I got to know Mr. Vasu during my sister Vanaja’s wedding in the early 70s. He was related through her husband. I was doing my Form 5 then and although Mr. Vasu was twice my age, we got along quite well. He was attached to LLN (now TNB) and based in Butterworth where we lived. During some of the conversations that we had, I was particularly impressed that LLN provided their staff with holiday bungalows as an employment perk. I thus approached him one day and requested him to help get us a couple of nights stay at one of the bungalows in Batu Feringgi during the December holidays so that my classmates and I could have a farewell party after end of school year. He readily obliged. I was excited when he came over to my house one day just before the holidays began to hand me a letter from LLN approving his application for a 3 days / 2 nights stay. It cost only RM8 per day that he insisted in paying. My friends were thrilled when I broke the news to them and we quickly made preparations for the trip. Once there we had such a good time. The fully air-conditioned bungalow with a private sea front had a gate in the large compound that gave us direct access to the beach. We cherished the private moments that we spent there especially since we realized that we were destined to go our separate ways having completed our fifth form. Then getting into form 6 was a big hurdle unless you obtained excellent results and many of us were skeptical if we could do that. Chan Keng San, the C in the acronym JACHFRINS about which I had featured in an earlier article, was the only one to bring his girlfriend along and I remember we told her ghost stories one night to scare her. This was also my first bungalow stay and I relished every moment away from my orthodox upbringing. It was like being let lose and the new found freedom, although I realized it was temporary, was something to savour forever. It was the beginning of everything else that was to follow later in life. Indeed it was a farewell party as a few months after the stay when the results came out we all went our separate ways except Jalil (the J) who remained to continue with his form 6. (This story of the Bungalow Stay will be told another day)
After this, I had met Mr. Vasu many a time especially during weddings and some other functions since he was a relative and although we went on to become close friends, I am actually guilty of not keeping in touch with him. We bumped into each other 2 years ago when I was distributing my daughter’s wedding card. Although he was already into his 60s, he appeared fine with no sign of any illness whatsoever. That was the last time I met him. So it came to me as a shock when I learnt that Mr. Vasu had recently suffered a stroke and that he had since been paralyzed!