Candle in the Wind

I got a call from one of my students of 2016 batch yesterday morning . Year 2020 had dealt another blow. We lost our friend, a 20 year old girl, her mother and her 15 year old brother in a car accident.

The car rammed into a stationary truck; probably the driver must have fallen asleep at the wheels. Father and the driver survived. The newspapers did not reveal much, only a brief report with the names and ages of the deceased.

She had called her friends before they started on road, from Gurgaon, where they had gone for Diwali festival. They were making plans for her birthday celebration.

She was a candle in the wind, snuffed out too early, by a moment, when it opted to blow too strong and too close to the flame.

Her name was Devika. She was the kind of girl, conspicuous, only to the ones who observe, as she chose to remain at the wings. She wished not to be drawn out to the front, content to be the shadow to her extroverted friends.

She was an artist and a good basketball player.

I took this series of pictures of her, on the day of Grade X farewell. The day when she stood before a crowd and spoke, shared her dreams and laughed and smiled. This is the image of Devika, I wish to commit to my memory.

But I still cannot help thinking… Would she have been sleeping when her car collided?

Did she suffer so much or only a moment of pain?

I knew her parents too from numerous parent- teacher meetings.

Having lost his family to fate’s cruel finger snap, where is her father going to draw the strength to get through?

As we live each day, we never think that, today could be the last tomorrow for some of us.

The mightiest power of death is not that it can make people die, but that it can make the people you left behind want to stop living.

Fredrik Backman

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