Friday, April 25, 2008

I wish it had been something else I was writing

We remember the dead by what they meant to us.
I didn't know him at all. But I used to see him on the bridge with his girlfriend. We would laugh in our little corner, wishing they'd get a room. But then they kept at it, and we just got used to having them around. He was another bridge fixture, like we were. Weaselly little boy, always on the look-out for a joint. And now he's dead of an OD.

Is it just me or does it happen to everyone that when you hear that a friend, or a relative, or just a distant uncle or that boy you knew existed, passed away, the first thought that comes to mind is, "Why did it have to be someone I know?"? Why did it have to be someone I can associate with a face and a body and a voice. And glimpses from the past. Maybe it's just me.

One mustn't speak ill of the dead. I haven't very nice things to say about him. In all honesty, I don't know when the news of his death stopped being about him and became about me. The news came to me in an offhand way. Some boy in my department had died, I was informed. And I remember thinking of this other girl, who, a few days back had written that she couldn't stop crying. And at that time I'd thought she was crying because she had maybe messed up a test. And I thought I'd message her and say something inane like "stay away from Derrida, he cashed in on his poor spelling skills", but then I thought better of it because she's another person I don't know but was used to seeing around. I know you read this blog occasionally, and I want to say I feel stupid now. Although you probably didn't have to know any of this. Hang in there.

In the midst of life we are in death.
It's amazing how you think your life is pretty unremarkable and you've got it all chalked out, and then suddenly someone dies of substance abuse. I used to do all that myself, because hippie trash seemed like an effective emotional outlet. It wasn't. Maybe I was lucky I began falling sick and knew I had to stop. Or maybe I grew up.

I hope his parents forgive him. Jackass. I hope he finds what he was looking for.


March Hare said...

the last line makes a lot of sense somehow. that's the first thing i thought when i heard.

Anonymous said...

I think your post is insensitive. You're entitled to your views, of course, and entitled to posting them online, but it might've been humane to spare those who knew him slightly better than you did and liked him.
Like you said, maybe it's just me.
It probably is.

Arundhati said...

i was not friends with him.but i had some long conversations with him on the bridge , mostly about neil gaiman, and poco classes.they were really nice, funny laid back chats.i did not know him well enough to pass judgement now that he is gone. but i knew him well enough to mourn his passing and be really upset, shocked and shaken by it.i have few memories of him.while most were indifferent, the rest were pleasant.

rainbeau_peep said...

march hare,
Yup. The idiot.

The post was a reaction to the news of his death, and its circumstances. It makes me angry, enrages me, when I see people who think they are responsible for their lives alone and don't realize how they affect the lives of others who love them. Yes, I didn't know him, but I saw that he was fondly remembered by many and that his passing away left several people I do know shocked, even devastated.
I've done addiction, I've done pills - I would probably even defend trying it all once (maybe), but I have no sympathy for people who don't know when to stop. Who go so far that it kills them, and who leave behind just a trail of helplessness and anger and ... I have a feeling, even guilt ... while they're gone and it's all over for them.
I have scant sympathy for people who won't try living.
Look at me rant. This is all that rage coming right back. It probably all just boils down to, "why didn't he know when to stop?" I know, it isn't easy. But you know what? You might say it was an accident, in all probability it was, but when a person reaches the point of OD, usually (though not necessarily, I'll admit) they always know this is one step too far, but they'll still take that chance.
Ok, I'll stop. I'm pissed again. I'm sorry if the post offended you (and/or his friends), I didn't mean it to. Like you said, my blog, my views. And it's mostly the rage speaking.

Right. I don't know if this is mourning, in all likelihood it isn't. But his death stirred some pretty strong emotions. Maybe sympathy and shock is how it should be. But I don't want to apologize for the way I feel. It may be insensitive, but I'd rather think of the people he left behind.
My feelings - this - has nothing at all to do with who he was as a person. I didn't know him enough to form an opinion. But I do know how he died. And that is the only thing about him that pisses me off.

Arundhati said...
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Arundhati said...
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Arundhati said...

yeah,but somehow i felt no(or maybe very little) anger.i knew him.he was nice to talk to.he was young and he was about to enroll for his masters this year.

the rest of us are planning our futures. and he is dead.

i feel upset because it makes me feel that some people do have to pay for their wrong choices.and its not like that for everybody else.
most of us do get away scott-free.or at worst, with damages that we can atleast hope to heal over time.
i wish he had that same oppurtunity as we know he never will.
there is a sense of "he got what he deserved-the poor bastard" going around.that he was unhappily but inevitably punished for his own ill doings. what horrifies me is the finality and irreversibility of his "punishment".it seems way too harsh.and unfair.and for that, i have infinite sympathy and sorrow for him. i always will.

ok.does not make much sense.i am not good at articulating grief.but you know what i mean.

Poorna Banerjee said...

His parents are dead too. If I am not mistaken.

Arundhati said...

Yes Panu, you ARE mistaken. I dont see HOW or WHY that is relevant, though.

Anonymous said...

Look at the terms by which we construct our thoughts. Whoever said he considered having had made mistakes, which must be bookended by the swift and inevitable (but unfortunate) punishment? Who are we to decide for him postfacto what line he wanted to draw where, why or when. Sadness is not about the inability to appropriate the lost friend within our own li'l value systems. Does one know that if he lived his life again, he'd not prefer exactly the same "mistakes" over things which mite seem ok to us (or them) but not to him? I don't know any such thing, and the least he'd be entitled to is a choice.

it's almost as if the departed, having met a permanent factual resolution, must thereafter serve to catalyse our own insecurities and self-righteous poses.

i dont care what he'd have become by toeing the line more. my friend, however much or little i knew him, was the person who lived by the choices he made, not the cricket-toting professionally-driven regular guy he cudve become. maybe he doesn't get to pull his own strings any further, maybe the show's out of his hands, but as friends the least we can do is remember with respect whatever he did with the strings when here.

Arse Poetica said...

"Weaselly little boy, always on the look-out for a joint."

There was more, just as Soumik and Sudipto said.
It's cruel to reduce a life to this.
I remember him going for a silly little quiz with three silly little first years and answering a quirky little question on Kipling.I remember that he was wearing a Puma jacket which he took off when one of the aforementioned first-years was shivering with cold(not being blessed with the common sense of carrying warm woollies in winter) and I also remember a strange wistful joint rolled in a stray street tucked away in Ballygunge.
Sometimes vision is reductive, sometimes opinions. But when memories are reduced to defining a human life what do you do? Maybe the weasel was really a Hercules, maybe the joint was a metaphor we cannot understand.
Yes, so he might have messed it up. Bigtime. It's not about just speaking well of the dead, a well that you don't mean.It's about the memories and the little hurts, the missed possibilities... the tragedy not only of the death, but the fact that its ignoble nature is in itself reduced to a cliche.
What his parents feel, oh so shocking...ODed, eh? Police Case?Cardiac Arrest?If he'd just stick to G and not do chemicals, oh d'ya know we did it the first time with him, gawd he was irresponsible yadda yadda...
So why didn't you shake him in time? eh?Stop him?Advise him? Ask him whether something was wrong?

Sorry for the rant. "I guess it's just me." It always is. Always.Pity, really.

Arse Poetica said...

Not "you" you I meant. I meant"you" in general. "We" is perhaps more apt. This isn't intended for the writer of this blogpost at all, more or less for all of us.All of us who feel bad, who saw him around, who, in the name of praising his free will or condemning his utter irresponsibility, failed to save a human life.