Sunday, September 17, 2006

In memory of Gabriel

Gabriel George. The name evokes the fondest memories. My classmate for 4 years , hostel mate for 3 and best friend for life. Ironically , our friendship had what could be hardly called an auspicious beginning.
I joined the Computer Science branch at GEC Thrissur in Aug 1994. Gabriel had already spent one year there in Civil Engg. He wrote the Entrance again and got admission to Comp Sci. So eventhough we were classmates, he knew all our seniors. One of these guys came and ragged me to give him Rs 100. Having been warned beforehand about the dangers of freshers carrying money to college, I told him , quite reasonably I thought, that I couldnt give him money I did not have. If I thought the oldest excuse in the book was going to faze them , I was sadly proven wrong. One of his other senior friends offered to lend me the money to give his friend. I was bowled over by this act of unselfish kindness, till the next day this second guy came and asked me for the money he had "lent" me !!! Of course, when I came to know Gabriel better, he confessed that he had personally chosen me as the "bakra" for this operation. Boy, was I flattered !!! That was the low point in our relationship. Things could only get better from there.
And did they!! The next three years of college were the best of my life. Did all sorts of things - parties, fights , movies, even went to classes when we had nothing better to do (your typical Engg college hostel life).Life seemed one long party. Why did they have to end? But "Life has to go on and a living has to be made".After college we went our separate ways - myself to Chennai and then to Bangalore , he to Hyderabad. We did meet up once in a while. Other than that we kept in touch with the odd email ( sending the reply 2 weeks after getting the mail ). I remember sending him a particularly biting email because he had not sent a reply to a previous mail I had sent one month back.That was the last email I sent him.
Sept 9 2004, how can I ever forget that day. My friend and classmate Ajayan was getting married that day. I called him up to congratulate him. After that I called up some of my friends who I was sure had all gathered in Thrissur for the wedding. I got the news. Gabriel had been in hospital after an accident with head injury for two months and had just passed away the previous day. My friends came to know of the news from a newspaper. Nobody told Ajayan till after his marriage. Then they all went to Gabriel's place in Ernakulam. What could I do? I was stuck Down Under in Melbourne. I dug up the email I had sent him two months back from my Sent Folder and offered a silent prayer. "Unwept , Unhonoured and Unsung" - this line from Ulysses had never seemed more poignant.

Gabby buddy, this round is on me.


piyer said...

Didn't know about Gabriel's passing away until I read this... its hard to hear that one of your classmates is dead, even if it was a person whom you didn't really know well...may his soul rest in peace.

Fahima said...

Gabby was a wonderful guy... He will be always in our hearts....May God rest his soul in peace...Aameen