A Farewell

The Hero
I remember him from school. The memories aren’t particularly vivid. He was always ‘that boy’. We were taught not to stare, that would be rude, we were taught. But the same people who taught us to be polite, spoke of him in hallowed tones. I never spoke to him in school, never had the chance. I do remember one day during the assembly, being asked to fetch something for Harsh. I had felt honoured. Honoured, because for me, and for everyone else who knew Harsh Pande from a distance, he was a hero. He was a hero, because, to use the oft used cliche, life had given him lemons, and he did more than just make lemonade. And even so, he was just a hero, an image.

The Person
I was lucky then, to have studied in the same college as him. I saw him at the magazine auditions, and recognized him immediately. I went over to him, introduced myself. Though he had carried this image of being a larger than life hero, he was very unassuming, friendly. He was a brilliant student, I don’t think engineering troubled him much. Aside from engineering, he was a charming and warm person. He always had a funny anecdote he could tell you. I don’t think a single magazine meeting passed without a side-splitting joke. All through this, he never let you feel as if he was different. He walked with crutches, and was a bit short. That was all. It must have taken a supreme effort to maintain the aura of normalcy, and he did it every day. He was a giant of a man in a slight frame.

The Storyteller
I saw the third facet of Harsh after he graduated from college, to become a professional. He invited us for a farewell lunch, and over the space of ninety minutes, told us the most hilarious stories we had ever heard. Harsh had a penchant for getting into unimaginably random situations, matched only by his skill as a storyteller. Many times after that, we heard fantastic stories – about clueless people he’d met, his adventures with his closest friends, poems written and songs sung. The last time I met him, he was treating QuickGan and me to dinner. He told us the best story we’d heard yet, and I think we must’ve raised a few eyebrows with our raucous laughter. After he left, QuickGan and I were exchanging goodbyes, for we wouldn’t be seeing each other for a while. We talked about Harsh, and how much we admired his spirit. More than that, I think we envied him, envied the joy he found in every moment of life. He’s gone now, but in the short 25 years that he was around, he lived more than many people do in a hundred.

Harsh Pande was a senior, a role model, a friend, and a top bloke; but most of all, he was a crazy one eyed pirate, steering his ship in a raging storm, having the time of his life. I don’t think he noticed how dangerous and bleak it all was, or maybe it was just inconsequential. Perhaps the biggest tribute to Harsh is this: while I’m sad about the fact that I will never see Harsh again, it’s hard to not break into a smile. I have no memories of Harsh Pande looking disappointed, sad or angry. He was always smiling, either laughing with life, or at it. Knowing him has been a privilege and an honour. Everyone who knew him was a better person because of him, as I most certainly am.

It is said often, that life takes the best of us early. There are few better examples than the passing of Harsh Pande. Farewell then, friend. Thank you for the good times, and I hope you find peace in the Grey Havens. You are gone, but will never be forgotten.

Actual blog post

2 Responses to “A Farewell”
  1. Fatima Mookhtiar says:

    Very well written!

  2. Nadir says:

    arey yaar.. subah subah rulaa diyaa.

    Truly an inspiration Harsh is :)

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