Life crosses our paths with a couple of “special” ones over a lifetime, for which we just need to look upward, smile, and say “Thank You!”- and my namesake and good friend Suresh who passed away 2 days back was definitely one of them.
He came into many of our lives out of nowhere- riding a bullet to college on Day 1 some 30 years ago. While we ordinary ones who accept our fate were being ragged by our seniors outside the college premises in full view of some amused passerby’s- suresh had other plans, and the seniors didn’t exactly know what to make of this “fresher”, who was sitting on a bullet with the engine on and negotiating a Plan B for the “ragging” session. His first job done, suresh only then parked his bike in the parking lot and walked in leaving many of the seniors fuming and going ballistic, but scratching their heads because they knew this guy was no ordinary “fresher”, and many of us freshers just going – “thalaivaa!”
Suresh came from one of the more interesting sides of town you don’t mess with and the next 2 years were just a sheer delight. He was the quiet, tough-guy type, with a heart of gold and got the moniker “Naxal” because of his fearlessness. He was not all brawn though- he won a gold medal for academics and went on to do law degrees in india and another one in international patents law from the university of buckingham in the UK and finally started a law practice in Singapore along with his wife, who is also a lawyer.
Naxal always had an answer for every problem and if he didn’t have one- which many a time was mine 🤨 … he would just smile, say “podlammah?” and pull out a bottle of “old monk”.
Suresh and I lived about 100 meters away from each other in Singapore for a few years and we shared more than a few “tiger” beers at “little india” from time to time. Family life turned suresh into a doting dad and husband- and I always smiled when I saw him walking his kid to the same neighbourhood primary school I used to walk my son nischinth to.
“Naxal” was as clean and as kind as they come. He didn’t harbour a bad thought or grudge and he went out his way everytime for his friends and sometimes strangers too. The last time I spoke to him was a couple of months ago, when some common friends who were having a meetup in singapore decided to randomly put me on video mode and said “ Illa machaan, we were talking about the old times and your name came up and we wanted to speak to you.”
As much as we are reeling in shock at the news of his death 2 days ago in chennai- suresh “left the building” like Elvis would have loved to, leaving us shaking our heads like the day he had entered our lives some 30 years ago. He flew in from singapore on a one way ticket to attend the wedding of his friends son, partied till late into the night and danced like only he would have – smooth, elegant and a joy to behold. I heard he danced till the early hours of the morning at a 7 star hotel In chennai, sat down to take a breather on a chair by the side of the dance floor, had a cardiac arrest and died a death we ordinary mortals can only can dream of.
Naxal I’m sure would not have just walked through those pearly gates of heaven on the merit of a life well lived- he would have rode in on a gleaming Bullet, after having a “talk” with St. Peter and agreeing to have the angels with little harps play an “illayaraja” tune.
Rest In Peace “machaan”!