Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Chp 559. Rest In Peace Zuala

I’ve been playing this song by Ozzy Osbourne for the umpteenth time since yesterday - "See You On The Other Side". A continuous loop on my playlist. Because yesterday, I got the sad news that my dear friend Zuala is no more.

He breathed his last yesterday after being admitted at New Life Hospital in Aizawl for organ failure three weeks ago. How I prayed he would get better, and sometimes the news I got were reassuring… but yesterday his condition became worse and there was nothing the doctors could do anymore…

Dammit… Bro… :(

Only the good die young they say… No bro… you just can’t leave us like that. :(

The ironic thing about my relationship with Zuala is that, we met online back in the mid 2000. Back then we had this popular Mizo community website called misual.com, and he was one of the most prominent members there, contributing insightful articles, comments and opinion on various issues. We agreed on almost everything and bonded right then. He was known as "zualbonez" in the online world, and that was how everybody knew him as, including me. It was only when we finally got to know each other personally that we realized he was none other than my senior in School at St. Thomas Khidderpore back in the early 90’s. We actually knew each other back when we were kids! His dad Pu Ropianga was even my LG (local guardian) when he was the LO (liaison officer) of Mizoram House, Ballygunj Road during those days.

Small world, we used to say, laughing about how our paths had crossed such a long time ago. The Zuala I knew back in STBS might have been all blurry because that was such a long time ago, and I joined another school in '92. But the Zuala I knew later had been one of permanent friendship. Whenever I visit Delhi due to work, I would always stay over at his place.

[online friends meet-up, 2010. video version - youtube]

In Zuala, I found a lot of similarities. What we liked, what we despised, we shared the same wavelength because we had a similar upbringing. He had this immense passion for cooking, was a great cook, and boy he loved to experiment. We had the same taste of music and spent hours discussing about speed metal and oldschool glam rock. Our late night chats ranged from his experiences in IIMK to management and business related topics to foreign policies and sports to social and political conditions of Mizoram. We always had a lot to talk about... how unfortunate I now have to write all that in past tense.

He even took to blogging for a couple of years. When I read his most recent blog post today, I felt stifled, trying my best to hold back a tear, only to realize that was impossible. His latest post on his blog will certainly move you too; it is perfectly apt for this moment…

"whisper nearby the leaves of the trees
i lean near to overhear what they say.
An angel from the sky is what i hear,
and of me a being from below.
They sing of our union of sky and 'neath."

True indeed bro.. Let the angel from the sky sing of your union today...

I wish I could have spoken to him on the phone one last time, but unfortunately even our friends who went to visit him were not allowed to see him because he was admitted inside the ICU. But I had enough sources who continuously updated me about his condition every day. And yes, it brought a smile upon my face when I read that he still had his sense of humour...

Suddenly, what he joked about is now no longer funny. And all this had been so sudden, I'm still finding it hard to come to my senses. It felt like just yesterday when I would message or call him to let him know I was landing in Delhi, and he would immediately be like "Brooo come stay overrrr" even though I had my own company guesthouse accommodation. The past three years, I was in Delhi a lot of times, making at least 2-3 business trips every month. So, yeah, I was always showing up at his house.

And when both of us were back at his pad, we would be like, "Let's call up Fonzieee" (another dear friend I met through misual.com) and then we would call him up and even if Fonz was too tired or didn't feel like going out, we would keep pestering him until we changed his mind. And then the three of us would go out and paint the town red. How I miss those days.

Zualbonez showed me around Delhi and we met up with other misual.commers like lushaier (Pu Hluna), chemtatrawta (Hriata), violette (Manuni) etc. Oh those memorable dinners and talks we had. Unfortunately, I don't have any good quality pics of those moments to post here. But there were those memorable times when we took out my cousin to Route 04 at CP. Or the time we paid a surprise visit to our friends Toya and band performing at Striker Pub in Gurgaon. He always had the energy to treat a guest well.

What is left now, are not just memories, but his online imprints. Reading his comments on my old blog posts now leaves behind a sad feeling of depression. Reading our old Facebook messages or going through some of his last comments at misual.com definitely is heartwrenching.

But as my cousin said... let's remember the happy times, the times when he was happy. I am really going to miss Zuala, my friend, my brother. This is one blog post where I cannot find enough words to express how I feel. Today they are burying my friend in Mizoram. And being thousands of miles away makes it even more harder for me to find closure.

Rest In Peace my brother. I'll see you on the other side.