Akhil’s BlackBerry, our treasure

by Uday Vijayan

Why do objects we associate with the ones we lose become so precious? Do we clutch on to them because they make a perennial link, in a way bridging gaps between the before and after? Whatever be our reason, it’s truly a personal chord that sustains in the six inches between our ears.

Akhil's blackberry
Akhil’s BlackBerry phone

The sudden loss of our 23 year-old young son Akhil has made me treasure the one last thing I received from the hospital when he passed: his BlackBerry phone.

This phone meant many things. In the early 2000s the BlackBerry was an aspirational product to own and Akhil was super excited on being given one, even if it was a hand-me-down from his boss. The pride of owning a BlackBerry in his early career was a means of self-expression. The sparkle in his eyes with the phone in his palm still moistens mine when I remember it.

I also value the phone because it was his way to communicate with clients, prospective clients, friends, and his Mom and me – through daily calls from work at lunch, or to tell us he would be late home that evening.

It is the mobile phone I kept trying desperately to reach on his last day, that never got picked up by him. It became the only way that the hospital reached out to me, as they saw his phone ring constantly from a saved number: ‘DAD’.

To us, his BlackBerry is more than a dated work mobile; it is a memory of our daily conversation piece with Akhil, his moments of joy. It is the only piece that we still hold on to fondly.

Clutching at straws? Maybe…

(Copyright: Uday Vijayan, 2022)

Twitter: @uday_vijayan


The author lost his young son in a fire accident in February 2010 at the Carlton Towers in Bangalore, India. Uday Vijayan founded a not-for-profit organisation Beyond Carlton, to change the way India addresses fire safety www.beyondcarlton.org


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