Too Young, Too Soon

At about midday yesterday, a Gtalk Messenger chat applet from an old friend from college opened on my office laptop. Such days are few and far between when even in the midst of a swamped day, I steal a glance at a non-work window. I would have probably missed it too, had it not been the sheer boredom of the transcript I was proofreading which was laden with errors.

Looked like the day was all of errors.

My friend said quite simply - Hi, Dhruv Ganesh passed away.

My first thought went back to the recent death of a young designer at a music festival in Goa on account of drug overdose. Had I profiled him in my head despite never really having known him? Or was this just honest speculation, because this girl too, was believed to have been ODed by someone else?

Whatever my state of mind, whatever my predilections, they did not matter in that moment. I was stunned. so this is how the ground slipping from underneath your feet felt like.

I had bumped into Dhruv three years ago at Andheri, outside Infiniti Mall. He looked exactly the way he did back in college five years earlier. For that matter, he looked exactly the same in his films and his ads... As if age had given him a total miss. As if weight gain had dissed him. As if fame had not corroded his demeanour.

I was never a friend. Barely an acquaintance. We performed together in a play once, where I took the liberty of overacting while basically admitting I was among the hundreds of women in campus drooling over him. We barely had a few common friends from back in college. And yet, the incident was a rude wake up call of sorts.

My first instinct was to look it up on Twitter - since Google showed nothing. I finally called a common friend, who I knew would know what happened, and who did tell me more about what brought about the death.

I posted a little verse for him on Facebook.
A few of our common acquaintances expressed their shock and sadness.
One friend commented on the lines I wrote to him.
Another friend messaged me on Whatsapp to check if I was alright and told me about another of his own friends, a banker, who died sudden cardiac arrest in his sleep. He was on leave, visiting family.
My roommate told me her boss took leave - she was Dhruv's best friend.

My best friend and I had been on a mini cold war of sorts for a month and I had to call her in the dead of last night. I had to know if something happened to either of us, regret had no place in our grief. She forgave me. We both apologised for the nasty things we had said to one another. Later in that 3 AM conversation, I ranted about the nothingness of our very existence.

A couple of years back, another dear friend had passed. He too was young, barely beginning to earn life's little perks. I had known the family, I had hung out with him innumerable times. Despite having known and often preempted dire consequences of his rash driving and a serious accident before, no one really expected a car accident to be the cause of his life cut short.

Not just about taking care of oneself, but it also brought on several realisations, the rudest of which was that life is rather unpredictable. Sudden illness and brief suffering has the same power to bring about an effect of high magnitude upon a person and her or his loved ones as a terminal disease, a calamity, an accident or just OD.

But the effect death wields upon those not close to the deceased can also possess as much impact. We 'acquaintances' may not have the bandwidth to reach out to the dead's parents or imagine their loss; we may not share a bank of memories with her or him to recount at their funeral or later to our children; we may not experience that numbing feeling of the end of the world that a close friend or lover might experience, but we do feel shock.

My only memory of speaking to him, apart from the play rehearsals, was when occasionally we would hang out outside our department building and share some casual banter about his eyebrow piercing. I would ask, "Does it hurt?" He would nod with a mischievous grin. I would shiver at the thought of going through it.

When I met him last, I had already undergone three new piercings.

Dhruv was too young - I had reason to believe he was doing well in life. One saw him out there - on TV, on billboards, on the silver screen. He definitely possessed that quiet zest to achieve...

They say God calls you back when your deed is done on the Earth. I'm not sure what exactly the brief was for Dhruv.


Anonymous said...

He was brilliant in LOEV! I still can't believe he isn't there anymore. So much potential!

Priyanka said...

Really. Maybe because he was ways lean, that no one ever suspected he could have TB. He was phenomenal in the movie. I almost jumped and hugged the hell out of him in the parting scene. I really wish we could've seen more of his brilliance.RIP