This is not an obituary. Nor a post to acknowledge someone’s brilliance or extraordinary contribution to some rare field. This is a post about a man who was a complete brat, a man who lived in denial. A man who called me an escapist so he could escape being called so himself.
He passed away today early morning and yet my senses refuse to succumb to the stark reality.
I wouldn’t have felt the urge to blog but I’m doing so in the memory of someone who was probably one of Random Rant (s) most loyal readers. He never confessed so. Maybe, he did not feel the need for it. But the live traffic feed on my blog screamed “Someone from Calicut just viewed your blog” at regular intervals. It was anybody’s guess who that someone was.
Some of the harshest criticism and most generous praise for this blog have come from the same man. When it wasn’t good, it was awful and he was quick as a cat to convey that. But, occasionally, when he did “like” something I wrote, he claimed it took his breath away. Of course, this he would choose to convey after having convinced me that I’m an awful writer. That’s one of the many reasons why I call him a brat.
I use quotes for the word like with a purpose. We had recently, mutually agreed that in the post-Facebook era, the word like has lost its meaning.
I thought I was the most moody person on earth. He proved me wrong. I thought I can be so rude with people. He did not let me enjoy that bliss either. I thought I was a bloody escapist. I realized that only when I discovered the escapist in him.
I have never known anyone more open and frank about love and hatred. He’s always expressed his love for anything and anyone as candidly as he possibly can. Likewise, he’s always been very clear about who or what he hates from the bottom of his heart. I admire such outspokenness. More so, because I have hardly known anyone to possess it at such great length.
We agreed on as many things as we disagreed upon. Most of these had a literary context. He’s one of those few voracious readers who has the ability to make me feel ashamed of my complacency when it comes to reading. In a bid to correct this fallacy in me, he promised to gift me a book every year. He has gifted me two books in the two years that I have known him. I was hoping the number to increase until Fate played spoil sport.
Many who know him would be aware that he was as voracious a reader as a writer. He has some soul-stirring poems and writings to his credit. My inbox was usually flooded with his intellect, until I got exhausted and urged him to stop forwarding me what he wrote, lest it’ make me feel insignificant. Of course, he understood my sarcasm and chose to send many more writings. This time, not just his own but from here and there, too.
More often than not, I never understood his poems or their exact meaning. I interpreted it very differently from what he probably intended to convey. When I told him so, he said that was the purpose of it all.
Everybody knows about his pronounced love for Arundhati Roy. Once, my mom, after reading one of my writings, told me that I’ll be “an Arundhati Roy” some day. Flattered to the core, I told him about it.
“Don’t believe her. Mothers always exaggerate,” he said.
That’s Raghu. Outspoken, in-your-face, blunt. And that’s how I remember him.
I end with a quote from another of his many loves: Kamala Das
“The animals of this world did not go into a Christian heaven, a Moslem heaven or a Hindu paradise. They did not claim any God as their own.”
— Kamala Das
Please do not “like” this post. He would have hated it.