Sunday, August 9, 2015

Anthem Challenge#11

I was in my first year and I met AM at a friends party. We became best friends in no time. He was 2-3 years elder to me and perhaps wiser. He was a marine engineer and lived on the seas for 6 months in a year. Whenever he was in town we would meet often. It was a good friendship. We used to talk to each other for hours without any romantic involvement. Both of us were with people we thought were for life. We were at a stage in life where we had weird ideas and philosophies (I still do). We would discuss Fountainhead, stardust, friends and music mostly for hours.

Whenever he was on the sea he would send me letters (handwritten ones in different colors). I had a permanent internet connection and a lot of times I asked him to send me emails and he was not happy with the idea. He thought the world would be really different in the next 10 years and we would become slaves to technology. Emails will lose their meaning in no time, was his standard reply. Who knew he could see the future.

His only dream was to buy a Harley Davidson bike with his own money. He was from a pretty well off family where money couldn't really stop you from doing anything. I think this was the main reason why he didn't follow his family and became a Doctor. He was different and wanted to carve his own niche.

Jamaica Farewell By Harry Belafonte

Back in 2005 when he left for his assignment he gave me a CD with this one song. I remember calling him and asking the reason for sending me this song only. He had very casually ignored it and said it was just a goodbye song and there were no hidden meanings. In the months that followed I got really busy with my company placement exams. Most of it was self imposed because somewhere I thought that his intention was not casual. I was busy looking for that "perfect" job. Things became normal soon after. We were able to put this incident behind us and carry on with being friends. When he came back from his assignment I was busy with my final year madness so I couldn't meet him for a month. I had so many things to tell him. The job, friends, Atlas Shrugged which I had finally managed to finish.  One gloomy morning I got a call from my friend to inform me about AM's accident and his death. It was a drunken driving case. He was on his bike with a friend, both of them were drunk and met with an accident late at night. Both of them didn't survive. It was a shock for me. He was a 22 year old and I never expected that. I had expected him to be around forever. I had expected us to be best friends forever.

I never went to his funeral. I guess I should have for it would have provided me with some closure.
I mourned for my loss alone with this song in the background. I said goodbye in his style.
With time I just smile whenever I think of him. I lost a friend to drunk driving. I sometimes regret the fact that I skipped his funeral but I was not ready for that. I never reached out to his family or to his girlfriend. I know I should have. I associate this song with him every time I hear it.

I have heard his song so many times ever since. Each time in a different way. The other day I heard this song in the car and I thought of him. Sometimes you tend to associate songs with events. This will always be a farewell song. The end of a friendship, relationship and moving on:

It is a beautiful song. Give it a try! 



  1. It is indeed a beautiful song. Sorry to know about your friend. There is a sense of resignation in this song, that I have never come to terms with. But, that's never stopped me from hearing it again and again.

  2. Hi Atul - Yeah, I have tried really hard to not to put this story here but couldn't resist.
    The sense of resignation is more to do with Harry Belafonte than the song actually. What do you think?

    All Harry Belafonte songs have this carnival-ish feeling in the background and this one is no exception.
    Love love love this song and over a period of time its effect has only amplified..

  3. Oh how I love this song.. we were taught this in school..I guess 6-7 grade.. :)
    Thanks for reminding me of this beautiful song.