April 06, 2007

Ravi Gangal

Ravi Gangal came to our wedding. For me, seeing him then was a trip down the lane that leads to the house by the sea, to faint memories of Ravi and his brother Nandu, a decade older than us tots, running around with us nevertheless. In the years since our wedding, we met a few times, spoke a few times. As it seems to go, there was always the promise that we would meet to spend more time together, never followed through.

And then, last weekend, I was at an intimate gathering to remember him. (He died a few days before). This was no mournful condolence meeting, but really a celebration of his life, a sharing of what he meant to so many. Several who knew him spoke, some in English, most in Marathi. But in either language, there was a flood of words about his many admirable qualities: "charismatic", "integrity", "values", "island of goodness", "caring", "upright", "no-nonsense" and more.

In a way I cannot fully explain, these were something intangibly more than the usual eulogies after a death. You got a sense of how special, how unique he was, this quiet, wise, strong, compassionate man. As his nephew reminded us, he made so many lives that much better just for being part of them.

And I was left ruing that I left it till too late to spend time with Ravi.

In 1995, Apple co-founder Guy Kawasaki made a semi-famous graduation speech at Palo Alto High School. He listed ten "hindsights" of his life, and top of the list, what he called "the most important hindsight", was this:
    Enjoy your family and friends before they are gone.
"Nothing," said Kawasaki that day, "nothing -- not money, power, or fame -- can replace your family and friends or bring them back once they are gone."

How sorry I am, Ravi, that I didn't follow through. That I didn't find ways to spend time with you, enjoy you enough.


Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Chanced upon this blog by accident. Now that I read this post, I'm glad I did.
-Ashwini Gangal