Dear Manoj

You left us a week ago, on May 2nd, 2021. COVID took you. Not because you were careless, you were not. You got it because despite your double-masking, your constant hand-sanitising, your staying home and urging everyone to do the same several times a day, someone in the vicinity of your house decided to wander around without a mask and infected not only you, but also your parents.

Your parents are alright, by the way, all things considered.

Many of your work colleagues, former and contemporary, have all expressed their shock and sadness at your passing. Those who haven't, I am sure, are grieving in their own way. You had touched many lives, made many laugh, and motivated many people to become better versions of themselves in the course of your life. A life that, though short, was not small by any means.

The universe is billions of years old. The Earth, though young by comparison, is also billions of years old. On it, life is an ancient phenomenon and all of human history is a small part of it.

My life, like yours, is a tiny slice of it.

We are all made of matter. Matter that is conscious, as opposed to matter that (to the best of our knowledge), is not conscious. The matter that I am may have become conscious ages ago. The matter that was you may have gained consciousness in the far future. But neither of those things happened. We were both here now.

We could see, hear, and talk with each other. We shared space and time. We made memories and we were happy for a while. I will remember this. Because what else is there to do now?

I do not believe in afterlives or gods. So I draw some solace from the multiverse theory. If the multiverse exists, then there are many Earths out there. They are all similar to this Earth but different somehow. Sometimes they are very different - Earths where dinosaurs never went extinct or Earths where humanity never achieved civilisation. Sometimes, these Earths are almost identical to our Earth, with one minor difference. Like an Earth where Covid never happened. Or one where I was hospitalised instead of you. Or one where you went to the hospital and came back alive.

Some say there are an infinite number of parallel worlds. And because half of infinity is still infinity, there must be an infinite number of worlds out there where you are alive. And an infinite number of worlds where you listened to your mom and got married and had kids and adopted a dog. And an infinite number of worlds where you got everything you ever wanted and were happy.

There must also be an infinite number of worlds where you were very different from what I know you as. On infinite worlds, you are a cop. On infinite others, you are a quantum physicist. I think that on at least a few of the worlds where you are a quantum physicist, you have figured out a way to observe other parallel realities.

Perhaps there are an infinite number of you watching me, reading this, right now. Watching all your friends grieving you, watching this world that is without you. I hope you are taking notes and that perhaps you are smiling. I hope that a version of me and your friends and your family is with you in these worlds.

To me, the multiverse is now divided into two halves. The infinite half with you. And the unfortunate infinite half without you. I just happen to exist in one of the worlds where you no longer exist, except as a memory.

No matter where you may be, know that there are an infinite number of grieving friends all over the multiverse, who will always love you.

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