In Loving Memory of Haris Sajid Malik...
Remember when we were kids and when we would play cricket in the garage or on the street and when one of us took the bat and got bowled over on the first ball and would start screaming No, No, That was the try-ball! Now that I look back and smile over that innocence (or lack of fair-play), the inner me, the sadder, wiser, inner me sighs and I hear myself wish a wish; that we could scream at life itself and refuse to play along and call our past a try-ball and ask for another chance. A chance to make amends. A chance to cut our rough corners earlier and become prudent quicker. A chance to strengthen friendships. A chance to tell them more. To listen to them more. To share with them more. More than we already had. Really, how badly I wish now I could get another chance.
A part of me has died today with the death of Haris. In my shelf there are books I borrowed from him and never returned. By my side I had a friend whose loyalty I had so overlooked. But that is such a cliché, no? You live your life all for yourself and one day through a devastating flick of its deathly wand, death reminds you that life is such a fickle friend. And then all you are left with is memories. And regrets.
Each moment of life, taken on its own, is imprisoned. So ridiculously obstructed. It is a fragment, and as such, orphaned from its meaning, like torn pages of a book scattered by the wind. Only and only with the profound affection, that comes with unyielding friendship, are we able to cohere the sense of everyday life. With friends, the mundane becomes marvelous. Simple looks spectacular. They give you reasons to hope for a wholeness in which all things would be redeemed and complete. With friends, we are transformed from ugly ducklings to wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings. But what happens when all of it melts into a dollop of disbelief and life sounds like a sham and you lose the will to take life for what it is? What happens when you lose a friend? Why didn’t they teach us that in school? Algebra, History – what about grief?
As the years pass, we witness death more often. And that is with everyone. So I learnt today, how everyone must learn to expect it. You can either do that, or else, live our day in pretense but some horrible day, you will be in for sudden shock, ludicrous denial, impractical bargaining, debilitating guilt, nauseous anger, lethal depression and gruesome resignation.
The hours spent in mourning are of course the saddest of our lives. Probably the ugliest too. Imagine a music professor who would start the class by playing a chord on the piano and asking his students to write down the notes. One day, he played the ugliest chord imaginable and none of his students could guess the note. Some even refuse to call it music. Many closed their ears. Then he played the entire piece. It was Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. The sounds fought their way into a crescendo of complexity culminating in the agonizing tension of that chord...and then smoothly resolved back into the sweetest baroque harmony of an end-weighted trajectory.
All the students gasped and shook their heads at their naivety. The work was probably the most famous of all Beethoven's piano sonatas. How could they not identify it? How could they have thought it was incongruous?
And that is what Haris, my dear friend, taught me through his demise. Death is congruent with life. It falls into the equation, perfectly. It teaches lessons to growing up kids and makes them shake their heads at their naivety. Death holds in it, secrets that life fails to tell us. It leaves behind grief, anger and denial. But also a reminder that their was no try-ball. It takes a person to eternal sleep. But also tries to wake up those who are left behind living and mourning.