I think we were in Class 10 at Beaconhouse when I asked you why you had a sticker of that dog from Garfield, Odie, on your pencil case. You pointed at the L to the left of the sticker and said, "L plus Odie equals Lodie!" Then you laughed. And then you shook your head.
Your body is home. And your soul is free. We hadn't talked in a couple of years, I know, but that doesn't bother me, for some reason. Ours was a comfortable friendship, I like to think, one that would pick up seamlessly after long periods of quiet. It did, whenever we met. And it will, again, someday.
As we let you go for now, I think of the good times we had growing up in Karachi... especially the stupid good times.
- You, me and Nade getting kicked out of that music store in Khadda Market.
- Our Pat Rafter vs. Mark Philippoussis tennis matches. You were so horrible at that game. Haha.
- Studying for our O levels at my place and spending 10 minutes laughing helplessly at the sound pencil made on paper in a quiet room.
- Whacking each other on the head while travelling in cars over bumpy roads and then apologizing insincerely a la Faisal Butt. (Sorry, Faisal, wherever you are.)
I'm only upset with you for one reason, really, Imran. You were the best shot I had of knowing an honest to goodness global celebrity. Someone with your talent, passion and love of music was going to make it sooner or later. It was only a matter of time. And I was really looking forward to cashing in (socially, and perhaps monetarily) on your fame. Why else do I still have the ticket from your first Undertow concert at the Alliance Française stored safely at home? You owe me, buddy.
You left earlier than anyone knew you would, but while you were here, you had the courage to follow your dreams, through ups and downs and across oceans and continents. And you did it with that unassuming charm and humility that we all grew to cherish. Your sense of humor was one of a kind. Your life brought us joy. Your death leaves us devastated, but appreciative of the years we had with you.
For a life ended too soon, I mourn. For a life that meant so much to so many, I celebrate. And for a life well lived, one filled to bursting with the love you yourself may have described as unobtainable, Imran Khan Lodhi, I salute you.