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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

RIP Dear Balls...

Sometime in 2004 like most people in our circle, my life was undergoing rapid change. The pressures of work, managing family and the big question of what next was bugging me day in and day out. During one such day where my mind went from one extreme to another, I decided to ride up a hillock that was close to the place I lived at that time. I picked up 2 555's and went up there. I sat there confused and lost and like you might relate to the feeling, wanted to speak to someone. Without even realizing or sparing a second thought, I had dialed out to Ashwin Balaji (Balls for those who were close to him). He picked the call and the comforting voice on the other end immediately put half my tension at ease. I went on and on and after half an hour disconnected thanking him for listening to me.

Going back to that day, if I remember what transpired during the half hour, nothing. There was a one way communication from my end about what my thoughts were, what I was planning to do and more of myself. He didn't say a single comforting word, he didn't tell me a  way to manage the situation and nor did he empathize or sympathize with me. But I felt better after that conversation, because he wasn't judgmental, he didn't say his views on the situation nor did he say something that made me feel bad. He was there on that day as a bouncing wall, a shoulder that I could rest on and a way to vent my fears, anger and frustration.

Ashwin Balaji for most of us was the strikingly handsome person with a smile always on his face. How many of us can claim to know him as a person? Not many! Let me tell you that despite him being incommunicado for most of the time I have known him, he was one of the few people I reached out when I felt like speaking. Of late we used to joke that if Balls picks someone's call, the person should buy a lottery ticket as that would be his lucky day.

On the 6th of April, sitting on the bench outside a hospital 100 kms from Bangalore at 2.30 AM, it struck me... I would never hear that calm voice on the other end of a telephone line again, ever. Pains me to think that such a peaceful, smiling, harmless soul had to be taken away from this world so suddenly, cruelly and untimely.

RIP Dear Balls.