He was an excellent human being, linguist, percussionist, cricketer, badminton player and actor.
Of course I am biased but his friends and teachers have reinforced this many times in the recent past. In fact, his drum teacher thought his musical ability was quite exceptional. The only time he was asked to leave the classroom was when he sneezed too loudly, which, unfortunately for him, just happens to be our family trait. Since he was in primary school, without studying drama, every year he managed to bag a fairly substantial role in the annual play at school.
There is a fair amount of literature out there which supports the co-relation between creativity and mental illness, especially mood disorders. The classic ‘tortured genius’! One of the studies (The Iowa Writer’s workshop study) has found the incidence of mental illness to be 3-10 times higher in highly creative writers as compared to educationally matched control groups. The psychiatrist conducting the study also found that the exceptional creativity in these gifted artists comes not because of their tortuous mental health but despite it. To name just a few examples, Van Gogh, Virginia Woolf, Leo Tolstoy and Stephen Fry.
This makes me think of the co-existence of opposites – brilliant on the one hand and helpless on another.
Well, it is no consolation. I am just looking for explanations when there are none.
An exceptional young cricketer passed away today – Phil Hughes. I am so sorry! I hold him and his family in my thoughts and prayers.