Remembering a Friend and a Brother
Auckland, September 28, 2017
Had he been alive today, Wenceslaus Anthony would have been flooded with phone calls, emails, and text messages wishing him ‘Happy Birthday.’
His house would have by now become a mini-garden with flowers and plants sent as gifts by people who had admired him.
And by now, he and I would have been at lunch, discussing a great many things.
More importantly, we would have been celebrating his Diamond Jubilee.
Having crossed that magic number many years ago, I know how it feels to be 60- fulfilled, sated, gracious and perhaps ready to go.
Soulful and Graceful Man
Wenceslaus was a soulful man, ever in love and ever loved, by his family, friends and even to those who knew him by a glance.
That was the impact he left in people.
At his Memorial Mass held on August 23, 2017 at Christ the King Church in Mt Roskill, Auckland, I said that sleep is short death and death is long sleep.
I was replying to his desire to leave a message (that’s what his voicemail asked me to do). In doing so, I said that I would like to believe that he has had a short death and that he would return my call to say that he was rather tired and slept rather long and that he was sending his article for the next issue of Indian Newslink before the end of the day.
But Death plays a nasty game with us mortals, making us helpless observers, incapable of reversing its moves.
Void hard to fill
The death of Wenceslaus on the night of July 23, 2017 in Chennai to some complicated causes left a void which would be hard to fill.
For, the man raised the debate on goodwill and friendship to all with passion. He believed that individual talent can be harnessed for collective benefit, provided that such talent was allowed to flourish freely. He believed in self-dependence, self-governance and self-discipline.
Wenceslaus, for the first time, you have been rather unfair to your family- Wife Susan, daughter Sneha and Son Akash; to my family – my wife Uma, who you had known longer than any of us in this country (since she studied with you in Chennai and our daughter Ratna in who you saw Sneha (and vice-versa); you have been rather unfair to many friends.
You never told us that you were going.
And you since you did not tell us, we believe that you would return; and return soon.
I am looking at the photograph that appears here – your last portrait photograph taken at our office, minutes before it appeared in Indian Newslink, May 1, 2017 issue.
I am even thinking of ordering a cake.
Because you may come today and tell you of your experiences.
I am not sure, Wenceslaus. Somehow, I do not trust you to come back.
And hence, I am sending 60 pieces of Diamonds, converted into prayers.
Prayers to the Lord to keep you happy and peace.
That is the most I can do.
For I am only mortal.
Have you ever seen a grown up man cry?