Happy birthday, Kishan!

Today is the 6th of June, my friend Jaikishan’s birthday.

He passed away many years ago in a tragic accident, and it still hurts me badly.

But rather than grieve, let me mark the occassion by remembering some happier times.

Kishan and I lived in a shed outside his parents’ house- our den. The sloping, tiled roof had wood-roses growing on it, and HUGE caterpillars. The shed itself had two rooms – one was our “bedroom”, the other was our “sitting room”.

Every so often, one of these huge caterpillars would drop down from the roof, and wrigle around on our beds. This was OK during the day – they were really big and hard to miss with their black and gold colouring, but at night was a different story – and we would invarialy wake up screaming in agony as we rolled onto one of these beasts, then laugh ourselves silly. I never figured out what we found so funny, but we would be sitting there, laughing, with tears running down our faces.

Opposite the compound where we lived used to be a huge open field. In summer, and as children, Kishan and I would go there to fly kites, drive our cycles and generally have adventures. Over the years, much of this space was lost as people built houses all over the place, so our “hunting grounds” were lost.

And so Kishan and I would head elsewhere – into the stars.

Often, we would lie in the middle of the compound at night, staring at the sky, and at the stars, and the moon. There was no pollution in those days (and my eyesight wasn’t as bad as it got in later years), and we would marvel at the spread of stellar goodies out there – watching for shooting stars, for aeroplanes, for satellites and for “UFOs” (Unidentified Flying Objects).

And Kishan used to say, over and over again, like a clockwork (to the point of driving me completely batty) – “some day, we will be out there, among the stars. I wonder what we will find there?”

Well Kishan, you are out there now. What did you find?

I still miss you.