We all know people who are often standing on the side in group pictures, sometimes not even in them, often the ones taking those pictures, who are not quintessentially Party Ki Jaan, who quietly slip-in the high decibel get-togethers, hoping no one would notice them. They are simply happy to be in the shadows of the flash lights flickering on someone else. Sandeep Chaware(Chaw) was one of those. Quiet, observant, kind, emotional and an exceptionally decent human being.
August 18th, 2020. Sandeep passed away.
Lagta Hai Kal Ki Baat Hai -I met Sandeep for the first time on Jan 4th 1995, basically long enough that I often took his presence for granted. Chaw to hai hee na – Meri Shaadi hai, mera naya ghar hai, mera stage show hai, meri movie ka premiere hai, mai india aayi hoon, mera koi kaam atka hua hai…..Sandeep would invariably find time for me and for everyone else as well. He was genuinely happy with the success of his friends, those who moved westwards for greener pastures or those who made wealth right there. He was content and comfortable in what life brough to his shores. While letting the spotlight be on others, he made a successful career in accounting quietly. Sandeep took extra efforts to stay and keep in touch with everyone. He didn’t keep a ledger of who returned his love. I often wonder how could he do that! It must be some sort of freedom to live like that. Dil mein aaya to phone uthao aur baat karo.
Fursat Ke Din– There are a million memories that have inundated me over the last few days. Some are just too personal to be shared here and some are just too precious to be touched by the words. In the year 2016, during one of my India trips, we were to meet on the M.G. Road in Pune. I was surprised and happy to see him arrive in his car. With a tingle of pride, I stepped in and looked around his new car. “Car Kab Li” I asked him. He mentioned to me that his wife had insisted upon him to drive a car due to his heart condition, so he decided to finally buy one.
I immediately put the seat belt on and commented, ” Great! Let’s celebrate. No TTMM! You are paying for the treat!. ” We shared a hearty laugh and decided to go to Samudra restaurant. This restaurant had a special significance in our lives. During our college days we only ate at Samudra for special occasions owing to it being an expensive place to eat during those days.
Dil Se -Sandeep was born with a rare heart disease and had undergone an open-heart surgery during his early childhood. Coming from a humble background like all of us, this kind of surgery must have put a deep dent into their finances. Sandeep was cognizant of this and stayed within the limits of his monthly allowance and the allowance of his health. He would internalize and implode but never express himself. He wouldn’t jump into the circus or the arena where things were “hot and happening”. However, he was never too far away from the action. He was an astute observer of life, probably hard wired to be that way.
Alvida To Alvida Nahi -People like Sandeep make this ambition-chasing high-octane world a little more tolerable. His presence in our lives was never driven by any agenda. He never asked for anything, NEVER. He was very proud of his accomplishments and a beautiful family that he had woven together.
February of 2019, Sandeep messaged me asking when my trip to India would be scheduled. For the first time in our life he requested something from me. He wanted to meet the actor Jitendra Joshi. This was very unusual request. Jitendra had attended our poetry show Zikr Uska a year before and Sandeep was present there. However, knowing Sandeep; he must have seen the crowd around Jitendra and evaluated his chances and left. He didn’t like to chase anyone. Unfortunately, this meeting never happened. I tried but not hard enough. Sandeep would have hated if I would have mentioned his health condition as a reason to push Jitendra for the meeting. I wish I had. I regret this.
Last I talked to him was on August 3rd 2020- Raksha Bandhan Day. We exchanged messages. Phone Karna Chahiye Thaa….Thaa
Alida Chaw-The wound of his loss is fresh, it is unbelievable, so I am just trying to scramble through his memories. Kal Ki Hi Baat Hai–
In Gulzar saab’s words-
“Ye ghalat hai ki waqt guzar jaata hai.
Waqt, time eternal hai, permanent hai.
Aur kabhee nahin guzarta.
Jo guzar jaata hai, wo ham aur tum haiN.”