When you have such a dear friend, as dear as one like Santosh, one doesn’t even think of a life without one another. Maybe because, even in the case of parents, as you grow up, you are reminded of their absence one day and you need to face up to things without them, but not for a dear friend.
Santosh Pande was my best friend. No question about it. We were together in school (bench mates), then in IIT Kharagpur, and then on to our executive life in Delhi. He married Ratna, who I knew from childhood as well, as our parents were colleagues at work in CMERI, Durgapur. So, when they got married, I used to proudly say, that I am from both sides. We grew up together with huge amount of mutual respect. For me, it was a privilege that he loved me so much, I learnt a lot from him as he was our class topper and a fantastic human being.
Santosh always liked my charisma, and he said so, on many occasions, openly. Me on the other hand was in a bit of an awe of him, respecting him hugely, for his academic brilliance and as a true friend. When I wrote I DID IT MY WAY, he and Ratna came all the way to Kolkata from Delhi just to attend the event and he was so very happy to be a part of my life that day.
Last one year, I have been a little out of touch with him physically because I came over to Dubai, but we continued to share our thoughts, both political and otherwise over Whatsapp. Suddenly he was gone! I never knew it will strike me so hard. For the last 9 days as much as I try, he is not going away from me. That really tells me the purity of love he showered on me, which must have penetrated deep inside.
RIP, Santosh .
I have now got to accept the “Santosh-less” life of mine going forward.
Stay well, my friend, wherever you are.
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