Tuesday, January 10, 2017


He had promised that he will come back to Darjeeling and stay with us for some days. He wanted to finish some work and then take a break, away from the busy life that he had been leading. I still remember his commanding voice, the aura of his personality and despite all that he had achieved in his life, his simplicity.

When I read in the newspapers that Om Puri was no more, I felt I had lost someone who was dear to me. We had met only for a day and as it happen, some of us sat together for almost entire night and discussed life, philosophy and dreams. After arguing, fighting and a debate that went on like eternity we forgot that he was the revered Om Puri. He was just like any other friend with a heart of gold but one who had seen life yet remained unscathed. 

His simplicity was beyond description. Like a true celebrity, he conceded to the demands of children, old aunties and others who wanted to intellectually impress him. Most of them behaved as if they had known him for ages and he was humble and polite.  They just wanted to get clicked next to a Bollywood icon and I could see that this man tolerated, rather than cherished flattery.

I saw in his eyes a loneliness that comes in a man who is true and beyond malice and with whom world rarely does justice. He had a keenness to learn new things and like any other father, was passionate about his son’s grooming. He had great love for this country and was and votary of peace. Talks of hatred and disharmony disturbed him. 

When a TV anchor prodded him and got an undiplomatic response about a martyred Jawan, he was so much ridden with guilt that he went to meet the family in their village. This was a man who started to live on his own at the age of fourteen and despite all that he had achieved on his own, sought forgiveness with folded hands from the family.

For a moment I felt sad that he died a lonely death. It is said that you understand death when it takes away someone near to you, and how much I wish now to sit with him and talk about everything. It is so unnerving to think that I will never meet this man again.

While parting, he gave me a pack of cigarettes. ‘Oh I have nothing to give you and since I love these, keep these as a souvenir even if you don’t smoke’. Today I did take one out and remembered him.

Adieu dear friend, may you rest in peace!

May you get in that other world, all that you truly deserved and this world was not capable to give!

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