A thursday!

4th November 2011.
Death is powerful. It always strikes us, all mortals alike, with a huge blow; no matter how we defend ourselves, line ourselves up with wealth and power. It renders us helpless in the end, and ultimately wins every battle. It is shocking, even more so, when it happens to someone close; someone unexpected; someone out of blue; someone, who is young and dynamic; someone whom you had just chatted two days ago in face book. But this article is not on death or for death; because death is like a big black hole; a swallowing emptiness; no one knows for sure what it is or what happens when a person dies.
3rd November. It was a regular Thursday. I went to University, as always. I was out of internet access as it was a public holiday, the previous day. I went and logged onto my account. I had a message from my friend and she was asking me if the news was true, if Mukesh Dai died. Shocked and confused, I scolded her in reply for being so senseless and silly. Then as I logged into my face book, I saw my seniors’ status updates all wishing Mukesh daii would rest in peace. Bewildered, utterly confused I checked his wall. And there it was: more than 100 posts written. Some had posted how shocked they were; some were complaining about god’s injustice; some just grieved at the loss of their dear friend; some were saying how important he was for them; some still unable to believe the tragedy, were asking him to reply back on face book that he was ok. I was already crying. As I scrolled down his wall, the reality punched into my guts harder and harder. There was a car accident two nights ago, and he had passed away in the crash; away from home in Ohio.
Mukesh Daii is quite an inspiring figure for me. In the less time, that I knew him in, he had always been the encouraging one. He had always encouraged me to work harder and he had this amazing sense of humour and this wonderful capacity of being there for everyone. He had so many friends and yet he could be there for everyone. A great scholar; true environmental activist, he was very much dedicated for environmental conservation. He literally lived for causes; he was a youth activist. “Active” is the word that would do justice to his personality. He loved to be different; his ideas and opinions were so different yet so profound and well put. He loved to argue. We would discuss on different topics and he‘d always say how much he loved my points; he would like to discuss more and more. And he could discuss with a million others on a billion different ideas. He was so energetic whether it was to aware youths on environment; or to cry for the melting Himalayas; whether it was for the diarrhea affected community or expressing himself freely through blogs and social media. He could DO IT ALL.
So, I cried. I cried because I would not be able to discuss with him anymore; I cried because he would not make fun of my profile pictures anymore; I cried because I couldn’t listen to his amazing ideas anymore; I cried because I wouldn’t be getting more encouragements from him; I cried because I couldn’t hear his brilliant jokes anymore; I cried because IT WAS NOT FAIR. He was 24, still full of energy with so many things to do and a whole Earth to save, for God’s sake. I cried because, on top of all, I was helpless. Helpless to correct the big mistake death had committed, utterly helpless.
I was crying helplessly when a staff from my department, here in Sri Lanka came to offer me cookies. Seeing my condition, he asked me why I was crying. I must have said in between that my brother died in a car crash. Bad news does travel faster. Then, another staff came and asked me again. I said the same. Mukesh Dangi was my brother and he died in a crash. I cried and cried, because there was nothing I could do. Then, my flat mate came around and comforted me for more than one hour. She had a lecture that morning and she cancelled it because of the bad news. I was crying, she was asking me if I wanted to go back home. I said that I needed to be in internet access and talk with my seniors. She was asking me other questions as well but I wasn’t in the right mind to answer properly. A part of my brain was still adjusting to the shock and the other, was grieving for Mukesh Daii. Then my co-supervisor called and said he will be there with me in half an hour. People from all over the departments came and were staring at me, people I didn’t knew at all. Then, my other supervisor; who is 5 months pregnant and had her day off, rushed to me and asked how it happened. I blurted out the same lines that I had gone through at previous enquiries. She looked at the face book photo and said, “That’s not your brother, is he?” I said that he is. He was Mukesh Dangi. Then, she asked again, “He is not your sibling, is he?? The one you call Babu?” I said he is my office senior who died in a car crash. And then she smiled. She actually laughed, I think. “Its good news then,” she said, “I was thinking of something else. Thank god.” And then she added, “I should share this to all right now, I am so relieved.” Now, that is the height of inhumanity, isn’t it? I was there in tears; crying over a loss, that words are unable to describe; feeling wretchedly helpless and she says it’s good then?? I literally stared at her, at loss of words; unsure of how I should react to her reaction.
She later explained that since I was crying hard; all had thought that something had happened to my babu; my sibling. God bless my Babu with 100 more years and give all his share of troubles to me; but everyone in the office had thought the same. That was why my flat mate had cancelled her lecture; the one she had worked overnight for. All other department staffs had thought the same while they were staring at me. My other co-supervisor was about to book my flight tickets back home. They were all relieved to find out that it wasn’t what they had imagined; it was a miscommunication. My other co-supervisor, who was about to book my flight’s back home, later said it’s not “SUCH A” bad news. I didn’t know what to say, or how to react. I just said sorry and apologized for the miscommunication. Later, everyone at the department was talking about me, telling me that they had heard rumors; there had been a miscommunication and some even said, “You are still here, I thought you had gone back already.”
Later, my co-supervisor, who had said its good news, asked if I wanted to go to a Hindu temple to pay respect to Mukesh daii; I said it doesn’t matter. Her Lord Buddha would take care of Mukesh daii as much as my Lord Krishna would. They are all same up there, aren’t they? They all take care of good people up there. So, she took me to a Buddhist temple to pray for Mukesh daii. She also prayed for him. I lit some diyos and agarbattis and asked god to take care of him.
This miscommunication brought me closer to the people at my department. Here I was two weeks in Sri Lanka; in a new office, amongst new people and all of them, many whose names I don’t even remember came there to calm me down. They were so concerned. And though there was miscommunication, their concerns and reactions were genuine. People still come to me and ask if there are any updates on Mukesh daii’s funeral. Some still share their own losses and their helplessness at such situations. Sri Lankan people are so sensitive and genuine, at least my department people are. I am amazed at how they can be there for another girl, they hardly know. And Mukesh daii did another good thing again: he gave me one more reason to fall in love with Sri Lanka and the people here.

  1. November 9th, 2011

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