Sunday, April 18, 2010

Good Bye, Dog.

Mahesh Mahadevan was found dead a couple of days back on the UC,Irvine campus. The police have labelled it a case of suicide by asphyxiation. The circumstances surrounding the case and Nai’s stirring and devastatingly poignant last post on Stumble Upon suggests that the authorities may be correct. And with that act of his, I lost my ex wing-mate, quiz team mate of four years, co-coordinator in so many events and a close friend & confidante.

When Nai first came to IITM, his history of an amazing academic record was stunning even to the haughty IITians. He brought an image of a person so sharp and brilliant and of a level of competence so unattainable that acute jealousy would have made it easy to dislike him. But to his credit, it turned to be the opposite. Perhaps the most affable of all the new guys who joined Mandakini Hostel, he made people comfortable around him at a spectacular pace. Even a notoriously reticent person like me fell prey to his genial company. Thankfully that ensured our coming together to form a team which was one of the major hallmarks of my stay at IITM.

Throughout his four years, Nai could be seen doing everything, everywhere. Everybody knew him and he knew everybody. Whether it’s succumbing to NQA’s assaults for the umpteenth time in yet another quiz with me, or miraculously metamorphosing into a rap star in his final year, his constant propensity to pick up completely unrelated skills and excelling in them at an astonishing speed never failed to overwhelm people around him. He seemed to be in a tearing hurry to master as many things as possible as fast as he could. A lifetime seemed too less for all the things he wanted to learn. Wordplay and quick humour defined his conversations with everyone. The fact that many never got around to grasping the quick-witted repartees never stopped him from jumping at the smallest opportunity to turn a moment funny. Watching Nai with his alert posture guarding the goal posts with his less than imposing frame was a fixed sight at the Mandak quadrangle every evening. So was his presence at every major/minor/completely irrelevant hostel event. His shocking get-up as a promiscuous woman in his first hostel night and his classy get-up as a rap star in his final hostel night has found place in innumerable folders title ‘Mandak Memories’. Bound to be found in long winded ‘fart sessions’, wolf games and practice session of some sort, he was the image everyone associated with life in Mandak and in IITM in general. There are very few compatriots from IITM who have not shed a tear today.


















The infamous 12 Angry Men spoof team,2007

His charisma seemed only to increase in Irvine if the condolences messages on his FB page are anything to go by. Not surprisingly he seemed to have taken up the only thing he didn’t get time for in IITM- dancing. His taste for adventure sports which never found a vent in Chennai finally found a medium as he feverishly conquered skate boarding. In the middle of everything, he managed to squeez in mastery of acapella too. His brand of humour didn’t fail in building a clan of loyal fans even there and not so startlingly, he was a darling among the ladies.

Personally, Nai’s was one of those rare friendships I used to proudly advertise as an accomplishment. In his company, I always felt I was doing something clever, saying something intelligent, thinking something different. His charisma forced me to behave so. Effortlessly. Our interests converged on so many topics. We competed with each other to show who loved British comedy more. We threw in Blackadder references just to see if the other got it and appreciated it if he did. We went crazy trying to outdo each other in mastering referencing to Seinfeld at the appropriate moments. He always called me Shayon-da subtly hinting at his displeasure at my abandoning my roots and making people pronounce my name Sayan. For some reason he also at times referred to me as Herr Fuehrer. I never asked him why. I wish I had. Everything he said to me, everything he wrote to me were always so full of references, puns, play and hidden significances that communicating with him was a delight and a challenge.

As a fellow team-mate, Nai was a joy. With him, Chanani and me, we formed a team which I always referred to as the greatest ever Dum Charades team never to have won anything. We had devised codes for the smallest aspects only to repeatedly fail at every opportunity to use them and we laughed ourselves hoarse at the hilarity which usually ensued on stage. We had devised a code for the movie Troy and fervently prayed for four years that by a stroke of luck we should get it once so that we can set a new time record in DC. I will never forget the look on Chanani’s face when he opened the chit at Saarang 2008, our last shot at qualification after struggling for four years. It was Troy and we cracked it in one second. Though it seems so silly, I was so happy that day. And so was Nai.

Quizzing with him was a different experience altogether. Answering the vaguest, quirkiest and most impossible of questions was his exclusive domain. The sudden burst of passion which flooded his complexion as an answer occurred to him, his jumping up to answer it and then inflicting a forceful and albeit painful high five on me to celebrate is an image imprinted permanently in my head. But what I remember the most is the all too often walk of shame back to the hostel late in the night after failing to win yet another quiz. He always gave a quiet ear to my rants about how Pota & Co were ruining enthusiasm by winning everything. I had the time of my life organizing quizzes with him and working on esoteric and arcane connects. With Jayant we formed a great quizzing team. With KV we went a notch higher and formed perhaps a trio which participated just to trip rather than win anything. Watching Nai and KV in conversation was like watching a joust between Messi and Rooney. Today I can only guess how distraught KV may be feeling. I also feel terrible for dear Psueba who loved talking to Nai. Yet another great pair undone.


















Me,KV&Nai: Shaastra 2007 Main Quiz

There are just so many images which are flooding my mind right now. The unforgettable spoof of 12 Angry Men where the geniuses of Nai, Psueba and Bhadwa decided it would be an interesting experiment if all the jurors let down their trousers in the middle of the play. The coincidental but unrelated cycle accidents which left both of us bruised and bandaged at the same time and Nai felt it would be a good idea to take a picture. His comments and constructive criticisms/praises on each and every blog post of mine, no matter how inane or irrelevant the post may be. He was the first person from IITM to write me a testimonial on Orkut. He also taught me the basics of basketball, with tremendous patience. I remember the frustration he felt whenever he had me in his team. Perhaps the only time we almost fought. I spoke to him just three weeks back, two weeks before he died. He was excited about me going to the Malaysian GP. He warned me of the noise during the race and promised to meet me when he visited India later in December. We tripped on the brilliance of the Seinfeld reunion. On hearing I was planning to go camping that weekend he signed off with a characteristic quip asking me not get ‘camplacent’- overconfident about my camping skills. Everything seemed so normal. All of the above are small bits from the past, some sound even a bit silly perhaps, but seem so overwhelming to me right now in their entirety.






















Bicycle Accident Buddies, 2004

I spent the entire day going through our old mails and gtalk conversations and I was struck by a fact that I had never realized till now. Before every major decision/event in my life, I had consulted him. And he had always replied in clear, objective terms on what he feels would be the right way ahead. I am feeling extremely stupid that this realization just hit me now. The depth and intensity of our friendship seems to have got buried under memories of frivolity and inanities. Its so tragic that its only after his death that I am able to realize how he made life so rich for me not just with his jokes, talents or competency but by being an invisible sounding board on which I had unconsciously been depending on for so many years. I can feel that the realization of what I have lost hasn’t sunk in completely and it will take quite some time for me to completely understand the enormity of the change and how poor it leaves me.

I would like to believe I see life how Nai did. That living is all about learning continuously. Reinventing oneself while staying true to one’s passions. The fact that he did it so much better than I ever could made me value our relationship so much. What frightens me the most right now is that there is a thought out there so terrifying and destructive that when it hit Nai, it convinced him to stop doing what he loved so much, learning and living. If that thought hits me someday, will I fare any better? I am scared.

Please help in bringing Nai back home. Funds are being raised on www.findmahesh.com. Please contribute generously.

43 comments:

pota said...

Hmm.. You just had to do this, did you not.

pota said...

http://www.online-literature.com/oliver-goldsmith/2090/
I don't know why, but your post reminded me of this poem.

Yash said...

May his soul rest in peace...

atru said...

:(

wanderlust said...

your last line sums up whatever i've been feeling over the past 24 hours.
tragic. bloody tragic.

Ganesh said...

"communicating with him was a delight and a challenge."

Very well said, sir. He was truly unique and unforgettable for his eternally fresh puns. I hope he finds peace wherever he is now.. We all miss him :(

Shanmukh said...

The last lines just stole what I felt.

This incident still stays on the boundary between dream and reality to me.

Anonymous said...

I'm so so sorry for your loss. I know words will not take away the pain, the questions, the sorrow. Hold on to the memories. Hold on to his legacy. I hope he is at peace now.

Mohan K.V said...

I don't know what to think or feel - I can barely recall anything from IITM where we weren't together. Reading this just feels very odd :-|

Pranesh Srinivasan said...

The last lines echo what I feel entirely.

As my senior, I looked up to Nai for everything. He inspired me in so many ways that I cannot count.

I couldnt believe it when he went missing. I still can't believe what it is now.

Nai had to have a bloody damn good reason. :'(.

Chidu said...

I knew what 'denial' meant when I heard the news. Just hoping so badly that they were wrong, cursing all over, wishing that it was a bad dream.
I dunno why this happened, but may he rest in peace. :(

namputo said...

all my memories of nai at IITM ended up with everyone around smiling at the wordplay which was always present....
When I heard the news I did not want it to be true.. :(

Jumba said...

In our first year, (Nai was then in his third), Nai actually came down to the freshie wing because he had seen someone there with a skateboard. He came tried it out, and got that guy to teach him.

Two of his qualities as Prof points out are manifest here -- his enthusiasm to learn and his immense humility.

enRenRum-anbudan.BALA said...

Its very unfortunate that your friend took this extreme step :( RIP & May God provide the mental strength to his parents to bear and come out of this great personal loss !!!

Nice memoris! BTW, I am a friend of Mahesh's teacher (Arun Narasimhan) at IIT Madras.

anbudan
BALA

Dhruv said...

Like you, I too consulted nai on almost every major decision I made in insti so far. In fact I continued to consult him after he went to UCI. He was always the first senior I would turn to if I ever needed help in insti. His death shook my very foundation. Your last line has conveyed my exact feelings for the past two days.

pota said...

It might be nit-picky but Nai would have been the first to point it out. Please refrain from using Rest in Peace. It has a very specific meaning, which can be offensive to someone who was a reasonably serious follower of hinduism.
Rest in peace comes from the catholic funeral mass, where the assumption is that the soul waits till the day of judgement after death. Hinduism is different, the soul does not "rest" in peace. there is a cycle of rebirth and death.
So please, only use phrases of whose meaning you are certain of. I am sure Nai would have approved.

Gaurav 'Khanna' Jain said...

Shedding a tear ...

Anonymous said...

Why would a person like this do this? Is there no hope in this world..

Anonymous said...

Dont you friends want to know the actual reason of his death?? I feel some mismatch...some say stress, some say lack of funds...he wont commit suicide for these reasons, am sure!!! Time s not healing!

Anonymous said...

"Before every major decision/event in my life, I had consulted him. "

Apparently, he didn't consult anyone before major decisions in his life.

Anonymous said...

Nai and I were casual friends at IITM, usually indulging in casual chit-chat sessions at Gurunath/Tiffany's/Cauvery.

During one such session, he found me wheeling my cycle to Taramani to get my brakes aligned. When I began complained to him about this trivial problem, he abruptly gave the rear tyre a massive kick to fix the alignment. When I complained that my cycle was somewhat new and it didn't deserve such rough treatment, he quipped, "Machcha, if your cycle can't take such a small force as my kick, then it's not a safe cycle to ride anyway."

Nai never ceases to amaze.

Anonymous said...

This might be the first time I am commenting on your post…not happy doing this though…may be that’s the reason I want to keep myself unknown
These are the instances that shake the very foundation of our being. How can a person like him…who throughout his life portrayed the essence of being alive; could do this…?? I am feeling very very small…right from Monday I am reading everything about him that you all have written.. though I got to know him only after his death through internet but even then I could feel that connection to him. If tears are something that you shed for the ones who are/were close to you then he sure was/is close to me. No words could do justice to whatever happened and to the pain that all of you must be going through…. I just wish I could be there with each one of you to share that pain and to cry with you.

Tapas said...

I still see him....smiling and talking excitedly. I had never seen him sad or down. Now, each passing day his face only gets more vivid. Thank you for writing about him...

Anonymous said...

I have not met him but ever since I heard about the incident I have been reading everything available about him on the web. As somebody said earlier these connections are made with some people even if you don't meet them. I just can't believe that a boy like him could commit something like this.
This is something cute I found about him on web (barking like Pomeranian dog)
http://www.youtube.com/user/bark4nai#p/a/u/1/pIqbn34Qjkc
Touched by this video.... I wonder how his parents are :-(

Saswati said...

I've never known him, but I've been reading and hearing a lot about this incident. I fail to believe how a person of his calibre, could commit such an act upon issues such as lack of funds or so or everything else that being cited here and there. Maybe there was something deeper?
Your last line really sums it up. Take care. I can imagine how much it hurts you as a friend, if it's shocked me so much as a stranger.

Vijay said...

I mourn with all his friends and loved ones for the loss of a very nice and humble person that I have known....

From whatever little I knew of him, at first, I just wasn't ready to belief that he could have done such a thing.

Upon reading more about him and his achievements, it dawns to me that he has had an excellent track record and has experienced success at every stage of his life. Considering the above fact, the incident that made him take this extreme step might have been something that he considered was his first big failure that would have devastated and shattered him completely.

"Success is good and well admired, but please don't let it become your weakess..."

@ your last lines;
If anyone ever gets a thought like that, please remember this; "Think about your loved ones and friends. They are always there for you... Just think about what they will go through after you are gone... If you spare some time for these thoughts, then the terrifying and destructive thoughts will after all not be so destructive and terrifying...."

Life has so much to offer!!! Please dont destroy it....

Shwetha Maiya said...

I am reading all posts related to his death .. and i am feeling terribly sad.. just in the morn, was discussing about not thinking logically wen in haste with a friend.. and for the account of your friendship, your blog does speak about the depth and immenseness of it..

RIP Mahesh

-Shwe

mindthief said...

Hey Sayan,
Don't mean to resurrect anything you're trying to let go of, but I've been reading online about Mahesh of late and was moved enough to want to understand all of this better. I'm sure there must be many theories on why he did what he did, but for what it's worth, here is something that struck me as being meaningful, in case it has been missed -- in his last blog post Oct '09 on blogger.com (http://arabianmarasmus.blogspot.com/), he describes some occurrence in cryptic fashion. He also notes that this particular blog post was a significant one, one that he would probably regret were it not for the fact that it would probably fall into irrelevance anyway amidst the sea of information on the web. It was important enough to have caused him to blog about it after a five-month period of inactivity on his blog. This post seems to indicate a conversation he had with someone, and that person (apparently) put forth the line "I am your clouds...shall be". This same line is referenced in his final note Apr '10 (http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/bark4nai/reviews/). It almost seems like a clue that he left for us, that this particular line would be quoted here as opposed to some other line that may have held similar meaning for him in the context of whatever it was that it referenced. It's almost as if he wanted the connection to the other blog post to be inferred, and for that to indicate something to the person drawing this relation. We obviously know that the Apr '10 post was of critical importance, so it seems very likely that the Oct '09 post, sharing as it does the aforementioned commonalities with the later post, is also very important, which seems to confirm our earlier hypothesis regarding the former post's importance. It would appear, then, that the originator of the words "I am your clouds.." -- if there is indeed such a person -- could hold the answer to why he may have done what he did. I wonder if it's a girl... great people have fought over/killed others/themselves over a girl :\

I am very sorry for your loss,
-m

Swami said...

I am also one of those who would really want to know the actual reason for him to do such a thing which absolutely contradicts his ways...And i back 'mindthief'...I was gng through all his posts/blogs after i heard the news...He has indeed left 2 crucial posts...I ahve been mailing his friends in UCI...none of them have any say on this...in his last post on stumble upon, where he has mentioned 'the system which otherwise...' his friends in UCI say he means the education system....i cant actually believe they r jus lying...i was told he committed suicide cos his funding was stopped...absolute nonsense...as far as i knew...he ws a phd scholar...he had said that his guide is a maxo cool young fellow and encourages him...I really would like to know what made him do this...its a month now and all seem to have forgotten...sorry for being so frank...i still keep looking for clues...i feel like believing he is somewhere out there, alive and one day he would show up...

Anonymous said...

@swami I too feel the same as you and can't get over the fact that this boy is no more. I have not met him but somehow I feel connected and feel a lot about his demise.. Some where I am hoping that he is alive. I think of his parents and feel overwhelmed. What have they done to deserve this...

Swami said...

@anon:- All i can say is love is a very dangerous thing...he wrote in his blog something like to raise a child is so difficult that even if it would take a 100 years for the child to repay, it s not enough...i wonder how could he give such a never ending pain to his own parents...that is why i want to know the actual reason which made him so depressed that he too such a step...reason is kind of clear for me...who ever made him to this, will suffer their whole life and will never find peace...ever!!!!!

Anonymous said...

It's more than a month since he is gone and does anyone know why he did it ?

Tiruvarur said...

To live in the Hearts one leaves behind is not to die!How true it's close to 2 months since he's gone ;no one has a clue still .Not a day passe without me a total stranger thinking what prompted him to this and my heart bleed for his parents being one myself that agony of why ,why ?

Anonymous said...

Just checked his last post in bark4nai where he has written his intentions to commit suicide!! Its not there anymore!! Who is the wise guy who deleted it and why?? Any idea??

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr.Sayan,

I am a close family friend of our beloved Mahesh. Recently, I have made a visit to his home, when I have the chance to see some reports they received from the UCI authorities.
I am sure that at any cost, Mahesh will not commit suicide for simply cutting funding. Because when he got admission at UCI, his parents have made several alternate arrangements to meet the funding.
After a long waiting of nearly five months, and after several requests, they received the postmortem and toxicology reports from the UCI authorities. On going thru the reports one can found several contradictory statements. The Police as well as the Forensic Pathologist Dr.Aruna Singhania reports that the death taken place days before the body found,(because it has been decomposed at the time of post mortem); whereas the Orange County Sheriff Coroner confirms that the date of death as 15th April. Don't know how they arrived at this date. Also his face has been covered with two plastic covers - one is transparent which was tightly tied with nylon thread(which has to be cut out by the police), and the other cover is an opaque. It is an established fact that nobody can suicide by simply putting a plastic bag into face. At the time of suffocation, they will escape using all their strength,even though it will be made of some strong material. Here, no signs of escape reported and his nails and fingers are normal. This seems to be suspicious and confirms our doubt that it was a homicide/murder. Eventhough requests were made to one detective Roland Chiu (who investigated the case), to clarify as well as to send some photos taken at the location and postmortem, it remains unanswered till date, and he even not bothered to respond. It is presumed that the authorities are hiding the truth away from us. Still the mystery going on......
My request is : His parents are now in a pathetic condition. Can somebody advice what to do in this case

Anonymous said...

Found the docs details...dont know if its of any use!
http://healpth.com/gate/index/to/http%253A%252F%252Fwww.vitals.com%252Fdoctors%252FDr_Aruna_Singhania.html/doctor-id/861658.html

spezadams said...

His last words on the stumble upon account.....

"Schadenfreude - the term doesn't really apply when you laugh at your own misery, does it?
The one time you take the huge leap of faith and expect your system (that works too well otherwise) to simply work, it doesn't. If I can laugh at that, I have reached (going by German word synthesis, also called in German as germanwordsynthesis (if you get the drift)), selbstschadenfreude (now I might have jumped the gun on the rules of German word synthesis, but there's only so much a man can do for now).
Nevertheless, a tear in my eye gleams at the radiance of this beautiful line that (henceforth) gets preserved here:
I am your clouds; you are my sea, I love you, and forever we shall be!

Miss would be a thoroughly insufficient (note the irony) verb to describe what I feel, oh heaven-sent blot of color that made the canvas of my life what it is today! Nevertheless...

And with that, I was not ashamed, but now as quick as I appeared, and played this lovely game, I must now depart, as quickly as I came. I bid you farewell, for you were simply lovely. Now fly towards your new love, like a flock of dovely(s).
We are now separated, but not forever."


Rest In Peace Mahesh. We miss you so much buddy

sweta said...

Isnt it possible to get help from the indian govt or indian embassy there? They can intervene and check out what actually happened as mahesh was an indian student. The last post can be written by anyone who can access his account and someone seems to be loging in n out frequently too..well, only someone in UCI can help us...i would really want to get to the bottom of this...what if our other indian students are in danger too cos of jealousy n other stuff??

Anonymous said...

Friends , It's been more than a year after the ... You guys know ...amd do we still know the exact cause of his death ?? Research failure ?? That's non sense according to me . Certainly there is something we are missiing . And his last post on stuble upon and his blog .both contain cryptic messages too ( One can certainly see that there is something hidden in them) ... Somebody tell us the truth ??? What was mahesh upto ? ... And the line " to your new love " poses a huge clue !!!

Anonymous said...

Moreover stumble upon shows ,mahesh seen two months back ie last logged in ... Who logged in ??? Somebody else has his password ??? It could be a turning point .. After all it might not be a suicide

Anonymous said...

Where else are there things to read about this tragedy? Does anyone have links? Thank you

Anonymous said...

This is good site to spent time on. allergy

Anonymous said...

'This is good site to spent time on. allergy'

The anonymous who made the above comment May be the
MURDERER of our Dear Professor MAHESH