Wednesday, May 25, 2011

An Obituary of Sorts.

It is an unnatural phenomenon when the young die young. Even after 15 odd years, my friend Sonali's demise kept hovering on the periphery of my existence; poking me, prodding me, nudging my sensibilities; the phenomenon a complete conundrum to me. More so because the elements seemed to have defeated the impervious youth at their own game. Sonali was bright, beautiful, and kind. She wanted to see the world and she did. She did this with such ferocity that the skies opened for her. She circled the world many times over. I cannot point the way to heaven but do hope her spirit is rested, refreshed, and replenished with all the flights she has taken.  

I never thought she would go away. In fact, I never believed it - for her, for me, for anyone else. There was a cloak of invincibility which was hard to shake off; or perhaps it was the obdurate nature of things that prevented me from seeing. Sooner or later I would have to  let my guard down; I did and it was scary. The water was too when it rose up and swallowed my friend. Was this the rush she desired? Did she have a moment to breathe or did she hold her breath never to take one again. What happened to the gentle rhythm of life? Were we not destined to oscillate; to glide with the ebb and flow of life?

RIP Sonali. 
For years, I've wanted to know what happened. I gleaned bits of information from here and there. I did not say good bye; well I did but not with the intention of never seeing her again. There were some regrets at not keeping in touch. I don't remember life being that full that it allowed me to fail so miserably at reaching out. It's that apathy that we all fall into; that glaze which blocks our vision. I should have allowed chinks of light to penetrate the armor. My friend Anu said let it go. I said it was unfinished business and could not be laid to rest. Other friends like Rohin, Reena, Chhabi and many more never gave up missing Sonali. She continues to come alive ever so often.

Many years ago, Sonali gave me Roget's Thesaurus. I still have it. The web almost destroyed it but words of endearment inside made it almost sacrosanct. She often visits me in my dreams which Doc Samson said was the creative force striving to be unleashed. Another friend Kat made it her mission to seek and destroy all myths surrounding the affair. She said she will find a rock for me and carry Psalm 40 with her; she said we will bury this together. I have to do this for all of us; I also have to borrow Emily Dickinson for the closing: my life closed twice before its close; it yet remains to see if immortality unveil a third event to me, so huge, so hopeless to conceive, as these that twice befell; parting is all we know of heaven, and all we need of hell.

Thank you Kat and all who helped. 


  1. Kat's Pause:
    Thank you Joyce. Sophia Group brought us into each other's universe, Sonali brought us closer. I am touched and honoured you shared your thoughts and feelings, I am thankful you shared some of Sonali with me. I am going to Shum Wan Rd this evening, lay a wreath, thank her. Sonali lives on, doing what she did..flying around the world, bringing the world home ... from Illinois to Hong Kong ... Amen.

  2. Gita Viswanath: So well written, Joyce, yr best till date in my opinion. i am in sympathy with you. I can understand what bereavement is having known it so closely.

  3. Do that Kat. Thanked the Officer as well. You have done me a tremendous favor by bringing this to a close of sorts. It took me more than 10 years to get to this. You did it in a few days. Perhaps we owe thanks to Sonali as well. I hope she is feeling a little better now. Do remember to say a few words from me as well; perhaps leave a rock somewhere. I have to call and talk with you soon very soon. Thanks. xxx

  4. Rohin Parekh:
    good venting and good to share the hidden sentiments of your heart, joyce. Never regret! Everything happens for a reason.. It had to be like that the way you lost touch in between... That makes u realise how much she meant to u after she has left us and u pine for her existence through yr dreams! Good idea to bring sonali alive between us like this!! well written...
    ‎@kat. ps convey my warm and sad feelings to Sonali when u lay the wreath.. Tell her I love her and do still miss her a lot. She used to visit me here in the Uk when she was working for "Cathay Pacific". She certainly had some impact on me during her life other wise i would not miss her so much ! Bless you kat!

  5. Loney Jacob:
    Thanks for sharing Joyce. You have written well and I can feel what all of you, close friends of Sonali's, are going through. I too feel sad, even though I knew her only from a distance. Achar told me long ago and I still don't know what actually happened...but I do pray that you have reached some kind of closure and Sonali is happy in her final resting place...I remember her as pretty, charming and friendly and your piece helps in keeping the good memories intact.
    Wednesday at 3:44am

  6. Neera Pant:
    Extremely poignant Joyce.Thank you for letting us know all the details about the sad episode in your life.Any death is tragic especially when it is at such a young age.and of a friend...May you find closure in all this..and hope Sonali will continue to smile at you always..
    Wednesday at 6:44am

  7. Nan Joshi:
    You've said it all sweetheart . . . now the rest here - is , what you don't know. . . that too I hope fills the crevice & cements the closure . I know how this feels love , but only YOU know how this feels ~ so don't let it turn you upside down & inside out . . . feel better soon !!!
    Wednesday at 7:55am

  8. John Samson:
    there are things in life that we may never be able to resolve fully, but are the better for trying.
    Wednesday at 11:05am

  9. Thank you John. Your wise words are a big help. Should have checked with you about this. I could've avoided some headaches :) Wednesday at 5:02pm

  10. Chandrika Sharma:
    I have nice memories of an always happy and laughing sonali. nice to keep the memories that way
    Wednesday at 10:11pm

  11. Pavan Kukreja:
    Joyce, although I did not know ur friend, I do hear and sense yor prayers are with her, my dear -- may she R.I.P and Kat's you have been a blessing in disguise in many ways. God Bless you, do say a prayer from my side too, asking to easer my friend Joyce's that she may be able to move on and a prayer for her friend's peaceful journey, in her her new abode.

  12. Pavan that is such a gracious prayer and thought. Thank you. Yes Kat's been a blessing. Thanks to the Sophia Boarding Group. All this happened in less than a week from Kat's initial obduracy at even reading the Blog, then reading it, some turning points, some homecoming, and now this. We decided to do the Psalm 40 plus U2 for today. I sent out a collective prayer for all those who've lost a loved ones; parents, grandparents, child, aunts, uncles; cats, dogs, everyone. Om Shanti :)

  13. Kat's Pause:
    Will do Pavan...Joyce...I FOUND IT...I FOUND a beautiful rock! You would love it...I almsot want to mail it to you...I stepped out and onto the one thing I never thought I would see readily in HK...and it was right there...Thank you so much for your prayers, See you tomorrow :-)