4 years ago, I was at yet another transition point of my life.
Fresh out of high school, I seized a great study opportunity and went straight for university.
In a whole new territory of strangers, we were all just trying to fit in.
After all, these are the people we were going to live with for the next 5 years.
Heck, we were all set to be friends for life.
We were foolish, naive and young.
Late-night mamaks, weekend getaways, copying assignments, skipping classes, dirty jokes, lame jokes even, birthday celebrations, tasting Ipoh night life, tasting Ipoh chicken rice, getting involved in events and putting our footprints in the university, cramming for exams, cussing the university’s internet connection, saw one basketball court bloom into five, gaming addiction, fights, staying up wee hours in the morning to finish our projects…
…those were the crucial bits that transformed us from loud, brash kids into loud, brash adults.
Hey, you can’t change ’em all.
We thought we would live forever.
They say, “The best time of your life is when you’re in university”,
“Play all you can, cos you’ll be working all your life after you graduate”
and “Life only begins at 30”.
Subconsciously, we believe what they say.
When we hit 17, we couldn’t wait to get our driver’s license. 18? Legal!
And turning 21 is such a big deal because we’re officially adults.
And then we cannot imagine being 30, 40, and so on.
Yesterday, one of us, celebrated his 23rd birthday.
Today, he passed away.
Yes, as blunt and brutal and cold as it sounds – it is as blunt, brutal and cold as it is.
It was so sudden, some of us thought it was a prank. While we found out it was true, it took time to sink in.
While I was having dinner with my church friends, we spoke about our day, our jobs, our personal lives and it dawned on me that all that we worry about, all that we dream and hope for could vanish in almost an instant. What do we leave behind when we’re gone?
Stories. I see the people around me and I see stories. A tale behind every soul that has ever walked on the face of this earth – regardless of how long, where or who.
If Jasmitt had a story to tell, it would be one that speaks about friendship, brotherhood, and staying true to oneself. No pretense, no masks. He’s the kind of guy you’d call to wart off any useless buggers that come your way.
If you were to leave this earth right this moment, what would your story be? Would it be one you’ve dreamed of since you were a kid, or have you been swayed by the harshness of reality to an extent that your story has lost its happy ending?
If you’re reading this, it means you still have time. Proofread. Edit. Add a plot. Add a few more characters. Be a superhero. Find God. Whatever.
Because we’re not immortal. No one gets out of this place alive.
So live already.
Dedicated to Jasmitt Bhullar.
26.05.1987 – 27.05.2010
Friend, joker, big brother, macha.