Fool's gold

Fool's gold

'...So Death be not proudfor those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow, Die not...'

It was 40 days ago that a dear friend sneaked away from this life leaving behind his mortal remains and us, his friends, shocked and grieving.  


Four hours after his passing, a group of us received an e-mail from his inbox that sounded the ultimatum – a virtual death knell. The subject line read, “Fools Gold” and the message, “… being the rascal that he is, he slipped away…without informing anybody. There will be no further communication from this email id (as dictated by him sans date and time).” While we brooded in shocked silence, he had had the last word!

The mailing list of people that received this message was an eclectic bunch of people living across the globe with varied interests, passions and careers. Contemporaries, colleagues, compatriots, cousins, columnists and comrades created a circle. The vertical list of strangers, some acquaintances and a few friends transformed into a circle as we shared stories, anecdotes, quotes, web links, reminiscences, poems and songs. We grieved and went on with the business of life. This was a space where silence and words filled the emptiness caused by one who had “slipped away.”

Names that he had mentioned in his conversations now became people. Separate worlds that he had inhabited now became one. Psychotherapists and naturopaths, Reiki masters and Zen practitioners, researchers and educationists, media and IT professionals, rebel students and liberal teachers – he had woven us all seamlessly into the fabric of his life.

All these different threads created a tapestry that enriched his simple sojourn in the green valley of Ujjire.  ‘Simple living but high thinking’ couldn’t have had a more honest interpretation in my dear friend with his hand-loom dhoti and shirt, khadhi waistcoat and his recycled rubber-soled slippers. (He was visibly upset when the cobbler raised the price by 15 per cent.) 

He wasn’t pretentious as some are, when they espouse some philosophy. Instead he unabashedly enjoyed a swig of rum, hearty food, good movies, the latest paperback, dark chocolate and chin-wagging with friends about everything and nothing.

My dear friend couldn’t have left a clearer message. Engaging with life in all its goodness – this was his life’s principle. Raising communities of real people through real conversations – that was his passion. Everything else  – ‘Fool’s gold’!

This was his final masterpiece, a stroke of genius, a revelation and a legacy. “...So Death be not proud…for those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow, Die not…” for here he stands – ‘right in the middle,’ in spirit and in truth.

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