I met Aditya on a Saturday night in the summer of 1993. He and Jack showed up at Maria's house. Aditya's first words to me, other than 'Hi', were that he had "graduated from Harvard." Aditya, of course, was joking, but when he showed me his real graduation diploma from Alabama, I didn't believe him.
During that summer after we met, five to ten of us would get together every Saturday night. It was our poker night. We bet pennies, played poker, listened to Danny and Andy playing guitar, and at least once during the night, we all would endure listening to Aditya enacting the song "Grease".
We created a bond that summer: Maria, Aditya, Danny, Aileen, Troy, Tomie and I. Some of us were friends before hand but at that time we became a group. All of us would get up in the morning and get breakfast, go to the park, etc.
That summer symbolized the pinnacle of our youth. That was also the summer our friend Julie got married. It was the first sign that we were adults, and it was time to move forward into our lives.
After that summer, we were a group no more, but the bonds forged then are still here now. Each of us has had tribulations and triumphs since then. We started to follow our dreams. We have grown up. Five have gotten married. Five have children. Three of us moved away. Five of us got grown up jobs. One of us has died.
There was only one of us that kept after the dream. The one that starts: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" That was Aditya. He kept after his dream. Some of us never seriously tried. Why? It would be too devastating to fail at that kind of attempt to reach the clouds.
Aditya, though, had the conviction to make his dream work. He never gave up on it even though many would have. His dream, to make movies, called to him over and over again. Aditya left once to New York and came back again after 6 months and a completed movie. Then he left again.
New York is not the kind of place to let you forget what you are there for. Aditya and New York were made for each other. This was the place where Aditya could go after the dream and improve his life.
You would think that Aditya's greatest triumph was living his dream. Maybe it was, but Aditya's greatest trial was learning to live sober. He achieved this dream even when some of us could not be with him through the lowest time. Aditya's commitment to recovery, however, drew his friends and family to lend him support when he needed it. Aditya would have done the same or more for us. His support to us was never faltering.
Sometimes when I am down and can't see the light, I remember Aditya calling me to say he was proud of me. I think that means more now than it did then. Those words and his faith in me, when I have lost faith, give me the strength to endure anything. I miss him.