Vasu Chanchlani: He is no more; his memories & legacy lives on
September 14, 2014
He is no more; his memories & legacy lives on
(July 1, 2014 – September 7, 2014)
Most morning, while I am still in my bed, I will call Vasu and he had his unique sing song style of calling my name and then he would ask me- “what is the news” “Aaj Ki Taza Khabar”? His way of showing his closeness with me didn’t care that he addresses me in a funny way and it would look so awkward if someone heard it. I would do anything today to hear that funny sing song voice and “bhrata!”… I have a news for you today… it is a very sad news. I have lost my “sathi”, my brother who was more than brother and my intellectual companion, who would argue with me on any topic on the earth. Sometimes, I would get mad for his fierceness to tear any topic apart, if I missed something or said it incorrectly and other times he would be so proud of me and he would say… I admire that you think like that. He would not hesitate to sing praises for me in public and in front of many of you and I would be embarrassed. Deepak is witness, when I would get mad at him for being so critical over small things, then Vasu would say… why am I so sensitive? Many a times even if I said sorry that was not enough, he wanted to know “why” I said or did it that way. “Why” was more important to him…. it was so irritating. If out of irritation, I would avoid discussion then that would make him madder. He was so feisty to debate “why”. In my life, I have met so many outstanding individuals. But I always told Vasu that I am in awe of the way he can analyze and dissect any topic or idea, if given time. He always had better idea and approach to what I did publically or for him. But he always and always wanted me to represent him publically or on his behalf. I would ask him, since he can better my idea and approach then why he didn’t do it himself in first place and his was the same answer- Aditya! You are the best to represent me and you always have my best interest. He said, if both of us debate, plan and work together then no one can match us. He had this constant complain that I don’t consult him enough.
His childlike behavior and being so proud of it amazed me. He thought it is normal that he won’t take care of his passport or wallet or ticket or name of the hotel he was going to stay in. His constant answer was “my wife Jaya” always takes care of it. One time, we were in Phuket and we left for the airport. When we were getting off the taxi, I asked him about his documents and he said that he left it in the hotel locker and in the same breadth he got mad at me that he left his passport in the hotel. His first sentence was “My wife Jaya” always ensures that everything is taken care of. He would go to the restaurant and would have no wallet and he would say that he will pay for it. If any woman met him at a public event and was interested in his philanthropy- within second or third sentence he will start talking about “my wife Jaya” this or that. If younger lady approached him, he may call them that she is like his sister. Deepak and I will tease him- is she not good looking? He would get so mad and shout at both of us. “How can you even think like that? That is not nice”. Come Christmas and he would send personalized Johny Walker Blue label whisky to presidents of universities and then he will also send gift to someone who would not be so important person but it mattered because he deals with him or her. I used to get upset with him for calling “sir” to anyone. I would ask, how come you want to be so unnecessarily polite to anyone and everyone. If someone asked for something, he won’t say no even though he wanted to say NO. His answer would invariably be construed on affirmative side. He would agree when I would argue that it sends unnecessary wrong message. He would throw up his hands up and say… that is how I am. And that is why he likes my style in dealing with such things. In the same vein, he would criticize- that he hates my guts that I can be so frank and still not offend and could be abrupt or I can cut-off from things just like that. He would want me to review even a small email he wanted to send to someone important. He embodied the quest for excellence. His that quest bordered frivolity. Deepak, Vasu and I organized a major fundraising for the Conservative Party of Canada. He got so upset that the colour of the chair was not upto the mark and he insisted to replace it and arranged truck to bring new ones even though just four hours were left for the event to begin. After the event, I pointed out that he takes things too far and he agreed but won’t accept that he would not do the same again. He would envy that I learnt religious text because of my childhood family environment. He had read most of the Hindu scriptures and will correct me for smallest misinterpretations. He was so well read of religious text and talked proudly of his spiritual journey with Terry Papneja and divine intervention almost every day. And then decides to have no ritualistic affair for him after he was gone. He told me many times that he would want no memorial service but just a Facebook post that “Vasu is No more” and I would protest that Deepak and I won’t let that happen and he should not do that for me even. He would constantly say that he admires classy and fair way. When he would get angry, which he got often in his close circle; he would apologize later and he would say he hates that he behaves like that. He cared so deeply for his wife and children and often talked to me about their little things and I am not sure whether he expressed it to them?
His loyalty was unflinching, his sensitivity was extraordinary, his accomplishments peerless, his philanthropy passionate and thoughtful, he was an extraordinary ordinary man. Despite what all of us know about him; what was important in him was invisible. Our friend Vasu was beautifully imperfect. In the end, we will remember these little things- little imperfections that made our dear Vasu perfect human.
I wrote with him all important letters, nominations and speeches for him ….and Vasu! You are lucky that this last one also I wrote for you…if you had to write this for me- you would be shitting bricks my friend.
But fate ordains that dearest friends must part. Can Vasu’s death truly separate him from us? We know, if we want to be with someone you love, isn’t he already in our hearts forever.
We are not dismayed at saying “goodbye” bhrata. This farewell was necessary before we meet again. And meeting again, after days or years or lifetime, is certain for those who are friends.
“You and I will meet again
When we are least expecting it
One day in some far off place
I will- recognize your face
Then I won’t say “goodbye” my friend
For you- for you Vasu! I will meet again….
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