They say that your room reflects what’s going on in your mind. Now I’ve been to countless rooms in my life. Some extraordinarily beautiful and some just plain dull. But there was this one room that I would never forget till the end. I don’t even remember the room number. All I remember was that it was on the third floor of my hostel. I had not seen Sai for a couple of weeks. But this wasn’t unusual at all. Sai would miss classes for weeks on end and then show up suddenly like nothing had happened. So one evening, I decide to give him a visit and minutes later I was knocking on his door. Sai opened the door. It was obvious that I had woken him up. He left the door open as he threw himself back on the bed. I entered the room and closed the door behind me.

The room had a strong smell of scented candles. The candles were placed at the corner of the room near the window. There was barely any place to stand because the floor was covered with unwashed dishes, plastic bags from various takeouts and his clothes. The scented candles were obviously a way to cover up the smell of the rotting food that was scattered all across the floor. His table was cluttered with numerous books, an oven and a hookah.

His bed however, was surrounded by paintings. Sai was an excellent painter with no formal training. His paintings ranged from abstract art to depictions of sins like vanity and self obsession. He lit up the hookah and we talked about his latest painting that he was working on. He called it ‘Uncertainty’. Little did I know that these talks would inspire me to paint years later, although my works aren’t half as good as his. Sai’s was the only room that I could stay in for hours without caring for the surroundings. His room truly resembled his state of mind. The mind of an artist.

After spending over one year in the hostel Sai left Manipal for good to pursue his talents as an artist. I never met him after that and had lost contact because of his aversion to social media. The last I had heard of him was two years ago when I learnt that he took up a painting course abroad. That was until today when I received the news of his untimely demise.

Now I would never know what he did for the past few years. I would never know what he would have thought of my paintings. I would also never know the reason he chose to visit Manipal years later where he passed away.

All I know that he was one of the most intelligent and perceptive people that I have ever met. If I had to define life in one word, I would probably pick this one – Uncertainty. Rest in peace dear friend.

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