Ideal friends don’t exist, they say, but I disagree. I was fortunate enough to get to know one and his name was Chandrakant Telgadi. I spent at least 18 Years with CT from kindergarten to school. He was my bench partner. Every morning we used to take our tiny cycles to school, eating lunch together in the breaks and back again having fun. I had an awesome group of friends in school. We were all lucky, back in the day no mobile phones, it was just raw childhood with actual outdoor activities.
I fondly remember during the weekend exploring the streets of Belgaum back and forth. I don’t remember a corner of the city that we didn’t explore. I called him maps because he always knew the way back home when we used to get lost. CT and our friend group used to have crazy football matches on Sundays, extreme summer or rain, It didn’t matter to us. We’d go wild until the call of parents brought us home for dinner.
When I was in 2nd grade my family did not own a computer but CT did. At that point, I didn’t even know how computers worked or how to even start the thing. He taught me how to turn it on and explained windows, CPU and why a black box called UPS is required. We played a lot of computer games together and After playing games we were back on our cycles just going round and round the city. Back then that is all we could do without phones or the internet but just the real world.He was a great human being who never said no to anyone who asked for his help.
There are so many memorable moments we had together no amount of words would ever be enough to describe them. When I went back to Belgaum from Bangalore after a year of pandemic. We met over dinner and as usual, CT was doing CT things. If I only knew this would be the last dinner I will ever have. We spent talking about how things have changed since childhood and now we are working as Engineers CT said: “it’s been a very long road”. On the last day(28th of Nov 2020) I met him before traveling back to Bangalore. We spent half a day searching for a place to get Irani Chai. We were talking about how much fun we had during our school trips and his birthday was coming up (3rd December) so I asked him if we should have an outing or have a big party to celebrate. I wished him Happy birthday in advance and flew back to Bangalore.
Early morning of Dec 8th I received a call that I thought I would never receive. CT was no more. I crumbled to the ground. For a moment I couldn’t fully grasp reality and it all felt like a dream. The time slowed down and all the memories came back. With the hope of hearing his voice one last time, I tried calling his number which went unanswered. It was just like a part of my soul was taken away. I didn’t know what to do. Or what to call how I felt. He was part of me. And then he wasn’t.
My best friend for 18 years had died. This did not make any sense to me and still does not. He was just 23 years old and had a whole life ahead of him. But God had other plans and he took my friend away from me. Every day I used to wake up and pray to god to keep my friends and family healthy and happy but it was all in vain. From that day I no longer believed in god and probably never will. If I could exchange my soul to get him back I would. He was too good of a person.
In my own life, I want to be more like Chandrakant. I want to bring more light and happiness to wherever I am, I want to bring out the best in people. That was what Chandrakant did… and that is how we will all be remembered in the end. People say this all the time but people aren’t going to remember how good you are at your job, how you stayed up late answering every email… they’ll remember how you made them feel. That’s the thing that really matters.
I will forever be grateful to Chandrakant - My Best friend.
Chandrakant Telgadi A son, a brother, and a great friend. 3/12/1997 - 8/12/2020