Life is something you understand only the moment before you die. Partha said that to me once, after the clouds of initial acquaintance cleared and he believed that he could share his precious self with me. It took a long time. No one who met him personally considers him shy, because they see his reticence as arrogance and his lack of interest in small talk as a personal affront. Like everyone else, when I first met him, I was mistaken too.
Surely that couldn’t be true, I’d argue with him, there should be someone alive who understands life. Then from the depths of my meagre knowledge I’d exhume a few names; philosophers, writers and scholars who I thought must have uncovered the mysteries of life, names such as Ernest Hemmingway, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sartre. He would smile as if I mistakenly made a point in his support. Exactly, he’d say, they were dead long before their eyes stopped seeing and minds stopped dreaming. That worried me because that’s when I realised he considers himself a dead man walking.