I clearly remember how we talked for the last time and he was all happy and was planning a trip to travel Mumbai and pay a visit; a promise that he made every year after leaving RRRA and I was quick to remind him of that. He and I both shared a healthy laugh. But then he quickly retorted that this time he is finally going to come and we will enjoy in my city.
It was until in second year of my MBA, things got a little fishy. Those who haven’t read the second part can read it by clicking on the following link – RRRA Diaries Part 2: My Memoirs With Shaquille O’Neal; The Five Year Journey From Friends To BFFs!
We weren’t much in contact for much time of late. With whatever less we could talk we tried to stay in contact. He was busy with his business and studies, whereas I was occupied with my college assignments and other things.
There were a lot of things, both personal and professional at my end in which I was embroiled into. There were college and assignments in the daytime, whereas in the second half of the day, I had different roles to play.
I, being a bit busy in my college assignments, exams and an impending trip to Ahmedabad for college purpose, could not take his calls. Though, I kept texting him that I will call you as soon as I get free. It was something usual between us. I and he were both busy and could not take calls when either of us was occupied somewhere. I texted him that “Main call karta hun tereko shaam mein (I will call you in the eve),”
However, this time, I could not call him for a couple of days. In few days, I received a text message from him saying, “Teri shaam nahi ayi na abhi tak?” (Your evening hasn’t arrived yet). I was moved. I felt bad. I couldn’t call him and I knew that something was bad at his end. Contrary to it, things were fine as we had a hearty laugh the last time we had talked.
Plans to come to Mumbai were discussed and I was to visit Delhi again, soon. I distinctly can recall as to how he had also talked about his future plans and other things. Those made me feel a little relaxed.
I made the trip to Ahmedabad. And on my return, I got busy in my brother’s marriage too, and at the same time, my college exams had begun too! I couldn’t make the call.
It might seem that it takes very less time to make a call, so why didn’t I make it? Well, it is not the case. Whenever he and I were on a call we would talk for an hour atleast. And I knew that I will not be able to take much time to talk and hence, delayed the call.
Few days or a fortnight later, I cannot remember which paper it was, but when I came out of my examination hall, I saw a couple of missed calls. Not from him, but another mutual friend of us who studied with us in the same boarding school in Dehradun. We weren’t keeping in touch so it came as a bit of surprise.
I headed to canteen with my friends after my paper; I called him. I was quite astounded as to how did he call me suddenly, but then was happy that a friend had called me after a long time. His first words shook me to the core!
He: Did you hear about Shaq?
I: NO, but why do you ask?
He: Are you sure?
I: Yes, what happened? We had a talk, only sometime back!
He: He is no more!
I: Are you serious?
He: Why would I joke on this matter?
I: I know, but then are you sure?
He: Yes, I came to know, just now, from another friend.
I: How did it happen? I mean, tell me more?
He: He committed suicide in a hotel room!
I: Are you kidding me? He and suicide, not possible!
He: Well, I am shocked too. How could it happen?
I: Yeah! Why would he even do that? <before I could hear his answer, I disconnected the call and call the another friend>
I didn’t want to believe as to what he said. I mean how could it happen? As far as I knew him, he wasn’t the kind who would give up on life and end it just like that. I was feeling bad too, at that moment. Also, another part of me was still telling myself that it is all lie and maybe it is a prank.
I: Hey, long time!
She: Hey yeah, Wassup?
I: I am doing good! Whatever I am hearing about Shaq is true?
She: Well, yeah..
**Awkward Silence Again**
Well, we did try to reason out the cause and I wanted to know if it was actually true. I asked her as to who told her. She said she got it confirmed with another friend. And if she was saying this, it’d be true! As she was as close to him as much as I was. We did try to talk more about him and the situation at hand, but to no avail. She had a similar tale to tell, and that they shared a light conversation too, when they last talked.
The talks went on for a couple of days and we were all wondering as to how it could happen. Going by his track record and his behaviour, it was not at all agreeable to us. But then, again, it had happened. And none of us could do anything about it.
One of our closest friends wasn’t out there anymore. It saddened us. It saddened me more. I have always told my friends to call me whenever they are going through a rough patch. A lot of them did. A lot of them still do. Not that it is anything great, but I for a fact know I could help them get out of it, or atleast make them feel better.
It is said that we are late in to doing sometimes, we have missed the train, and that we have let time slip away. The reality is otherwise! It was then that I realised that, it was never too late than death itself. One can do anything he or she needs, prevent anything that they do want to, or try out a thing or an experience which they desire.
It is never too late. As they say, better late than never. The saying is true. You may have missed out on many things. You may have not been able to achieve a lot of things. But trust me, it is never too late. I still feel that I could have made a difference in his life by making those calls which we couldn’t make. I strongly feel that. But then, I was actually too late. Losing a friend, that too so dear, is something I still bad about. (Also Read: मैंने दुनिया को, अब बंद आँखों से देखना सीख लिया है..)
Don’t let this happen in your life. Be it anyone, your family, friend or foe; don’t miss out on anything. Go out, try and make a difference, do what you want to, what you can; because, it is never too late than death itself!