My best friend had just come back from her workshop in Pune. It was a long week (or two) without her and as soon as she stepped back in town, we met at a local franchise of KFC. It was their homecoming of sorts. She was as overtly amicable and as obvious as it'd seen, had made good friends during that one week, and inevitably over time they would be my friends as well.
Rupa was one of them.
I was standing in a longer than usual queue at the restaurant with our mutual friend, Sid, trying to get a good round-up of all the events that ensued in the past one week. The group had too many stories to tell- the way it would paint the next three of years of my life with the best of memories. There were stories about late night music, about sneaking out into the terraces after perm time, about alcohol or lack of it, about a teacher that just loved Palla- none of it seeming too new to me.
What I noticed distinctly through our conversations though was that Rupa stood there, silently behind me in the line. His interactions were different, he took time to open up but after he was comfortable, he was unstoppable. This would remind me a little about myself. It was the first time that I had met him. And as weird as it seems to mention it, he had the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen in a guy and I had to let him know. Around Rupa, there was an air of friendliness which made any conversation easy. He made his presence felt, even in the silence.
To this day, years after our friendship and a year after his passing, I have a very vivid memory of how Rupa's presence filled our lives with more and better of everything- more sunshine, more adventure, more joy, and eventually, unbearable amounts of sadness that would take too many tears and considerable time to heal.
After our first meeting, we would meet, quite often at dinners and lunches when the group was around. When the regularity of these reduced, we met at sleepovers which will always be one of my fondest memories of Manipal.
Rupa had a lot of love to give and receive, specially when slightly drunk. A drunk Rupa would open the door, welcome us in with the warmest of hugs with verbal affirmation of how much he loved us. His hugs were to die for, warmer with the most innocent of loves. To add to it, Rupa owned a smile that emitted intense goodness and warmth. Not once in my thoughts about him can I picture him without that achingly beautiful curve imprinted on his face.
His face beamed when he spoke of his interests. His sports, specially cricket, his friends, and his love-interest who would later become the love of his life.
(I am unsure whether I can ever finish this. Every time I come back to this, it gets awfully difficult. After all, there are some losses you can never get over.)