Finding Houses of Friends

I had engaged an auto rickshaw now. On phone, my friend π (Pi) from Mumbai was directing me by a running commentary. ‘After you pass the Vallabhbhai Patel statue, a mall with a certain shop on the right, then turn into the lane where a tea shop is on the left’. At the far end of lane, sign board of Professor’s society appeared in front. Now I was close to the house no 11 from here. This was the first house of Jayant bhai (Jayant Patel and family), after they left Lokhandwala in Mumbai in approximately 1999-2000. This lane had confusing numbers of bungalows. So I had to go a little back and forth. Finally I stopped at a twin un-numbered bungalow. It matched my search, as previous and later ones were 9 and 12. Emotions filled me up. Jayant bhai and Bhabhi with kids lived here from 2000 and 2006. I clicked pictures. I became serious in photography due to Jayant bhai only. My first film camera, Contaflex was from him. I could have peeped inside as a care taker had just appeared; but it did not occur to me. When my brain is busy handling other unavoidable stuff, it misses things which it should/could have done.

I went back to call with π (Pi) for marking my attendance at the next house, which was a 4th floor flat. I had to put the phone on speaker and let π speak to the driver directly. It was a better idea, because he was the one who is familiar with the town, while I am completely new here. Shortly the auto stopped in front of a neat four storey blue apartment, ‘Shyam Avenue’, written in Gujarati. I watched the top floor solemnly and thoughtfully, which was their home till the end of their lives (2006 – 2015). Clicked more photos. I sent photos to π, because she has the right to see them first, being Jayant bhai and Bhabhi’s daughter.

In Hindus there are elaborate customs to offer prayers for the peace of the departed souls. Although they were not my real family, I do consider them as my second set of parents. So making this special trip to a place, I have never been, was in absolutely in order and had to be done.

While it may be sad that when we are not able to see our friends before they passed, it’s important to remember that visiting their homes is still a meaningful way to honour their memory and the friendship you shared. It’s also an opportunity for you to reflect on the impact they had on your life and the positive experiences you shared with them.

I take comfort in knowing that my visit was not only for my own sake, but also for the sake of them and their memory.

House No 11

Shyam Avenue

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