Life may begin at 30, but it doesn’t get real interesting until about 150 – This is oft celebrated quote of a Biker. Just like the two ~18 year Olds that I happened to know up close. Anything and everything about them was about Biking, Speeding and LIVING!!! Nothing else really mattered – Revving it up defined their very existence.
It was exactly a year ago that I met these two vivacious young guys, one from the Northern and the other from Southern part of Karnataka. In their own words (which was one of the Facebook posts), it was a relationship that was truly transformational for them and in one year these two guys went from being strangers to pals beyond the worldly definition. One extremely outgoing, outspoken and the other exactly the opposite.
That was Shan and Devadas for you.
Yeah! this bubbly character was all over the place – much liked by everyone on the campus without an exception. An active member of his House, a few weeks ago was instrumental in his house winning the overall championship with wonderful presentation and assist of Creativity championship on the World Youth Skill’s day (on July 15th 2016 to be precise). He zoomed away on the Award presentation day on his bike to be with his sister who celebrated her birthday.
When he invited me over to his home in Coorg during the next vacation, I casually told him, don’t risk invitation, I may really land up during Dasara for the famous Madikeri Dasara procession (which I have attended many years ago). I then dismissed it as an idle invitation for the sake of formality, on seeing me on his way out.
In the words of all the close friends & the teachers (and the number are too huge to name them all), your smile could light up the entire campus, your enthusiasm and pleasing personality was infectious.
To the best kept secret of yours – this prized possession, the BIKE that you lived for. I wish I had known this earlier. Probably it was not meant to be since I wouldn’t have approved that at all – would have tried to dissuade you (unsuccessfully, I am sure). With the benefit of hindsight I am sure you would have chosen to LIVE for and on the bike and nowhere else.
Coming to Devadas, he was a true background person. Never seen, never heard but discovered later that he lets his hair loose in the company of Shan like no one else. His FB timeline was a litany of quotes – those that turned out prophetic (quotes may not be original, but he had the uncanny knack to pick the right quotes to go with pictures)
As his sister told me, Bikes were an inseparable extension of his very existence. Give him a bike and he would not ask for anything else in the world. Sharing some pictures and quotes he used to prove it (sourced from Devadas’s Facebook TL – you can click on the link to reach there, if it is still working). Look at the prophetic captions of his pictures he shared on Facebook.
Ufff!!! The above lines turned out ominous. You both couldn’t get back on. As I understand speaking to the family a KTM Duke was on its way as a Rakhi gift from your sisters on 17th August 2016.
Unforgettable July 28th 2016 evening, just 30 minutes after the class hours (5:24 pm to be precise), when my mobile phone rang – A call I wish no one else should ever receive in their life. That less that 5 minutes of the ride that began at Zero accelerated to a speed when needle must have touched thrilling numbers & suddenly ended up being stationary – ending up in an Eerie silence!
Being there within 10 minutes made no difference. You were already on the eternal onward journey – a different vehicle, a different destination – (knowing you both, I am sure the vehicle would again be your favorite bike). I can’t kill those moments from my memory. Two souls, so full of life when I saw them 30 minutes before and to find them physically lifeless, bruised and battered is simply not done. No my dearest children, this is simply not done.
Bike was what both of you lived for and in the end Died for (died on). A relationship from being strangers to friends to brotherhood and now I add, partners in departure too. Unbelievable that you guys are not physically around – but spirited guys that you were, you have given me and and around 2000 folks on the campus lovely memories. I only wished we had you physically too. A lot of “if only….” remains. The uncertainty of life brings about a realization about futility of stuff that we fight and “stop living” for. As I go around speaking to folks who knew you better than me, you both embodied the spirit of LIVING.
Personally, both of you my dear children were too young to leave us with mere memories, however lovely and memorable they are. How I wish you LIVED IT UP for all of us for years and years to come. You were always cheesy and full of cheers which will be miss terribly.
In these difficult times, I am joined by nearly 2000 of my student friends and colleagues on the campus to say, Our thoughts and prayers are with Shan and Devadas’s near and dear ones. We express our deepest regrets on this irreplaceable loss and extend all required support. We pray even harder that the family is bestowed with strength to go through this difficult period
Prayers Session for the Departed
Remember! If you ride like there’s no tomorrow, there won’t be. Just like 29th July 2016 & thereafter did not come for Shan and Devadas. Our families and so many of near ones deserve better. Please wear your helmets. Breeze on the unprotected head may raise your hairs, but only if your head exist. Dying on the roads is simply not worth it! Lives are so precious. Losing productive 18 year olds are not only traumatic to parents but also to everyone around them – also unfair to the Divine who sent us down for a purpose.
Finally Shan! I was informed by the family you were serious about the invitation to visit your home and you told them to expect me for sure. Thanks for thinking that I was a cool Principal (that is how you described me to your Aunt) Yes, they should expect me there. I intend to keep up the promise to you, to visit. I will drop in some day, because for me you are still around in various forms at home.