Second Chances

“Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing.”

– Elie Wiesel,
American Author,
Nobel Peace Prize 1986

One of the greatest attributes of life is its ability to deny us what we really want and give us what we really need. His life has been a constant game of badly-played chess, with every move as unplanned and sometimes, as stupid as it can get. Talking about friends and how they helped him reconstruct a broken foundation takes him back three years – a time when he almost convinced himself that he was a burden to everyone around him and decided that there wasn’t anything else that he could offer to the world. His time here was up, and he had to make a quick exit – to end his life and escape to that blissful afterworld where there’re no more complaints, no more angry glances, no more walking into a room filled with people who stop in mid-sentence and look at him as though he’s an unwanted piece of garbage, no more hints and subtle suggestions about him being a loser – and he chose the tried and tested path of a blade to the wrist in a bathroom alone at night.

It was in his second year of undergrad that he found out he was really a loser. The faculty treated him with disdain as if they were teaching him only because they were forced to, and his classmates never even acknowledged his presence, let alone talk to him. What was the point to all this, he thought. Why am I here? I don’t belong here because I am not wanted.

The situation at home wasn’t any different as his parents never really had the time to sit with him and talk about anything. There was a big pile of unopened progress reports on the refrigerator, and every day he looked at them in the hope that at least one of them would be opened. His grades were good but not great, and he just wanted his parents to know about the time he got a 25 on 25 in math or the time when he cleared the physics term paper. He wasn’t asking for a pat on the back and he wasn’t asking for a present in return. All he wanted was for them to smile at him occasionally, or at least look at him. He returned every day to an empty house and an emptier home. His time was up.

The person who helped him get through his hurdles – Aziz – died on May 4th, 2006 in Bangalore, India, after being diagnosed with a malignant type of blood cancer. He held his hand in the hospital on the third and told him that he’s going to live in San Jose, California, and that he owed his life to Aziz, because if it weren’t for him, there would have been no second chances.

This post is in memory of Aziz Muhammed, who celebrates his 2-year death anniversary today – a fact I was reminded of by an email from San Jose this morning, an email that gave me the permission to write these words and make his story known to the world. I had had only one cup of tea with Aziz, three years ago, and at that time, Chuckie, who was with me, said, “Life has so many things to show us and teach us and it will, only if we give it a chance to do so.”  Aziz smiled and made me smell the hot steam rising from the cup of tea. I dismissed him as a junkie at that time.

Now, I always smell my tea before drinking it.

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15 thoughts on “Second Chances

  1. There is truth in every word you write, my friend. May he rest in peace. And your friend in san jose deserves to live… everyone does…

  2. @Damein
    Thanks for dropping by… yeah, everyone deserves to live…

    @Meghana
    hehe… yeah, i post quite soon on weekends… nothing else to do, u see! 😀
    and on shantaram, i dunno, the book hasn’t still sunk in!! i’m still dazed… 😀

  3. ‘His life has been a constant game of badly-played chess, with every move as unplanned and sometimes, as stupid as it can get.’

    Yaake- this is what I call beautiful. Its really beautiful. I am a beleiver of the fact that god actually calls good souls before callinng bad souls. I am witness to this fact. I have felt traces of your San Jose’s friend.
    May Aziz’s soul RIP.
    Amen,
    fruity

  4. very very touching.
    //Life has so many things to show us and teach us and it will, only if we give it a chance to do so//
    very true. I have always believed in this. Its us who fail life and not vice versa.

  5. @Fruity
    Thanks! 🙂
    I’m glad someone could relate to this.. I was beginning to feel like a fool for posting it…

    @Tara Prasad
    Ah, indeed! 😀

    @Vishesh
    Where does realism figure in? Most chicks are hens! 😀

    @Amit
    Yup! that should be everyone’s motto! 🙂

  6. I wrote a big comment here and then changed my mind. It was so long that I thought I will make it a post on my blog. And here, I will just say, god send more Aziz bhai to earth to help out some losers here.

    Loser: A person becomes a loser only when he starts thinking that he is a loser.

  7. @vishesh
    If you are thinking what I’m thinking right now, when you say “I am veggie” then we both are very big perverts!!! 😉

    @Suda
    thanks man… I’ll read your post now! 🙂
    And yeah, we need more Aziz’s in the world!

  8. Hey Nikhil, That was really touching, Good post buddy.. I like these words very much..

    ‘His life has been a constant game of badly-played chess, with every move as unplanned and sometimes, as stupid as it can get.’

    //Life has so many things to show us and teach us and it will, only if we give it a chance to do so//

    and I ud more relate to this, as i hv known someone whom we lost to cancer. May Aziz soul, rest in peace..

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