In profound grief I drank my cup of tea last evening. Rashmi told me that Mr. Nagarjuna Ganju had passed away. It was an instant shock. A sense of bereavement encompassed me and my wife as we sat there in silence, interrupted by her occasional muttering and intermittent sorrowful sobs.
In that moment of numbness, my mind posed a question. Who is Mr. Nagarjuna Ganju? or Who was Mr. Nagarjuna Ganju? I couldn’t retrieve the memory of a face related to that name. Yet, I knew I had known this person for a long time. I had heard his name directly or in an indirect reference somewhere or the other; quite often. How was it possible that I was feeling a sense of loss for a person whom I had apparently never met in person? And while I was trying not to pose an insensitive question to her, my wife relieved me of my dilemma and guilt. All she had to say was “KPJobs”.
Mr. Ganjoo’s was the name that I had always read of in the emails that were exchanged over the Yahoo groups. Kashmiri Interchange, KPJobs, AIKS and what not? Slowly, my head was flooded with all the memories of mails that I had read either from or about Mr. Ganju. I could recall the initiatives and activities towards which he had contributed. And then came the realization. That that chapter had come to an end.
Those regular emails that originated from the Inbox of Mr.Ganju and went out to so many needy young and old Kashmiri Pandit community members on a regular basis, informing them about a job here or an admission there, would no longer be there. A fellow community member, whom we had learned to trust, love and respect (despite our egregious social behavior) was no longer going to be available with his valuable advice and counsel. That an unsung hero, who showed us new ways of salvaging ourselves, had departed. Oh God! What a loss? It takes a lot of good luck to have people like Nag Ji live and share their lives with us. And our luck had run out.
Let me ask this again. Who was Mr. Nagarjuna Ganju? And what my mind tells me is that he was an example of noble life. A binding force for a perpetually multi-polar community. He was the hope that our identity as a society couldn’t disappear, until there were people like him. He was a constant that people like me, who have not experienced Kashmir but have observed the volatility of being Kashmiri Pandit, can hang on to.
It has been such a painful experience learning about that fateful accident that took Mr. Ganju away from his family and from all of us. A wrongful death is very hard to condole in itself and there is no compensation for the loss that we have incurred as a community. I personally feel very much in debt of Mr. Ganju for his kindness and unconditional love. My wife and I could do nothing much except sulk about our helplessness.
Alas! In death, there is nothing one can do except for offering a prayer. And we pray that “May your journey hereafter be that of bliss and harmony.” Our hearts go out to Mrs. Ganju and kids, who will now have to learn to live with the void that you have left behind, dear Nag ji.
In the end, the only thing I hope for is that may Nag Ji’s life inspire us to be like him and follow the path of kindness.
Rashmi and I are going to miss you badly, Nag ji!