Just when everyone was thinking the ailing Vilasrao Deshmukh was showing signs of improvement came the news of his death yesterday in Chennai, where the Union minister and former CM was undergoing treatment in a hospital.
Deshmukh’s close friends in the city reacted with shock, saying they never expected death would come so suddenly. Many recalled their “friend, guide and romantic philosopher” as they went down memory lane after receiving the painful news.
Advocate Bhaskarrao Avhad, a close friend of Deshmukh who used to fondly call him VDD, the former CM’s college-era nickname, said: “I still can’t believe that he is no more. I have suddenly realised that I have lost my close friend too early!”
Dr Arvind Inamdar, a classmate of Deshmukh who went on to become a college principal, said: “Though he came from a remote village, Vilasrao always lived life king size. He shouldered his responsibilities with great ease during his college days. We are all proud of our friend who achieved great things and became chief minister of Maharashtra two times, besides becoming a Union minister at the peak of his career. I will never forget my good friend.”
Dr V G Kulkarni, former principal of Abasaheb Garware College of Arts and Science, said: “He looked like he came of royalty, what with his good looks. He used to stay in the college hostel. A very good sportsperson, he played basketball. He lived his philosophy of life, which was to keep smiling in the face of anything. He fought the election for gathering secretary and lost, but did not lose hope and tried again the next year, to finally got elected.”
Kunda Pataskar-Mathapurkar, another college mate of Deshmukh, said: “I am very depressed upon learning of his death. He was a good-hearted and jolly fellow collegian. We used to meet in English class. He was also a good singer and a positive-minded college colleague, which I will never forget."
Dr Vasant Wagh, former principal of Fergusson College, said: “Vilasrao was senior to us in college and we shared a good friendship in hostel.
He was a person who was always charged with energy and we never expected that his political career would come to a full stop like this, with his unexpected demise. We shared some very good moments in the college and at the farmhouse of our common friend Dhananjay Jadhav, the former police commissioner of Pune and Mumbai, at Pusegaon near Satara. The untimely exit of Vilasrao is certainly painful. May his soul rest in peace.”
Dhananjay Jadhav, speaking from Pusegaon over the phone, expressed sorrow at the demise of one of his best friends. “Now all I have left is my cherished memories of Vilasrao as he is no more,” he said.