They would call him Bewra (a drunkard). He looked athletic with a broad chest and around 6 ft in height. He would wear the same torn jeans and a cap written “Attitude” on it. His eyes were brown and, his unshaven mustache, hair made him look like a hippie of the ’80s.

He looked like someone from a wealthy family, not a homeless begging for money to quench his thirst for alcohol. Sometimes he would address himself as Ajit Chaudhary while another Salman Khan or Sunny Deol, depending on what Bollywood actors are hot or in the news.

I would see him in the afternoon while going for my maths tutions. Some days he would dance break free or another sing in loud, mostly romantic broken heart songs. I would wonder if he is some detective or police informer in disguise of his looks. Other times seeing him crying, singing made me feel as if it was broken love. Sometimes we friends would joke if he is playing a character from some Bollywood movie or preparing for a big break in cinema.

Last year December, my hometown visit, I asked shopkeepers about bewra. They told me he moved to Vrindavan with the visiting Sadhus. The government banned alcohol in Bihar and, Bewra liked drinking quality alcohol.

Last week I saw the news about a stampede at a temple in Vrindavan. Among the death victims, he was also there. He had not aged at all, same mischievous smile with eyes closed. To my utter surprise, what was he doing at a temple? Many questions kept on hitting my head. Did Ajit Chaudhary turn into a Sadhu, offering devotion to Lord Krishna? What Corona or Alcoholism did not do, stampede did to him. Will they cremate, put it in fire, or throw him in the river for fish?

RIP Ajit.