Saturday, May 25, 2013

From a Friend's Heart

I can never imagine to pen down strong emotions with so much ease and write something as emotive, stirring and compassionate as the following messageNot even a bit close! 
It's an exceptionally beautiful message written by one of the closest friends of my brother who passed away twenty days back after a long and valiant battle with Pancreatic Cancer.
I wish I had enough good expressions to express how I felt after reading it. I wish my brother was alive to appreciate his friend's thoughts. I wish his daughters could know how great their father was. I wish life was less cruel. I wish things were a lot easier. I wish!

Just a small attempt to keep him alive with me here, on this blog.

It’s hard to write an obituary when the subject is arguably your closest friend. Obituaries were farthest from our minds when we met in Goa in March last year. Non-stop laughter was interrupted only when we went down memory lane. Water skiing in the Arabian sea, drawing on hookahs, munching on authentic Italian pastas at the beautiful Arpora Saturday market made it a holiday of a lifetime. And like always there was one guy who was the life of the party. Maddy was full of life and savouring every second of it. All of us will always owe a debt of gratitude to Anupam whose initiative and insistence led to this reunion being held when it was. A month later and it would never have happened and we wouldn’t have had the last opportunity to witness Maddy as we knew him.

Maddy came up with the suggestion that the next reunion be held later in the year. The conservative sorts amongst us were talking in terms of at least a two year gap between reunions to retain the novelty factor. Maddy would have none of it and in the ‘naa meri naa teri’ sprit we agreed to meet in 2013. In hindsight he could perhaps sense that he didn’t have a lot of time left. His body and his mind must have been giving him warning signals because a month later he was diagnosed with third stage pancreatic cancer. 

What followed was a year of intense suffering and pain, but Maddy never lost his dignity. His main partner-in-suffering was his beloved wife Sucharita whose courage in times of adversity can only be admired. Whenever I went to see Maddy, she would greet me with a smile, offer me a cup of tea and never mope or complain. Neither would Maddy. Such dignity in suffering humbles me. Maddy leaves behind Sucharita, two beautiful daughters Anubhuti and Ananya, his parents and his brother Sushant and so many of us who were blessed to be his friends. However Maddy wouldn’t have wanted me to dwell only on the sadness. In fact he was a guy who didn't have too many negative bones in his body. So let me just talk about what he meant to me.

I first met him in Indore in 1994 when we were a bunch of excited twenty somethings hoping to make something of our lives. I was in awe of him. He came from Delhi and I came from a small town in Bengal. He had a funny hairstyle, had attended interviews at all the 4 IIMs (thankfully not cleared them, otherwise we never would have met), spoke with a Punjabi twang and cracked jokes at the drop of a hat. Somehow fate conspired to make us roommates at the fancy sounding Ratlam Kothi. Within a month we pretty much knew everything there was to know about each other. I continued to be in awe of him. Not only was he brighter than me, he was computer literate, read management and self help books and could draw beautifully. I was rubbish at all of this. He would beat the commerce graduates and engineers in the finance and accounts related subjects. And to think of it, he had graduated in zoology! I borrowed all his jokes and retold them as mine. He ruined my language by adding cuss words to my vocabulary which refuse to go even after 20 years. We may have had the odd argument but I can’t remember either of us sulking for too long. He was a little spoilt like all boys are when they have stayed too long at home, but he quickly learned how to (pretend to)wash a pair of jeans. He never quite learned how to make cucumber sandwiches when all of us had run out of money to pay for the mess food towards the end of our stay in Indore. And he could never wake up on time for breakfast. I have to take credit along with our flatmate KK for having kept him and the equally lazy Debu, well fed for the better part of our second year in Indore. Yes breakfast was served on the bed for these gentlemen! It wasn’t all about fun and games though. Maddy could give you the soundest advice when you asked for it. The counselling that Maddy and Debu gave me in a fly infested dhaba over sugary tea changed my life for the better. After Indore Maddy went to Baroda to work in Sun Pharma. I don’t think his heart was in it. He missed his family and his hometown and a combination of circumstances made him return to Delhi where his heart always was. He worked in a few companies and ended up in an IT company which was always his real passion. It was there that he met Sucharita and they teamed up in life as well as in work because Maddy was on his way to becoming an entrepreneur. He always wanted to be his own master and being an entrepreneur suited him just fine. All through these years, we would meet once or twice a year and he would excitedly tell me about his morning sessions of football, about his new found interest in the stock markets and of course about his family. Always gung-ho and generally pleased with life. Even when the business environment was tough during the financial crisis, he would never wallow in self pity. Solid, dependable Maddy.

We became even closer during his fight with cancer as I tried hard to keep his spirits up and to try and soak up some of his pain, his fears and his suffering. For me it was the desperation to hold on to him because I could not imagine a world without his infectious enthusiasm, his laughter and his zest for life. Life will go on and the pain will eventually subside. But there will always be that little void in my life and in the lives of all those he touched, which can never be filled.

Maddy, farewell my friend. You will be badly missed.


P.S: Maddy was his nickname for Madhur.

One of his favorite songs.
Actually, mine too!


  1. My condolences for your family!

    A beautifully written message for a friend whom life took away cruelly. It is fact that your brother will live in the hearts of his near and dear ones forever!

    Until later,
    Keirthana :)

    1. :)

      Thank you for dropping by. Means a lot!

  2. I'm terribly sorry. I had a friend who passed away this year too. Shockingly unexpected hit and run. May they all rest in peace. :)