Anirudh Mayaram (1982-2005) combined in himself the best that this world had to offer. Vivacious, full of life and fun, he lived and loved life. He summed up his philosophy of life when he told his pal Kanika, ‘Kans man, this is life! You gotta live it!’ When one of his closest friends Gaurav Kashyap would feel down and out, he would shake him and say ‘ Kashyap beta, thaka mat .don’t be an old man’. He infected everyone around him with this zest for life.
Anirudh was different. From the beginning, he looked at life as a gift to be shared with everyone, both fortunate and less fortunate. He lived with an intensity and richness of experience. So he would sit on a stone sharing namkeen with Gafoor Miyan, the cycle repairman, talking about the world of cycles and the news from the roadside. He would stop by Gopi, the chowkidar in St. Xavier School and ask him how life was treating him. He would sit with dadi and listen to her stories of the glorious past; pester his friend Abhishek’s mother to make besan parathas for him; and Gaurav Kashyap’s didi for samosas . Anirudh was often mischievous with a twinkle in his eye, but this never involved hurting others. “He would play pranks in school, but would never be crude or insolent or hurtful,” said his school principal, Father Jose Philip. On the basketball courts, he would sometimes rave against the decision of the referee but never with insolence. “What Hari sir!” he would exclaim throwing up his hands.
Loved by all, he was “our hero, our king,” says Abhishek, his close friend and law partner-to-be. “I am touched by the kind of adulatory comments I’ve heard from many who were associated with him, one of whom happens to be my own niece,” wrote Abha Kasliwal. “He was her senior in school.he touched the lives of many in a positive way.”
Ever the leader, the organizer, he would remember all his friends and organize his day around the things they would all do together. In fact, his entire life revolved around his friends.and there were so many of them. “Cheekoo was the love of our lives. He taught us how to live life to the fullest,” says his buddy Venetia. “He told me there was always a brighter side to everything. We must only look for it.” In the lounge of his flat at Cardiff “he would walk in and scream ‘Hey man, how’s Chelsea doing’ and would get so upset if the soccer team lost to Manchester. He lived life king size. We used to call him a Gibraltarian because he was so much like us,” says Vishal, his flat mate from Gibraltar. His younger brother Abhinav had to be part of the gang.affection never demonstrated but not ever absent. He affirms what Anirudh’s friends, Dipesh and Saumya, repeatedly say, ” usne hame jina sikhaya ” (he taught us to live).
Always seeking excellence, but with fun, Anirudh, was on top of his class at Law School in Cardiff. “He always kept me on my toes and I had to prepare doubly if Anirudh was attending the class,” said a teacher. Endowed with a “analytical” mind, he looked for wider meaning and universal connections. “For most non-European students, European Union law does not hold any fascination, but Anirudh was different. He not only worked hard at it but would so often pursue his enquiry to understand if similar laws could be applicable in other regions of the world,” said his EU Laws teacher at Cardiff. His friends remembered how when everyone else in his class would study the text books, Anirudh would go to case law and read cases as “detective fiction.” This gave his arguments “deep insight and his questions and comments were always penetrating,” said his Personal Tutor at Cardiff Law School.
In recent years he had developed deep empathy for the marginalised. He often told his friends that from his mother he had learnt to be sensitive about gender inequality in the world. He was concerned with human rights issues and the oppression of the weak, whether these were people or nations. On the walls in his room he had posters of Che’ Guevara, his idol, of Bob Marley and of “Wanted: Bush & Blair!”
Magnanimous and large hearted, Anirudh would happily share his things with his friends, gift his things to the less privileged. When the father of one of his classmates from a poor background in school was seriously injured, Anirudh and his friends offered to mobilize any kind of support to provide him with the best treatment. In school and later at university in Delhi and Cardiff, he was never shy of sharing his notes or his work with others. Says Avantika, his friend at Cardiff, “Anirudh would take tutorials for the other classmates to help them with their course.” He never competed with others in an unfair manner. It had to be always like a “gentleman,” with a smile, with good will for everyone in his heart.