More than 10 years have passed without speaking about him. I have maintained contact with only few others who know him. And with those few people, i never initiated talking about him. Because it pains...
Last week I got in touch with a very old and dear friend from school. We were great buddies back then ( more than 16 years back). Somehow we lost touch and couldn't get back to each other after passing out from school. The first time we spoke, he mentioned G. I was dreading that moment. I dont like talking about G. I get reminded of everything and then it becomes really difficult to push it at the back of mind. But this time i didn't feel that sad. And the reason was that i was talking to somebody who was as close or may be more close to G than me. Still i just chose to stay quite and listen to what my friend had to say. We talked about school and many memories.
Memory of G is becoming fresh now. He was one of the most brilliant students (very good at Mathematics) of our class. But nobody would ever realize his presence in a group of 20 students. He spoke less and laughed less. Whenever something really funny happened, he would smile or may be chuckle and thats it. At least i dont remember seeing him laughing like mad. Even then he had a very pleasing personality. Since i was very weak at Maths, I used to ask him a lot of doubts and he used to explain things very clearly. He never said 'No'.
I think it was in 9th std that i noticed that he was more passionate about something else apart from Maths. It was History. The history subject taught to us in 9th and 10th had a small section which used to cover 'current affairs'. There were no books for it, instead we were asked to read newspapers and listen to TV news and then discuss the major happenings in our class. G knew everything about what was happening where in the world. I still remember hearing the names of places i had never heard before from him.... Lebanan, Beirut, Gaza strip... He used to tell all that in the form of a story. And often in the class it used to be a one-on-one between Mrs Krishnan and G. I used to just stare at him wondering how he follows all this. I hated history.
School got over. For 11th-12th we went to separate schools. I completely lost touch with him.
Then one day, a neighbour of ours asked me if i know anybody with that name. And i said that he was my class mate till 10th. Next I came to know that he is no more. I remember i didnt express anything in front of that person who very casually gave me that news. I managed to fight my tears and ran towards my room. I looked for my diary in which i had taken autographs of my friends before leaving school. I remembered i had pestered him to write something too.
I found the diary and that page.
On red coloured paper, i saw his handwriting... scribbled in blue ink were these words--- "Dear Shazia, May you live long. G".
I could not control my tears at that moment.