has remained fresh in my memory. After a conference call with my manager and some heated conversation, I walked out of the room with tears. I was new in the team and barely knew anyone, Sapna walked to me and extended a friendly comfort without any hesitation…She consoled me and made me feel better within few minutes. She was my senior and I had an assumption that she is very strict, and rude. So I had maintained my distance with her even after that incident. I was scared to be lenient and didn’t want to take her friendship for granted. It took couple of years to understand her and get close to her. As much as she appears strong, brazen, and aggressive once you get to know her, you will realize she is very sensitive, funny, caring, sweet, and a great friend.

We were probably the only Kannada speaking folks in the team and would get warning from the manager for making noise at work. Wherever Sap (as we fondly called her) was, there was always laughter echoing there. She had no inhibitions towards friendships. She treated everyone with utmost love, and care in her own way. Everyone knew her and she was the most favourite person in the office. It was her and Reva, who gave me my nick name Vids and ever since most of my friends know me as Vids.

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When we had team outing or parties or celebrations, she would join hands with me in conducting or participating in it by making it more joyous. She was not a singer but would always sing a song so heartily that none can stop cheering for her. Her love for motorbikes was amusing to me…especially she didn’t even know how to ride a bicycle. I had told her many times I can teach her both bicycle and scooty, but she had declined the offer. She had told me, “Vids, imagine without that I roam so much. If I start driving, then god save people.”

Do it all before its time

No one had patience like her…she would change 2 buses, travel long distances just to play shuttle for an hour with friends for months. If you have invited her (or at times even intimated) she would be there for the wedding or any celebration you have.

Through the years, struggles and hardships of life, I and Sapna got much closer and she was like my sister, friend, partner in crime, and at times a kid that I had to manage. Sapna was a live wire, always enthusiastic, adventurous, doing things that no one could dare to.

“If I can sum her up, she was full of life, love and laughter”.

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She would bake a cake and celebrate our birthdays at her home, volunteer first always for any social cause, lend a shoulder as a good friend at our difficult times, be a cheerleader and make us all be happy when around her. I have been with her on her many birthdays, however one that I fondly remember is her 40th birthday. We celebrated it in Kerala while we were on a trip with her and my family.

I will be indebted to her generosity on so many occasions. For my milestone birthday, my only desire was to travel to Ladakh. It would not have happened if it wasn’t for her. Knowing I was losing my job and tight on finances, she and Vij offered to pay for the expenses as she didn’t want me to miss knowing it was me who had initiated that trip.sap3.jpg

She stood by my side when I was going through the most difficult of my times. She would always call me and ask me to come home when I was fighting with depression. She was like a big sister who cared for my welfare and advice on certain things without making me feel bad. I can quote so many instances that I have shared with her that are special to me. Now looking back at all those makes me realize why I took this long to tell her how much she meant to me. Sap, I am sorry I couldn’t tell you earlier.

When I met with the accident last year, she came running and would frequently visit me home through my recovery days. She was not big on going to temples or believing in the prayers, in fact as far as I knew her, she wouldn’t even light the lamp. But she went to Anantha Padmanabha temple in Mangaluru and prayed for my fast recovery. She came home and told me, “Vids, I went to temple and prayed…Just for YOU”. Probably it was her prayer that I was back on my feet much earlier than expected. She had kept all the pictures of my feet through the recovery process.

Whenever she would get bored or if she had not traveled anywhere for some time, she would call me and tell, we should plan something. I remember clearly, when she was 8 months pregnant with Aditri, she was bored and wanted to come to my home for a night out. I picked her up on my bike from bus stop, she, Reva and I spent the day at my home and next day I dropped her back. I got scolding from both her mom and mine because we were crazy to do that while she was in her last trimester. She owed me one weekend stay and Goa trip. I had booked twice in the last 2 months but she had cancelled on me quoting some reason. We were supposed to go visit another friend in Goa end of May or June.

“Sap, this is not fair. You owe me the holiday you promised!”

I introduced her to marathons, Youth for Seva and treks too. Though I never trekked with her, it was my talks and plans that inspired her to go on them. Despite the fact that she kept herself busy round the clock, she never let it impact her family time or her responsibilities. She was not a typical mother that we all grew up with. She would treat her kids at times like friends and she would become a kid among them. I remember once she sent me a picture of Aditri crying under the sofa as she couldn’t get out. I was laughing and telling Sap that instead of taking the daughter out you are taking a picture. She would dress them up and take lot of pictures. While Srishti is so much like Anand, Aditri is like Sap. I so wish them strength to bear her absence and move on to be great kids. Anand and Sap were match made in heaven, though they were poles apart as individuals, they shared a great chemistry and understood each other. He let her be the person she was meant to be. She once told me that she doesn’t need to visit temple because Anand is her god and everything for her. As long as he is there she doesn’t need to worry about anything. I am sorry Anand, I cannot even imagine what you are going through. I can only pray to god to give you strength to bear her loss and be there for the kids.

Sap was a great host. I used to tease her that your home is like a dharmachathra…there is always someone visiting. I have never heard or seen her make faces or feel angry or frustrated over it. She would invite everyone home and cook for them. While she would cook so much, she wouldn’t normally wait for them to eat together…Since she would eat in small portions, as soon as she would cook, she would eat and then feed the guests. She was always experimenting in the kitchen and would tell me about the dish whenever she tried something new.

To me she was a superwoman, who managed everything – her family, friends, career, interests, and hobbies without any trouble. She was an epitome of enthusiasm and her love for living life to the fullest is always admired by many.

Thank you isn’t enough for the memories

If I have to write about all the things we did together or the memories I have of her, it will run into hundreds of pages. We have been on umpteen trips together, done tons of shopping, roamed entire Jayanagar like thousands of times, seen so many movies together, and had many night outs. The bench in Jayanagar 4th block where we would wait for each other, the max trial room, Shri Sagar chaats, Central Inox, and many more will remind me of her always. Whenever we have travelled together, she has never taken a single picture, she would always ask me to take it and her usual dialogue if the scenery behind is good would be “Vids, ನನಗೆ ಈ ವ್ಯೂ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು, ಆ ವ್ಯೂ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ಪಿಕ್ ಬೇಕು”.

She was such an integral part of my life. Her ability to make friends from any age group, make an impact to people she interacts with, extend support to anyone in need and be a giver will not be an easy skill and attitude to learn or adapt to. Even to date, her ability to remember everyone’s birthdays amazes me. Not just wishing that person but she used to remind others in the group to wish too.

The group meets, lunches/dinners would not be same anymore without her. She was the link that connected all the dots. I will never be able to understand all her acronyms. She had a huge list of them which included NAB, NTKB, TMK, and many more. Most of her statements would start with “nim ajji”. No group gathering is fun without her. She was so jovial and positive that she could take any kind of joke on her and still smile. In any group we are, she used to be the common friend. I have known her school, college and other friends who are now my friends too. She was great at making and keeping friendships.

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I have seen very few people who are as welcoming, caring, and giving as she was. She has taken me along to her relatives houses, in-laws place, cousin’s weddings, cousin’s kids birthday parties, etc…you name it and I have been there with her. ಬಸವನ ಹಿಂದೆ ಇರೋ ಬಾಲ ತರಹ ನಾನು ಅವಳ ಹಿಂದೆ.

She is a kid not just by looks, but by heart too. She couldn’t stay idle for one day. Wanted to be active doing something or the other. She feared being confined to a place. In the last few months, I got to see her weakness, struggle, fight to handle the stress, fears that were gripping her mind and yet she never stopped smiling or let go of that “I can do it” attitude. The ways she used to call me “Vids”, and her laugh echoes in my ears still. I can never forget her antics. I lost a part of me with her :(.

“Happy people view themselves in a positive light and engage in positive self-talk. They are often their own biggest cheerleader.” This saying suits Sap very much.

Lessons

This is not the first death I have seen in life, however it is the one that has left me shaken and broken in ways I cannot explain. If there is anything her death has taught me, it is to:

  • Make the best of life every day, like there is literally no tomorrow.
  • Impact lives of anyone around us…we never will carry anything in the end but the love of those people. All that we have earned materialistic will not bring us back…the people who loved us will keep us alive in their memories for as long as they live.
  • Not be afraid to try something without any inhibitions…be it dancing, learning a new skill, or doing something adventurous.
  • The only rules you have to follow is the ones you have set for yourself.
  • Age is just a number and you should feel as young as you want to and not as old as they say.
  • Give, help, and share…because there is no other happiness than helping someone in need.
  • Laugh…It is the best medicine one can have.
  • Value and respect relations…you may not speak everyday but once in a while call that friend and just say hello.
  • Enjoy the simple pleasures…Eat that dessert, watch a movie, go for a walk, spend a night out with friends laughing and chatting, and just live.
  • Take it all in your stride…Ups and downs, good and bad are all part of life, and we should take it positively, learn from it and move on.
  • Spread cheer…people might forget what you gave them, will not forget how you made them feel.

Sapna has thousands of friends who will continue to keep her alive by cherishing the memories. She has touched so many lives, impacted so many of us in one or the other way. My goal is to have at least one such friend who will miss me when I am gone, someone who will shed a tear or two and that person can only be earned through love, compassion, help and being humane…not by money, attitude or anything else.

Sap, you may have gone and made heaven a better place, but I will miss you always and losing you has made me lose a part of myself. For everything you used to ask me if I would join you and just this once, you missed asking me.

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I will forever regret for the fact that I couldn’t be there in person on your last journey, and to bid good bye. I believe we will meet again in some world and then I will fight with you for leaving us this early. And just because I never got to say bye to you, you will continue to live on as you were. I will only remember the good times we had, the laughs we shared, and the times we spent doing what we loved. I will cherish my memories with you for as long as I live and you will continue to live on with me in my heart.

“Memories could be told but not shared.”

Sap, please give me the strength to move on without losing you, and teach me to laugh like you would no matter what.

I miss you and I will always love you Sap! Thank you for being my bestie.

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PS: I used to pester her so much to wear a saree but she would always decline. This was the only time I saw her in a saree and I had told her “now I can die peacefully”. God had other plans…

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