Do you know, initially, I tried to avoid him, and the reason is interesting. In NUJS, I had a crush on a girl, and that girl had a crush on Shamnad Sir. But for him, all his lifestyle (Shamnad used to come on a Royal Enfield Bullet, and a lot of girls were crazy about him) and the attention he got from his fanatic fans in the college — nothing was a calculated move; it was not something he was doing intentionally!
So though he had a lot of ex-girlfriends, he stayed good friends with everyone. It was not that they became enemies. Till today, I have talked to many of his ex-girlfriends. They all respect him.
In our circle, people jokingly say that if you want to understand diversity, you should see Shamnad Sir’s love life!
But do you know why I still keep in touch with them (all his exes)? I intentionally do this because one of the objectives of my life is that the world should not miss him! Wo nahi hain fir bhi unka koi kaam nahi rukna chahiye (just because he is no more, his mission should not stop). That will be disrespectful if I allow this to happen.
So, it’s like he has left India, and I am just not getting his phone calls and emails. I see it this way. And this gives me sukoon (relief).
Otherwise, it was very empty the first few days and the first few months! Even when I was going for my surgery, I texted him. He was not there, but I still texted his number, even after his death. On his memorial, I was there in Bangalore, but main gayab tha, intentionally. Kya bolu?? (I was absent intentionally, what was there to say?)
You know, he was a believer in Hinduism as well as Buddhism, and so he also believed in the concept of punar-janma (life after death). When I stayed with him for one month, we also talked a lot about religion, and I wanted to know his opinion about different religions. Once I asked him, “Sir, you have done so many good things to so many people in this world, then why is this happening to you [Arnab was referring to Shamnad’s physical ailments and deteriorating body]? He said, “Nawaab [when he was in a good mood, Shamnad addressed Arnab as Nawaab, and when he was angry, he used just to say Arnab], maybe in my past life, I have done something wrong, and I was opposite to how you see me today. What you do in this life, you get the results in this life or future life.”
So he was a monk! Deep inside, he was a monk! Wo gerua wala..daadhi wala nahi.. (not that saffron-robe-wearing monk with a beard)
People often talk about his works as the cause of helping blind students, but I don’t think ki unhone kuch specially alag karne ka prayas kiya isme, unka jo work pattern hai throughout, wo tha hee sabko access dena (I don’t see it as him doing anything extra in this regard, because his very pattern was to make everything accessible for all)! Whether SpicyIP or IDIA, it was always about giving access to all.
For instance, … IP. Now, IP language is sophisticated; they don’t teach this subject in the first year of law; they teach IP in the third year. IP is tough to understand if you are not aware of corporate law and all these things. So Shamnad Sir had a mission to cut down this barrier of IP for the common person. His structure was to create accessibility for all.
Otherwise, he was not pro-IP, he was anti-IP. It’s like that Matrix movie dialogue ki system ke andar ghus kar system ko thik karna hai (he was trying to correct the system by entering it)!