Sometimes certain things get engraved deep into your mind. One such thing is the disturbing demise of my dearest friend, Deepak Mathu. I have already written about this earlier. Today, once again, I am scribbling down certain lines in his memory and wanted them to be shared by you all.
Deepak was his name, and he was with me from Kinder Garten till the tenth standard in the school. After doing the matriculation, we were in the college together till the twelfth standard. He got selected to the Medical College for his MBBS course and I continued with my graduation at the same G G M Science College.
He differed from the rest of the flock.
The difference between him and the rest of the students of his age was simply his extra intellectual caliber-reflected from time to time in his academic performance. He got the distinction in his matriculation and in the twelfth standard as well. That was the main reason for his getting selected to the Medical College easily. I also wanted to be a Medico, but for my performance in the final exams, I could not get admission.
He was very affectionate and a staunch friend.
I was very close to him. He expressed his affection and friendship throughout our being together and even after he completed his medical training. He went in for his MD in medicine and I went for the job in 1982. I left my hometown and went to Punjab and he continued his further studies and practice in the hometown itself.
He remained throughout my marriage ceremony at all my functions.
Later in 1989, when I got married, Deepak was there throughout during my marriage ceremony. He was with me for those three days and three nights when various marriage functions were being solemnized. By that time he had done something which normally people don’t do in their studies. He had cleared the IAS (India Administrative Services) with a rank in the Police cadre. He got his first posting as the IPS Police officer in Srinagar Kashmir, which was very disturbed because of terrorist activities and unrest.
He was there at Mata Vaishno Devi and extended all possible help.
I remember somewhere in 1987-88, when I was serving a pharmaceutical company in Punjab, his posting was at Mata Vaishno Devi Temple Dispensary there at the top of the mountain at the holy cave. I had gone to pay my obeisance to Vaishno Devi, along with my sister and mother in those days. There was a very heavy crowd at the holy cave. Normally, people would get the passes for their turn to get the Darshan of the Goddess, and it took almost a couple of days for the normal devotee to get the turn to enter the holy cave. When I reached the cave, I had decided that we all had to wait for our turn and spent those two days there outside the cave. Suddenly, while passing the dispensary during the night hours, I came to know that Deepak was there. I immediately rushed to the room where he was sleeping and started knocking on his door amid the night at around 2.00 AM.
His presence made our pilgrimage very comfortable.
To my pleasant surprise, he opened the door and recognized me, and took me and my family members inside the room. He was the Medical In-charge of the place and told us all to take a holy bath and get prepared for the Darshan of the Goddess after an hour. We couldn’t believe our stars and were all thrilled that the whole thing would happen easily and comfortably and that too within no time.
We were ready within an hour and he sent with us two police officers and they took us from some other path inside the cave-where it enshrined the Goddess. I still remember as if some magic had happened that day and Deepak solved all our hiccups coming our way. We had a very sound darshan inside the cave with no rush from the crowd. We came back to his room fully satisfied with the obeisance paid to the goddess and thanked him profoundly for all the help rendered him. Thus making our pilgrimage a very memorable one.
Later, I got the shocking news of his untimely death.
Later, after some years, when I had shifted to Delhi say after a decade-I got the shocking news of his untimely death while serving at Srinagar. It was a real shocker to me since he died while sleeping in the Police Headquarters in Srinagar. He died because of the Carbon Monoxide gas leakage-which took place because of the coal burning in the Hamam-which got leaked. Since those days, it was freezing in Kashmir and the snow had flopped. All the people in that area would use the Hamam-which used to keep their rooms warm from inside. Likewise, he also had a similar facility in the Police headquarters-whereas the luck would have it he had breathed his last.
Look how luck plays its own game-a full-fledged doctor becomes a Police officer.
Look how luck plays its game. He spent his whole life becoming a medicine specialist and later when he got attracted to serve in the Administrative Services of the Government-he again studied hard to qualify for the Administrative services and got through them as well. So a fully trained doctor became the Police Officer and served the nation in that capacity as well. But for a brief span. Thank God he was not married till that time, otherwise, it would have meant more grief for his better half and kids-had that been so.
His father got a real shock and could not come out of it.
His father, who was a Sectional Officer in the Public Works Department, got a real shock and could not come out of it till he also passed away. Deepak was a live wire and a very affectionate person. Whenever I recall my earlier days with him-It gives me a deep pain that I lost my dearest friend-who was very different and exceptional than the normal people-always on the lookout for something extraordinary to be done. I miss him and feel proud of his achievements at that young age-which are the real inspirations for the young folk to follow.