Dear Kamal Bhansali, Vicky Kunal Bhansali and Vidhi Bhansali Nayak,
Shail and I were saddened to hear of Vijai Bhansali / Suresh passing away in the wee hours on 20th February 2020. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time. I imagine your grief must be overwhelming. Dear Kamal…! please know that we are here for you. Vicky and Vidhi your father was one of the nicest people I know and I know that he was a great dad too. You have my deepest sympathy on your loss.
My Dear Vijai Bhansali or fondly called Suresh by us,
It pains me to admit that I think about you more now than I did when you were alive. It was just last year that we met at Jagdish Prasad Modi and Saroj Modi ’s place in Dwarka over lunch. It was our misfortune that we could not meet Kamal, as she was in US with kids. I stare into your negative space and fear that one day I will go twenty-four hours without pausing to remember you. As the sound of your voice grows more distant, leaving parts of you behind seems inevitable.
I remember you more as my cabin-mate for nearly 14 months in Russia of late 70s for Kamov training. I vividly also recall the Sea King squadron 330/336 days at Cochin. For Gen Tests, Before Flight Inspections, and many more crew room gossips… Remember how Berry and Behram, secretly spying on Observers from under the helicopter belly, whether we were gallivanting or learning..? Let our tense slide from present to past and even past perfect, the one used for actions that have been completed before others take place.
While it is frightening to think of what comes next, somehow, in your own way, you’ve prepared me for it. You were my first friend in naval aviation and my first eulogy. I think it would make you, the eternal optimist that you were, happy to know that our friendship keeps making me a better, stronger person.
Though you were younger and junior by just couple of years, you showed me that how we can function in the face of tragedy. You taught me the vocabulary of grief so I can comfort others when they need it. I never would have asked for it to be this way, but if this is what I can take from it, I will.
So, dearest friend, that’s all I have to share for now. I’ll raise a glass for your passing away in this spring of 2020, and as always, I’ll keep you in my thoughts.
Suresh you were always thoughtful and generous, and your devotion to family was admirable. Whenever we needed help with anything, we knew we could always count on you. Remember the days when we shared your house and had ‘mundan’ ceremony for both Vicky and Kachu, my daughter. The culinary skills of Kamal will never be forgotten, for we had enjoyed so many lunches and dinners at your home. I’ve also seen your best qualities as you will always go out of your way to help others.
We will cherish the memories we have of you. I remember meeting you with Kamal for the first time at a squadron dinner party on-board Vikrant. Your subtle jokes made everyone giggle, and your smile lit up the wardroom. You always blushed and turned pink, when someone showered compliments on you.
Signing off with heavy heart and moist eyes…!
Om Shanti..! May you be happy, peaceful and liberated.