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I miss you, Kris

In everyone’s life at some stage walks in someone who is like a mentor. Sometimes it is a teacher, a pal, or even maybe one of your siblings. For Gaurav Joshi, it was Kris, a friend who walked in and changed his life forever. If Gaurav has transformed himself from a shy and timid person to a high-octane individual, then Kris had a major role in it.

The two friends developed a close bond, eating together, traveling and sharing some wonderful moments. But then one day, something happened. Destiny had other ideas.

In an emotional piece, Gaurav writes about his friendship with Kris.

Growing up, I wasn't the smartest kid in school. I still remember the days where I used to struggle to understand math concepts. The amount of time my mom used to spend in finding me a math teacher was unbelievable. Being an introvert with poor academic skills gave me no reason to shine in school. Enter Kris, when I was in my fourth grade. Kris had just shifted to Bangalore from New Delhi I vividly remember at the same we had just got our unit test results and I failed miserably. When I look back, it was not the failure that made me feel bad, but it was one of those feelings where most of your fellow mates were performing well, but I lag behind.

Kris and I both lived in parts of North India so we shared a common language, Hindi. As we started talking, Kris quickly realised what I was going through not because he failed, in fact, he was among the brightest kids in our school but he had an amazing quality where he could empathize with people and support them. When I look back, it astonishes me how someone so young can be so mature. As we lived close by, he voluntarily would visit me to understand the areas where I was weak and found ways to help me improve. Kris was a good wisher. He would do anything to watch his peers grow around him. His rigorous efforts of helping me improve were visible, I started feeling the change and got better every day as far as academics were concerned.

My self-belief had increased immensely. I remember Kris had pushed me to take part in an essay competition in school, I had no idea how to go about it. All he came and told me was "Just express yourself while writing". I wrote a personalized essay describing my love for cricket and I grabbed the first prize. I can never forget that moment in my life. If it were not for Kris, then I don't think I would ever take part in any of the events in school. It's amazing the kind of impact he's had on my life. Time passed by and we had completed school with decent grades. Kris then moved to Mangalore to complete his Pre-University education. He was back to Bangalore to pursue his degree and I remember we spent most of our time together doing all the nonsensical stuff.

On the evening of 24 June 2017, which also happens to be my birthday, Kris and I along with a group of friends visited Pondicherry. All of us were having a great time at the famed Paradise Beach. Kris and two of my other friends were playing in the water while I was on the other side watching them. Suddenly, I noticed that Kris was drowning. I ran towards them and pulled him out of the water because none of them including Kris knew swimming. As we took him out, we gave him CPR and immediately called for an ambulance. By the time we took him to the hospital, he was dead. I was blank, broken, helpless, and was going through every possible feeling that no one should ever go through.

Nothing in my life had prepared me for this, we were coming back to Bangalore after completing all the formalities. The hardest part was talking to Kris's parents, my parents. I remember telling Kris's mom, "It was a beautiful place, a lovely evening and Kris was very happy". The first night was difficult: trying to sleep believing the fact that Kris was no more with us. I wanted to be left alone, I refused to go to college. With God's grace and the kind of people around me, I managed to pass that phase. Even today, it is extremely hard to digest that he's not with me.

Kris had been more than just a friend, he’s been a brother, a partner, and sometimes even an enemy. He told me the truth when I didn’t like it, he yelled at me when I was stubborn. He fought for me, travelled for me, and above all, he was always there for me. Exactly two years back, a friend and I shot a video dedicated to Kris. As a part of a filmmaking contest organized by Fourth Ambit (Fayz’s parent company), we shot the video to celebrate the theme of Daan- which means to donate. As Kris loved donating, I couldn't think of a better way to give him a tribute for the kind of impact he's had on my life. The purpose of the video also helped me win the consolation prize.

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Everyone leaves footprints in our memory, but the ones that leave footprints on our hearts are the ones we will always remember and to me, Kris is remembered every second. Today, I am at a stage in my life where I cannot ask for anything more. I am a Toastmasters public speaker, something I never thought I would become. I was featured in Zee Business back in 2016 for a project we did in college where we had to serve and help the underprivileged community. Last year I led an expert team in Delhi to execute the World Marketing Summit 2018, a flagship project of the world-famous marketing guru and seasoned author Dr. Philip Kotler. All these achievements wouldn’t have been possible without the sheer support of Kris. I wish I could tell him how hard each day has been without him.

Gaurav Joshi is working as a Public Relations executive in Bangalore

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