Home Feature The Song Has Ended, But The Melody Lingers On…..

The Song Has Ended, But The Melody Lingers On…..

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By Kulbhushan Kain
In 1973 , when I was in Delhi University, an iconic song swept us off our feet. The sadness of the lyrics made us listen to it over and over again. The song was written and sung by Terry Jacks for his close friend named Roger, who was suffering from acute leukemia and died four months later.
Some of its lyrics went like this:
“Goodbye to you my trusted friend ,
We’ve known each other since we were nine or ten
Together we’ve climbed hills and trees
Learned of love and ABCs
Skinned our hearts and skinned our knees
We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the Sun
But the wine and the song ,
Like the seasons have all gone.”
Yesterday, I listened to the song many times. This time I was thinking of Pradeep, who incidentally also was at the University with me, during the time when the song “Seasons in the Sun”, smashed all records. Memories came flooding back of my past association with him- from learning the ABCs and sharing many seasons in the sun…..
I remember him as a handsome schoolboy with a thick mop of hair. He was slim, on the quieter side, and a good cricketer. He was a year junior to me. He was a lovely batsman who loved to play strokes with the languidity and grace of an aristocrat –minimum fuss, fearless and fun loving.
After school he too joined Delhi University. Though we both enrolled  for History, we were in adjoining colleges –he in Ramjas and me in Hansraj. I don’t recollect many cricket  matches I played against Ramjas, but I do remember one with Pradeep in the opposing team. I kept praying that I did not have to catch or run him out – he was my school mate and we had never played against each other!!
After the match, we shared  bread pakora at the college canteen.!!
Our paths forked out in different directions after college and university. We lost touch. When I returned to Dehradun and started writing for the Garhwal Post, we reconnected. We had aged. Pradeep had lost most his hair and my hair had turned grey. The dam of memories burst whenever we met. Time had not been able to dent them. He had earned a reputation of being an able administrator (he worked for ONGC) and a distinguished writer who wrote objectively, and worked hard on what he wrote. The details of what he wrote were researched laboriously. When I once remarked that I admired the way he dug out the facts, he smiled and said,
“Kulbhushan, I have to. I can’t mislead the readers!” He not only enjoyed writing, but also took it as a great responsibility to inform and educate without bias. Therein lay his greatness.
We met quite often. We met at the café of “Valley of Words “every month. We took part in the Doon Lit Festival discussing texts as varied as those written by Gandhi ji, Veer Savarkar, MN Roy and Rash Bihari Bose. We met at my place and enjoyed lemon tarts, pista biscuits, sandwiches, and coffee.
We exchanged a lot of WhatsApp messages. We always complemented each other for the articles we wrote. These messages were not one liners –the messages were detailed and incisive. Sometimes his wit surfaced-as for example when I wrote an article on tea and how a Scot waited for tea even though I had served him our Indian “chai”!. Pradeep wrote.
“Hi Kulbhushan. Read your article on tea. Refreshing read on a Sunday morning with clouds floating overhead. You sure surprised your Scot friend by serving good old chai !!! Had you served Elloras butter pista biscuits, he would have remarked their proximity to shortbread cookies from the Highlands, which incidentally, is true as I learnt in 2009. Have a relaxed Sunday”!!. It seemed life would never be snuffed out. We were back to our school and college days. We were enjoying our seasons in the Sun.!
He was a gentleman to his nails. He always wore a smile and was soft spoken. Whenever he forwarded something to me for reading, or seeking my opinion, he would do so in sophisticated words, as for example
“Kulbhushan, I hope I have the privilege of your time to browse what I have written, or, “Kulbhushan, hoping for your indulgence.”
I never imagined that I would be writing his obituary. Infact we were planning to discuss Rahul Sankrityayan at the next Doon Lit Fest.
There was nothing ordinary about Pradeep. He did not have the looks of Tom Cruise, but he did not have ordinary looks either. His eyes were gentle and his smile was kindly, endearing  and surfaced straight from his heart. Even though he had become bald –his grey side bars gave him a distinguished look. He carried the clothes he wore with finesse and ease. He had an aura which is difficult to define.
As I write, I am fighting back tears. But I have decided to let them flow. There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of strength. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, and of unspeakable love, and of a shared past. They irrigate the memories of school and college days, cricket fields and public spaces.
The song may have ended –but the melody lingers.
As I listen to, it let me cry!

(Kulbhushan kain is an award winning educationist with more than 4 decades of working in schools in India and abroad. He is a prolific writer who loves cricket, travelling and cooking. He can be reached at kulbhushan.kain@gmail.com)