He was like a wave when he breezed through classrooms at Josephs, with his panache and charisma and his disdain for the norm and ritual. He peddled jokes and poetry with equal finesse. He exuded warmth, cheer and style. He was extremely intelligent with an at-your-face wit. His energies knew no bounds.
I remember the day I saw him first. In the Kannada classroom at St. Josephs. His infectious smile and the joie-de-vivre about him captured my attention. The next two years, he along with three others would become constant fixtures in the back-benches, possibly first time in my student life when I moved from the first bench to these dark and dreary backbenches; the ones I always feared slowly became my new home, thanks to him. Those late nights of study, taking 12th standard exams and the common entrance test much more seriously than they deserved; those late night coffee trips and bajji-bonda visits and the movies….We went on to study medicine together in Mysore and shared a crucial part of our lives. Innumerable hours behind him on bike as he chased love, and the phenomenal trips with him to his favourite hill-station Madikeri, to Hogenkal falls and to zillion other places come to mind. His love for Kipling, his reflections on Bach’s seagulls, his meanderings into zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance and his off-note rendition of Denver’s “you fill up my senses…”. His adventurous Yamaha RxG 8914 on which so many people learnt how to bike, his coca-cola shaped tape player that played dire straits end to end, his mastery over the English language and his fascination with ossification dates…..what can I say about the man?
But, it was not to stay for good. On 8 April, 2015 he breathed his last, leaving us with that infectious smile and those warm memories. What sense can one make of it? What answers can one provide? What questions can one ask? What matters? Is this grief? Is this anger? What should I be angry about? At the life that he lived full when he did? Or at the life that we all thought he would live that he threw away?
He was, who he was. He touched more lives than he allowed himself to be touched by. He was loved much more than he allowed people to love him. His vivacity and energy is fondly remembered by every classmate of his in school, college, university and elsewhere.
He was my friend. He was the man my friend fell in love with. He was a father, a son, a husband, a doctor…he will always be a source of inspiration for me and a source of courage and a source of energy for me. We all loved you. We always will.
This post is dedicated to Saketh Marla (Aug 2, 1979 – Apr 8, 2015). A friend, a father, a son, a husband, a doctor and the finest human being I knew. Below is one of his favourite songs, that he loved to play to his wonderful son.