I cannot describe how I felt today. I met with an old colleague cum friend after almost 8 years. When I looked at him, he was limping. I felt a tightness in my heart thinking he may have met with an accident. He was weird. I never understood him, his discussion topics and his jokes. So, when he started talking, he stammered and his usual ways were odd but I thought that’s him.
We stood in front of the coffee corner and started ordering. He stood there and kept asking what is good here? He couldn’t decide for a good amount of time on what he wants. On top of that, he got into a fruitless argument with the lady at the counter. It was little embarrassing and for the first time, I sense this is odd.
Wondered what happened in last few years? He was a jackass /a prick couple of years ago. At least that’s the impression I had of him. He kept on asking the lady like a broken record. Something was messed up with him. I carried the drinks and walked towards the table. At the back of my mind, I was thinking if I did a mistake by agreeing to this meeting. I was looking around to see if there were any familiar faces etc. I didn’t want to be seen with that man.
Finally, I found the empty place but he shrugged his shoulder and walked past me, mumbling something like ‘na na’ (that’s no in Indian language). He apparently couldn’t sit without AC or fan. It messes up with his system. By now I had many signs that showed something was not right. I wanted to leave but for old time sake, I decided to sit down and talk for a bit and leave as soon as possible. I was really not sure what to expect next. So I started with what exactly happened?
In the first 3-5mins of conversation, he asked about the lady I mentioned during the conversation if she was single and ready to mingle. That was another of the many signs. I finally ended up asking what happened to his wife? And since then the horror unfolded. I froze for the time he was narrating the story. Midway I was lost in my thoughts. Nothing can be bigger than ‘time’. He was the same guy who used to throw attitude. He did his MBA from one of the top colleges. He was amazingly talented and used to carry that attitude. We were colleagues for good one year but then we moved on into different lives. After few years, I saw him in office lobby where I used to work. He saw me and responded with same idiotic nose high attitude. Probably, he didn’t know the word ‘humble’. I prayed never to see his face again. He didn’t get the job in my company. Not sure if my company could see that he was too smart and overqualified for the job. Ordinary people like me worked there. After that, I never ever saw him or tried to contact him.
Coming back to his story. He said he went through the divorce in the first half of 2017. Without getting into the details, he said there were compatibility issues. He had huge financial problems that he finally got rid of. Till now it is still not bad. Then I asked him why was he limping? He started telling me stories about his random travel and how he went to Mumbai, got drunk and fell on a rock. His head was hurt and then while speaking he realised, he may be indicating that there is something wrong with his brain. So he paused for a while and finally told the truth. He was diagnosed with some brain disease. It was related to brain sending signals to the rest of the body. The disease was much more complicated but in gist, something with body balance. And that’s why he couldn’t walk properly. Usually, people like him end up in the wheelchair but it is his courage that he is holding up till now. He has been suffering from the disease for last 6 years. By the time he finished, I was speechless. My mind started connecting dots about his marriage, health issues and job.
I always wondered where was he? What was he doing? I never ever thought I would see him in this condition. Even in this condition, he was belittling other old colleagues.
Divorce is common in any big and developed city. The system that allows girls to be independent also creates some sort of social problems (that many would disagree). People stop believing in an institution like ‘Marriage’ because they don’t really need that. Why bear so much pain and suffering when you are not happy together? For Indians, marriage is very sacred. One is expected to be with husband and wife in any condition.
Not sure what happened to him. He wanted to touch base regarding job opportunities or projects. I had offered a job in my old company and he declined saying that the pay doesn’t match his last drawn. Now he was ready to work for free.
For me, this meeting felt like a closure. It was divine like. It was a message from god that things are not same always.
While walking back from that meeting, there are few questions that are hovering on my mind –
1) How thankful should we be to god for giving us perfectly functional body and how important it is to take care of it?
2) How crucial is it be humble if you have everything in the world? No one can be stronger than ‘time’
3) Can you really blame anyone for your condition, good or bad? People see you how you behave during good times and then treat you accordingly during bad times.
4) We always complain to god. Can we just stop complaining and thank HIM for everything.
5) We should really not judge people all the time. One doesn’t know what kind of personal battle he/she may be facing.
I am little disturbed right now. Not sure how many more days I would just think about this incident.