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My Lost Friend Sastryji (standard:other, 1126 words)
Author: JuggernautAdded: Nov 12 2010Views/Reads: 1800/1106Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A sad story about a lost friend

Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story

Bhajanlal always offered Indian pastries, some sticky with sugar syrup
and others hard like rock but sweet. Juggernaut had no complaints since 
it brought some nostalgia of India. 

Sastryji was well known among the expatriate professors from India on
the campus and he introduced Juggernaut to some of them. Professor 
Krishnan, a dark-skinned and curly-haired professor, after living 
several years in England, came to Trinidad with his British wife. In 
social gatherings, he behaved more British than his English wife. He 
left Trinidad after a short stay; Trinidad was too Indianish for him. 

While Juggernaut's graduate work was going at full swing, he had serious
doubts about Sastryji completing his work any time soon. Sastryji came 
almost three years earlier and now almost seven years had passed since 
he came to Trinidad. His work was no way close to completion. He never 
discussed his work with anybody. Sastryji wasted time and money on 
Pundit Jairam and Dr. Mohan in socializing at the expense of his 
graduate work. Though Sastryji sent some money home, Juggernaut felt 
sorry for his wife and children back home. It was certain that his 
family missed him. 

On some days, Sastryji got up from bed in the afternoon hours. He
continued to smoke cigarettes like a wood-burning stove, as much as 
three to four packs of Broadway cigarettes, a local brand. The Indian 
maid emptied a plastic pail (the regular ashtray over-filled so often, 
the maid replaced it with a pail) full of cigarette butts and ash so 
often, the chore disgusted her. 

The maid was always worried that Sastryji would never return to India to
join his family. Juggernaut consoled her by saying how Sastryji may 
stay put in Trinidad like her forefathers from India. 

When Juggernaut left Trinidad with a Ph.D. degree, Sastriji was still
working on his thesis work. Several years after, Juggernaut contacted 
the University where Sastryji worked in North India. After several 
months, he received a letter from the University Registrar indicating 
that Dr. Sastry died of natural causes soon after he returned from 
Trinidad. His death could be anything but natural from heavy smoking 
for so long. The University provided Sastryji's family address living 
in South India but he didn't see any need to contact them, after all 
they don't know Juggernaut 

Juggernaut always wondered about his dear friend Sastryji, how he spent
his time, almost a decade away from his family, just to get a diploma 
for a promotion to professorship that benefited neither him nor his 
family. He was a loser by any count. Both the Pundit and the Indian 
doctor wasted his time and money. Juggernaut was not sure how the 
regular puja helped him either, may be he received some solace from it. 


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