Jean Jose Palackal – A Tribute

Dear Jean, Paalu, it has been two years since that fateful day.. And somehow, somewhere, I, we have still not come to terms that you have left us.. Miss you and your ever smiling face and silly jokes a lot.. Look in over us once in a while.. You will live on in our hearts.. Take good care! :(

I had originally written this post in 2009, on an old blog of mine which I had to discontinue. The original post is copy-pasted below without any alterations.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Jean Jose Palackal – A Tribute

It was sometime in February 1988, 21 years ago, a long time even by today’s globalized standards, when I first met Jean Jose Palackal. I had just got admission to Girideepam Bethany English High School, Kottayam, Kerala, India, and as they say, bonds established in the beginning last the most, and we shared this ‘invisible’ bond even though we moved on our different tracks later in life. This story spans 21 years, a story of friendship that had a touch of Platonism, close to each other even though not close always, connected through the radio frequencies of mobile service providers and escapades which were never recorded and witnesses of a friendship who never omnipresent, memories that live in hearts, one of which is immortal today.

Jean Jose Palackal (1981 – 2009). Friend, Brother, Compatriot, Part of my Soul, a void that can never be filled, a memory that can never be erased. He was my ‘first friend’ in the horror called St. Mary’s Bethany Boarding, affiliated to Girideepam Bethany English High School, in Kalathipady, Kottayam, Kerala where we were imprisoned in the name of discipline at the tender age of 7… “How can I ever forget you, as you were part of what I am today, gave me basic lessons in my formation years which later shaped myself into me… I hoped one that we with our old “Once in a month conversations”, we could still get together, could still celebrate when we found the Love of our lives, could grow old together, could introduce our kids as ‘family friends’, could share a mug of beer in Pecos, could look back and laugh at our life that shaped us, could take a memories or two about our sad and happy lives……”

We grew up together, right from January 1988 in Std 1 and a half when I joined Girideepam, right to that day, on the 18th of February 2009, when he left us all in a car accident at Domlur in Bangalore City… He was always the one in front, outspoken and extrovert, leader of the pack, as to me, introvert and shy. He showed me the first lessons of my life, as to what to learn from the competition, how to overcome adversaries which are more within you rather than outside.

You were my first friend I can remember with good reason, sharing juvenile fantasies and our ‘boarding-school-law-breaking’ escapades, even forming the core of my values even today, sharing everything we had in the narrow confines of the boarding school for 4 years, unconsciously becoming part of each other, like soldiers in a battle. Though I never admitted it, l looked up to him how to take on life and how to get ahead of my nemeses. He moved out of the boarding, so did I, as his parents established base next to the school and my parents a good 15 km away. The school’s students shuffling exercises seemed futile as both us ended up in the same division all the time. We gathered lots of common compatriots: Sherin, Nittin, Juby, Subin, Liz, Renu, Roshen, Joseph, Renju, Sajan, Geevan, Vivek and many others… Though we were not as close to each other as we used to be, we always, always had that, some force that linked us, inside us that would keep us close together, till that day, and maybe beyond…

Life moved on. Over the years we grew up, shared little secrets of new found knowledge, roamed our town, found new vices and little rays of happiness and discovered that life is a long lasting Medley song flowing though bus stops, tuition classes, theatres, supermarkets, private buses, simple evenings spent chatting, hot tea served by a loving mom at a friend’s place, the famous coffee shops and thoroughfares of our town at sunset, and so on… Well, He went on to become a great athlete and captain of the Girideepam Basketball team, while I wandered around without any particular aim, preferring to stay in the background of everything. Our schooling lives ended in March 1997 with the SSLC exams as we completed secondary school and moved out into the big bad world.

We hardly met during the two years of PDC (11, 12) – same town – and four years of engineering – same state (TN) but different cities – like all of us – out to seek different and new experiences and people. Though we kept tabs like once in a blue or green moon.

Later we both moved to the IT capital of the country. Me, as an MBA aspirant; and he, as a struggling professional. Though we lived 8 km or half an hour apart, we never met. Never, except a couple of organized “get togethers”. We had a lot of commonalities.. We got our first cars within a distance of 2 months, the same make and model… We had our first car accidents at exactly the same spot on Mysore Road… He struggled through night shift contract jobs, part time software jobs and finally found a career starting that would realize his dreams and aspirations… We met for the last time as part of one of those organized get togethers… Even though we met once in a while, we knew what was going though in each other’s lives. And I, like in the old days, looked up to him.

A face that was always smiling, always planning so much about life and the day ahead, despite all the setbacks a career life had to offer, would console over the phone taking his dear ones troubles as his own, even a step before of his own far more troublesome issues, just shows the heart he had, one which deserved to be on earth to be showing the way for us, but was cruelly taken away from us…

My dear friend, whatever it is, I will never forget you, will never forget all the lessons you taught me during our early years. You live on, in our hearts, forever. I don’t want to mince more words; I love you, as the one who has taught me the first lessons of life. Love and prayers, you and your family, forever and always, fate was too cruel that you had to leave us so unexpectedly leaving me and all of us so heartbroken. You will live forever, I our hearts, in our words, in our thoughts. Bless us, for we will never leave your smiling face behind…

Always and Forever..
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  • Very touching article. The only confusing part were the usage of ‘you’ and ‘he’ when refering to Jean Jose Palackal. But in a state of emotion, words flow in no order, isn’t it?

    • Thanks for pointing it out.. I never noticed it. Did some minor changes now like italicizing.
      Yeah you are right.. Emotions do override everything.. Just typed what came to my mind :(

  • I had a friend by name Jean Jose and he had his family name at its tail end. He died a few years before, not because of accident, but of brain hemorrhage. This friend, very lean, and senior to me was always happy and outspoken. We were batch mates in Baselious College, KTM.

    Reading your tweet about this post, I thought, somehow, it was about this person and jumped here to find you are talking about a different person. But scrolling down skipping through the lines, I was sure, I had met this guy and last came the photo. Sorry, we didn’t knew each other, but I had seen him many times. It is always sad to hear some one has died in his tender age. Let his soul rest in peace.

    BTW, I was too in Girideepam from 1981 to 1993 (LKG to SSLC).

  • Hi Sebin,

    Oh, that is news! I didnt know there was another person by the same name! Well you are our 4 yrs senior in Girideepam then. We were the batch of 1997. And yes, Jean (this guy) did his pre-degree in Baselious, which makes him your junior there also.

    You should have met him, I am sure. His place was at Kalathilpady.

    Condolences for your friend as well.. :( Yes, losses are irreplaceable and unforgettable.

  • @vadakkus-

    Was searching him in google and landed here…
    2years over..
    I heard his sound last time when he called to wish my birthday on feb14 2009 ..he went on feb16 2009

  • That was touching.. may his soul rest in peace…

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