Usually when we go to Galle, Hameed would always accompany us. But last Friday, we went to Galle and came back to Colombo, but he stayed back.
Alone. Cold. In a grave that was dug too early, before his time.
They say death is the great equaliser, but till the angel of death visits our loved ones, we often take our life, and lives of others, for granted.
Thursday, the 2nd of March started out as a normal day for all of us. Lectures from 9 in the morning till 4 in the evening. We see the same faces everyday, and we expect to see those same faces for the next 3 odd years. With about 60 days left for our first year exams, the exam pressure had just started to kick in. I remember one of my last conversations with him was about how studies were going, he told me he had just started revising and I had too; we spoke about how there was a good amount of time left to start studying and that it was better than than delaying it till the week before exams.
I first met Hameed at the end of March, last year. He was one of the first people I got to know at college and we got along immediately. During the first day of lectures, I remember we both walked to a close by cafe during our break and while talking we found out that we had a lot in common. Things like photography, a love for cars and driving, and how he’s from Galle and how my father was from Galle too and went to the same school as my father (Richmond College). More importantly, we shared one main interest; Music.
He loved to sing and play his guitar and so did I. At that point we used to go home together and we spoke about how him and I could play at some gigs together. We thought we could do that during the weekends as it was something we both liked doing. Even this year we spoke about how we’d do it during our summer vacation. Whenever I go to Galle for a weekend to my grandmothers place, I would try and meet up with him ; if there was anything I wanted to know, I’d just call him. Our last trip as a gang was in April, we all went down south for the day and he taught us all how to surf, that was quite the experience.
Hameed was a very well connected guy, had a friend or contact for everything and anything, literally. He was truly a guy about town.
To his colleagues and his seniors, Hameed was known as one of the nicest guys around. Always ready to have a good time and have a music session anywhere. You could count on him and he would always deliver, he was good at making others smile with his musical magic. I will always remember his warm smile,that laugh of his, and his very recognisable and charming voice.
Last Thursday, the 2nd, played out quite horribly. As him and two of our friends were out near the Colpetty railway track, close to the sea. They were there to collect some cardboard boxes, for an upcoming show organised by our university. While these three were there, two police officers happened to spot them and came to search them, without any reasonable suspicion to do so. The officers checked the first two, and when they got to Hameed, they searched him right on top of the rail tracks. The officers took his phone and purse to search, but they found nothing.
As this was going on, a maintenance train engine was coming at them at a high speed, this train would be an almost silent killer unheard thanks to the roaring sound of the sea. As it got close, my friends shouted and came running, and the officers moved conveniently out of the way. Hameed was right near the tracks by this point and not right on it.
As he turned around, he got hit in the shoulder and close to his head and he was flung and knocked unconscious by the train. After the next couple of hours, and after a successful surgery, he looked alright, but later on in the afternoon, he succumbed to the injuries that were internal.
We all go to know about this late in the evening. He had passed away at around 4 or 5pm. When I heard about it over the phone I could not believe it, but to be honest with you, I did not want to believe it, I wanted to think of it as some sick joke or a bad dream. Out of all people why him? He was a really good and close friend. He didn’t deserve it. I just could not come to terms with this.
After the funeral on Friday evening, we all grabbed dinner and made a move back to Colombo. On the way back I still hadn’t come to terms with it. Seeing all the pictures of him and the videos of him singing just brought me to tears.
I wanted to bring myself to peace so I thought about how he left this imperfect world, and how he is now in a happier place, probably looking down at all of us and smiling with his guitar, serenading the heavens above.
Rest in Peace Hameed Zahran.
1995 – 2017