In Memory of An Acquaintance

DeathSomeone once said that you either make friends for a lifetime or acquaintances who you easily forget. Until one morning, when you hear about their death, and then you don’t know how to react. All the memories come running back to you, of when you were first introduced to that person, of how you felt about them, and how you were only friends with them because your best friend knew them. Closely. One of my “acquaintances” from school passed away this morning. I didn’t know how to react. You could say that I’m in denial, or that I never really had any attachment to her, apart from meeting her at reunions or talking to her online every now and then. What happens when a distant relative passes away? A wave of nostalgia later, we’re fine. It is funny how only a death can make us realize the true worth of the deceased, and the day of their death, we spend much more time thinking about them than we ever did while they were alive. Does it make a difference in our lives? The most we would do is sympathize, discuss, forget and sympathize again when the topic comes up in school reunions and family gatherings. We would laugh at stories from their childhood or school days, shed a tear or two, but finish with it that very evening. I know it is being more than ambitious to expect anybody to heavily feel their loss apart from family and close friends, but the truth is, sometimes, even acquaintances feel the loss, without the tear show.

After the death, you bring out their good points, meticulously discuss their lives to anyone you can catch hold of, will run to switch on the TV if their accident is being covered by the news channel, will continuously call all the people who know details about their funeral and the family’s reactions, but will not attend the funeral. Why? Because we’re scared, we’re all scared because this could have easily happened to us. We’re scared for the families dealing with the death, we’re scared for the friends who’re shattered, and we’re scared mostly for us, because it is during the funeral that we might break down, but we’re not ready for that, we haven’t come to terms with the death yet. The question is, will we ever?

The worst part is, when the death happens due to drunken driving, nobody waits for a minute to trash the person involved and pass judgments. The first comment we make is on the lack of responsibility in the person involved. Never do we once sit back to think that it’s possible for a person to get carried away, that not everybody can maintain their ground, and be on the good side all the time. It just gets very scary then, because you tend to recall every time you didn’t exactly do the right thing. It is now that I regret not getting to know the acquaintance. I wish I responded to her questions on MSN. I wish I’d get one more chance to talk to her, get to know her better. I wish I didn’t believe the silly rumors about her and formulate a baseless opinion. I wish I didn’t request the Psychology teacher to change my partner when she was made mine, because I thought she was dumb. Apparently you learn from your mistakes, but she wont be around for me to rectify. Unfortunately, it took me her death to realize the mistake.

So all those who’re reading this, go talk to that acquaintance you’ve been ignoring for a while, you never know when you’ll be greeted with a tragic phone call early in the morning… carrying the news of his/her death.

Swetha Ramakrishnan

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