A mother’s boy, he was trying to decide between different mobile sets to buy for her, and also for an uncle.
He worked as a bike delivery rider in Malta and in the morning of 16 February, he was scrolling through his phone when he got a delivery request and decided to take it up. Every extra euro would help, he said.
I was playing a game on my phone and barely paid attention as he left the apartment. He later called from below the apartment to ask me to pass his power bank that he had left. As a delivery boy, it was an essential he could not afford to leave behind.
He called again me to tell me to throw him his purse from the balcony. He caught it with a grin. Sloppy boy, I thought.
A while later, I got a call from a fellow Nepali. He told me to go to the hospital because Ajay had met with an accident, about three kilometers from our apartment.
I could feel my soul leave my body when I heard the news as I rushed to the hospital. As soon as I arrived, I was told by the doctor that Ajay was no more.
The fact that he had come back twice to take his phone charger and wallet still haunts me. He had died on the spot when a truck hit him. Perhaps if he had not been delayed by those couple of minutes due to his absentmindedness, he would still be alive. The difference a few split seconds would have made.
Needless to say, I was shocked beyond belief. How could this have happened? My eyes hurt to see my brother as he lay there in the hospital, as if we was in peaceful sleep. He looked normal and was still warm.
Read also: Diaspora Diaries 2, Nepali Times
My mother back in Nepal had to be rushed to hospital as she collapsed after hearing the news. This added to my grief and worry.
In that abyss, I felt numb, unable to process what was going on. It had been only 17 days since I had arrived in Malta. Everything was a blur.
Back in my brother’s apartment as I wept, I could not comprehend what was going on and what was next. I had to figure out how to take my brother’s body home. I did not know anyone there, or how the system worked.
Friends came to the apartment to pay their respects. They were all in tears, and hugged me, brought me food and made sure someone was always at my side. I have no idea who these people were, but they were all Ajay’s friends and they were there for us, and to support me.
Growing up, I was always the quiet one, and Ajay the more outgoing sibling. I used to be known as ‘Ajay’s Dai’ rather than Anil. Even in his death, I was ‘Ajay’s Dai’, surrounded by his friends, in an unfamiliar country, among unfamiliar people.
It was also evident how much goodwill Ajay had garnered in Malta. I had at least five Nepalis who came to me to repay money they had borrowed from Ajay. They didn’t have to but they did. They were in tears.
Many recounted memories of how he had helped them when they were struggling financially. In the following weeks, there were football games organised in his memory with moments of silence in his tribute. My brother, he had left a mark among many.
Read also: Diaspora Diaries 3, Nepali Times