Speaking of SS

Memories fade fast. Capturing it while it is in my memory. I lost a dear friend. It is about him. 

My friends will know his identity - not revealing his full name. 

Hardwork and some amount of luck brought 60 of us to this Electrical Department in CEG. Half from Chennai rest from other parts of Tamil Nadu, and a handful from rest of the country. 

Among them was this handsome young man with a cheerful personality who was an instant hit among all of us. He was in the same hostel floor as mine - 2 rooms apart.  

In the English class we had to speak something in English ( duh ) - and based on how we spoke we were to be kept in A section or moved to B to be improved. SS said he is from this Great City called Pollachi near Coimbatore. We all had a laugh and he went on to sell his Pollachi.

I was put in B section and missed similar entertainment from SS in English class. However, SS entertained us almost daily in the bathrooms - with his songs as we waited or were in the adjacent bathrooms. 

SS comes from a humble family. Visited his home after college - one of the memorable trips when we visited his home in Pollachi and went to Top Slip. 1998 Football Worldcup was in progress that time and we were up late watching some game. He had made his mother make bhel poori - he said his mother made the best in the world - which was true - she used Coconut as one of the ingredients - and we enjoyed the love and affection from his sweet family. His father was a retired ( or then retiring ) Principal from a Polytechnic college. 

SS was going to do his Master's. A brilliant mind and I thought he will become a professor. He will grasp the concepts very well and explain to us in a clear manner. 

Back to college days - he was the only person who everyone trusted - hostelites, day scholars, ladies of our batch, the professors, seniors, juniors. He will always go around with a smile, helping others, pulling someone's legs, always ready to give company when we call him for a night show movie in Devi or Satyam, and on Friday's dutifully going to Beasant Nagar AstaLakshmi Temple.

He was the Class-Rep and one of the professors - forgetting his name - will give the question paper to SS a day before the exam, and we were to write the exam without any supervision by him the next day - and turn in the answers. He trusted us, and more than that he trusted SS. SS was in lot of pressure but he stood his ground and did not reveal the Question paper.

He was the chief organiser for any movies ( once a year we went to see Kamal Hasan movies as a whole batch. Don’t remember if we went on Year 3 and 4 ). Also the chief organiser for the study tours! His hand was always there in any event. 

In our final year - one of our Professors passed away. And it was SS's idea to start a trophy in his name. 

We had an intra department sports tournament. We had ladies cricket - could be the first time ever in CEG's history. SS was the umpire for one of the games between and our batch ladies and our junior ladies. Our batch was losing. There was a clamour to abandon the game and restart / continue the next day.  Boy what a shouting match it turned out to be. Both the parties hounded him and he postponed the game. And our batch lost the next day. 

We all graduated and there was still an unfinished work - of the year book. Few of us had started work during the last days of college - but we never got around to complete it and we all went home.

SS was cooling his heels before flying to US for his Masters. I was waiting for my job to start. He temporarily relocated to Coimbatore to one of his relatives home for a couple of weeks to complete the year book. It was one of the most memorable times I had with SS - joking, reading, rewriting and we completed the year book and sent them for printing. 

Couple of years later, when I went to do my MS and had just started my broke student life - he invited us to San Jose that December 2001(?) - he had just started working with Intel that time. He hosted us in his brother’s house and took good care of us. He drove us around in his brother’s car, paid for all our meals in good Indian restaurants - we even got into an accident luckily no one got hurt - but the car took a good hit.

He relocated to India around 2004 I guess. 2006 when we relocated met him at Bombay Post on Old Airport Road, Bangalore - a good hotel in the now infamous and shut down Carlton towers that had a fire accident. His office was just 2 blocks away and we had a nice lunch meeting.

He was driving a Hyundai automatic. Ever practical guy that he is. He had lot of tips for freshly relocated NRIs. 

He was the anchor of all our lunch meets. The probability of meeting goes up whenever he says he will attend. The last lunch meet with him happened almost a year back. 

We were in the middle of organising our 20th reunion - ( we graduated in 1998 ). And as usual SS was the anchor of this event. He used to forward lot of PJs, Health Tips and husband/wife jokes - and someone said - stop forwarding these we need to focus on the reunion.

He said ok and that was the last message he sent that night. Next day early morning he had a severe cardiac arrest and couldn’t be saved. It was his birthday the next day. 

Anyways life has to go on. We are going ahead with this event - with a hole in our hearts. Will gather more of his stories and update here. His son is 5 years and daughter is less than a year now. Will present this to them someday - they should know the great guy their dad was - who we all loved dearly. 


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