(Note: This is a story I wrote for India Abroad that appeared in the Oct. 5, 2007 issue. There’s nothing filmi about it, though a young life suddenly cut short has been depicted often enough on screen. But I wanted to post this story here, in the hope that more people will learn about Navroze Mody’s life, and to counterbalance all that’s been written about his violent death.)
In 1987, I worked at the Argentine Embassy’s trade office in midtown Manhattan. It was my first proper job while starting college, and it was fun. Most of the handful of staff there were very young, and we were always laughing.
I would come in from Long Island and catch the E train at Penn Station to the stop under the Citicorp building at Lexington Avenue and 53rd street. I often noticed an intriguing-looking young guy, in a sharp suit and aviator-frame eyeglasses – it was the Eighties – who would get on one stop after me every day. He stood out because he was completely bald, years before it was in vogue for men to shave their heads, and I assumed he must have been undergoing cancer treatment. He looked about 30 years old, and he was Indian.
He would occasionally be with someone he knew, chatting in a British accent. We both got off at the same stop and headed in different directions. I even commented to Alfredo, a co-worker, about this unusual guy I kept seeing on the subway, leading him to pester me often with ” ¿Cómo está tu hindue? Did you speak to him today?” I’d blush, saying “No way! I’m not approaching some total stranger on the subway.” And we’d leave it at that. I never imagined that I would try to track him down 20 years later.