Invictus. A Tribute to a Dear Friend

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 : Gantavya Sharma

Words don’t come to you when you need them the most, they defy you and remind you of the one person you knew who always had a word or two that made you crack up laughing. Harsh Pande brings a smile to your face. That’s how I remember him, thats how we all remember him. At the start of college days at COEP there were a few seniors I knew whom I looked up to, till Harsh came in.

A person who invited curious glances for his posture from far away, but shunned them away the moment you spoke to him. You were in awe of him at that moment itself. You would expect sympathy to come in way but never ever in our four years has that emotion crept into my mind. And that was for one reason- Harsh was, is and will be the uber coolest, most awesome person you could have met. You were not in awe of his fighting spirit, or in awe of his smiling face when you met him. That you thought of when you left the place. In the moment you met him, you were in awe of his larger than life stories, his wise cracks, his wit, his ‘condom cover’ Nokia 1100 phone, his shoes that could crush gabbar, his crutches that only he had, and mostly his words that squeezed your belly muscles as you laughed!

To me, Harsh never was any different than all of us, except that he was just plainly better than us all. Exceptionally cooler than us, intelligent, always doing what he loved doing, had a way with women that you so wished you could have too. He was an inspiration that I have held in my life and I am sure everyone who has known him would have held too. He would trust you and show more faith in you than you had for yourself. The dinners and lunches hosted by him for MK, Aadinath, Nischay and me are memorable. They would fill your life with laughter for days. You would go back meeting him with more respect and pride. Pride that you know him, pride that you are valued by him.

The college magazine, an integral part of our college days and our lives was cooler and only more happening because of him. To think of it today, we did it all just for a reward of mentos and coke! His chats on gmail, starting with the pitched ‘Yo’ were a routine you took for granted. It was your daily dose of humor. His perv jokes, his punny wise cracks, witty one liners all made you fall in love with him. Once, I asked him ‘hows your shoulder dude?’ and pat came the reply- ‘shoulder is fixed, soch raha hun six packs would be helpful in my endeavor for a girlfriend! btw I had recently been to Jodhpur, awesome place- the name itself is so suggestive, jodh-pur ;)’ and I started laughing. And this would happened almost every time one spoke to him. There would be hundreds of such conversations that he had with the hundreds of people he knew. You would pour your heart out to him and look for advice and he always had the best to offer. Coming from an experience and learning that was so enriched that you looked up to him in admiration.

His taste for music, love for Sachin, recommendations for sitcoms, reviews for movies, narrations of random incidents, critique on books, knowhow of technology, his work ethics, his love for his friends, every single memory makes you smile. And that, probably is the only tribute to him. His promotion coming in earliest for a fresher was only indicative of what he was capable of. It would be such joy to be his colleague, I thought. Scoring a perfect 10 in his last semester, Topping the boards in his school, and numerous other achievements were discussions that followed him around. With all of this and his pursuit of his passion for writing till last, his hunger to make it big seemed certain. I once told him ‘Harsh when you are like shit rich and will be hosting yacht parties, please invite me to them. I’ll be your PR guy at these events and take care of all the hot European chicks who come there ;) “If you want Harsh, you come to me first” and he said “anything for ‘G-man’ you don’t need to do something for that”. We loved him.

Today it aches my heart to write a tribute to him. It makes one feel crushed and helpless at the hands of fate. Why is death so final one asks! But even as we mourned him today, it seemed that there was a smile on his face. One that comes after having led a life so full. A life that brought joy to so many of us. And I am sure he would be up there somewhere just chilling and cracking a joke at us dim wits. For he was the greatest person I knew. His life inspired many, his smiling face brought hope. He was indomitable!

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed…

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul…

I can only hope that it were not so, that he were not gone. He is probably a friend that I and all who knew him wanted to cherish for our lives. One who left after we all completed our journeys. One whose stories would even make our kids laugh. But his tales will last forever in our heart. His jokes will ring in my ears for years to come. And I thank the heavens that I was blessed with his company. That we were lucky enough to know him and mean something to him. Each one of his friend was held dear to him, knowing that I was one of them makes me feel proud. Even as tears roll down our eyes I pray that he be smiling somewhere… Gonna miss you brother, Big Time!

The lives of great men all remind us,

That we too can make our lives sublime,

And departing leave behind us,

Footprints on the sands of time.

Footprints that perhaps another,

Sailing over life’s solemn main,

Shipwrecked and forlorn brother,

Seeing shall take heart again…

Harshavardhan Pande. (7 January 1988 – 23 April 2012)

You will be dearly missed Harsh. You were an inspiration, a true friend, a charmer, and a wonderful person like no other. Have learnt a lot from you and you have shaped many a lives like mine. We all feel honored to have known you…

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