I have lost my friend Manoj Beborta. He was my best friend of more than two decades. He had my every secret and knew my every mood. When I thought of my own future, right until the moment of my death, he was always there in the picture with me. And now he is gone, never to come back.
He used to talk about quitting his job and starting something of his own. He used to fall asleep in cinema halls as I excitedly tried to explain films to him. He was my baby brother and he is now lost to me. The first time I met him, it was because he and I were both afraid of talking to girls and bonded over it, laughing at each other and ourselves.
He was the joker in every gathering and a fierce friend to everyone who knew him. He was the sort to leave his house at midnight and run to help a colleague stuck in a strange place. People trusted him.
I used to tell him his heroism will bring his end to him. But it ended up being a meaningless hospital bed in a world that will now probably remain meaningless to me forever. Manoj was half of me. And half of me no longer exists. Nothing makes sense anymore.
We heard from adults all around that they don’t have friends. But to us, it was always a bewildering thought. How can people not have friends, we used to wonder. Because we were literally inseparable. He was a second son to my parents and used to crash at my place so often people sometimes thought he lives with me. He found his true calling only a few years ago. It was fitness and running and cycling and MMA. And he was excellent at it.
He recently bought a mountain bike and planned to explore once the Covid storm passed. We had even discussed the possibility of his becoming a certified fitness trainer. This is a life that will now never be lived. Empty blueprints never to become buildings. He will never groan at my jokes again. He will never call me in the morning to tell me he has woken up.
Manoj could build a rapport with anyone. He had worked at several mainstream media organisations and was valued by his colleagues as a dependable presence. But most importantly of all, he was something I have always found to be in short supply in our world. He was pure of heart.