Remembering G: The big brother

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When I put this post up on my Facebook page, I had no clue whether what I was ready for what I was doing. It was opening up my entire life with Gaurav up for public scrutiny. Somehow I hadn’t thought much about it. I was sitting with my Facebook page open, and I just started writing this. Before second thoughts could hit, it was posted.

All I wanted perhaps was to impress on people that life is but momentary. It can snuff out any day. So don’t focus so much on tomorrow, there might not be one. Live today.

And in the end I’m glad I did it. So many people, long lost, reached out to me from all over the world. Some called, some messaged, some commented here and a few reached out on Facebook. One message that I loved was from Gaurav’s sister. She wasn’t related to him, but they grew up together and she sent him rakhi‘s without fail every year. And when we got married, I started getting one too.

Here is what she said:

“My phone’s battery was 95% when I started with your first blog. When I kept the phone down it was 35%. I didn’t even realise I was hooked on to my phone for 2.5 hours. You know when you keep on reading a novel and in the end you become a part of it, an unseen character following the people in the story. I feel a part of you and G now, where I cried with you in each of your blog and smiled at how and what all he did to make people around him happy and involved.

We never talked, but after reading your stories I want to share with you the cheerful memories I have of Gaurav. Gaurav Shanbhag. Though I remember playing a lot with Gautham, with Gaurav I remember 3 particular episodes.

One is where I thank him for teaching me how to ride a bike. While everyone wanted their share of ride, no one was really interested in teaching me but Gaurav used to run beside and helped me learn. Thank you Gaurav.

Second was not so successful event where he was teaching me how to fly a kite in a park, but why I remember this particular day is because someone tried to bully me and he came as an elder brother defending me and then backing me up, and I remember how the other child ran. Ha. That’s the best feeling to have when you know you’ve got an elder brother to protect you. Thank you big brother

Third is something I am not really proud of, and I regretted even then but I was a small girl. We fought on something, aunty took my side and scolded him. I ran back to my place but I saw him crying. I felt really bad or I feel bad now when I remember that day for making him cry. I should have gone and said sorry. I don’t remember if I did apologise or no , but I still remember his face when I recall our memories.

We had tenants before them and even after them, but I never had the same relationship with them what I have with the Shanbhag family. I cherish my childhood memories with them. I was angry when I was told uncle will be shifting. I was so angry that I refused to talk to them in their last week. How stupid was I. Not realising I won’t see them so often now. They are going to a different city. I came running to wave them goodbye. I remember seeing how the taxi they took for the station looked like. I love the Shanbhags. I may not have been in touch but I was always excited whenever I would get any updates about them.

Gaurav came to meet us when he was in college and I was grown up. Grown up yes, because when he left I was in primary department and when he came to see us I was in high school I think. I remember he told me about you. I was happy because he was blushing when he told me he has a girlfriend. I remember his blushing face and I had been wanting to see you since. It must be in 2001-2002 I think. He had a sling bag which I liked and he gifted me then and there. I used that bag for 3 years and told everyone who gifted me. Thank you for the smart and sexy bag Gaurav. 

Thanks to Facebook that I could get his no. After so many years and was in contact with him. I was just happy to reconnect with Shanbhags. And every year I would get call on Rakshabandhan, without fail, no matter if my rakhis were delivered or no. Loved the way he would take the updates in that one phone call and tried to be in touch. Yes I missed that call last year. I will miss it every year now.

When I came to Bangalore in 2012, I was so happy to meet everyone and he took such a good care of me. Treated me so well. Thank you Gaurav for those 5 breezers. The one and only time when breezer had hit me, thank you for that memory 😄

I don’t know why I decided to write you. Your blogs connected so much that I want to be in touch with you when the baby comes. I am believer. I read your blogs and I see what destiny is. I keep on asking what’s gonna happen in my life, but after reading your life in blogs, I realise how each and every act is important for what’s already decided. Thank you for those words. That’s all I can say. I can’t understand the pain the suffering, but all I can send you is more positive wishes to the many you already have. I still consider myself an immature who doesn’t know what to say at such events, which is why it took me 10 months to msg you. I am sorry if something in my msg hurt you. I am sorry.

You are an inspiration in many ways I don’t know how to answer. Now I understand why Gaurav was so excited and proud at your publications, your achievements. He is as much lucky to have you as you were to him. You guys make an adorable couple. A perfect couple.

May the universe be with you and bless you with what you need and desire. Lots of love to you and G. ❤”

It’s a beautiful message for so many things. It gave me a glimpse of Gaurav as a kid and I could see him running besides her on the bike and pushing away the other kid and crying in a corridor. It was so real for me that I could have gone and wiped away his tears. I’ve never spoken with anyone about his childhood after he died. Earlier we’d tease him about a lot of things he did as a kid, but we’ve been quiet on this subject for now. This message opened up a door to more fond memories. It made me understand a little of how his mom might be visualizing him. He was hers alone long before I came in to the picture. She’s known him as I never can. But I want to know him. I want to know all those stories that were a manifestation of what he was. Now when we get talking about him, I’m going to ask about his childhood. It’ll be painful, but sometimes there is catharsis in pain.

Thanks for sharing this M, love you for it! And if anyone else has any stories to share, please do. I’d love to get them, because each story is also a piece of him.


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