I prefer to keep journal entries private but it feels right to share how much I’ll miss Daadi
Whenever Anne and I travel to remote areas where we have no cellphone reception, I’m always wary that something horrible is going to happen while I’m unreachable.
When we came back to the borders of civilization yesterday, my spotty phone reception greeted me with a myriad of texts from lots of friends that could only be described as nightmare fuel.
Are you okay?
How are you holding up?
How are you holding up?
I rushed to read my family chat, where they were also tagging me asking what happened to my friend.
This is shocking!
What happened? Isn’t this your friend?
I clicked on the news link and I was just confused.
What? Daadi? But he was perfectly fine the day before I left on the trip. This must all be just a terrible mistake. He’s only 38.
Even after reading more articles and condolence messages, I still couldn’t believe it. It couldn’t be. I called Jaa from the first gas station. Anne and I both sat at the sidewalk and wept. ‘Tragic’ and ‘unfair’ didn’t carry anywhere near the weight to describe what we felt.
Since then, I’ve been wanting to write a bit about what I’ll miss the most about Daadi and why he leaves such a void.
Daadi was a lot of things to a lot of folks: mentor, co-worker, volunteer, family, technology advocate, diver, wanderlust traveller, social media influencer, foodie, coffee fanatic, Star Wars fan, gamer (Ingress), insurance subject matter expert, product manager and so on.
For me, he usually wasn’t wearing a role-specific hat and was simply someone that I shared lots of laughs with. Over the years, we materialized many of our ideas but our friendship was always more about being silly together.
Even though I knew Daadi through random happenstances, the first time we really got to know each other was when a bunch of us co-founded an organization to host annual Hackathons and tech-talks.
We quickly became close friends and I found myself spending a lot of time laughing along with his infectious laughter.
Sun Island Project
Shortly thereafter, we ended up doing a project for Sun Island, where we ended up working quite a bit. However, we still had a blast.
We were like college kids at a dorm, cramming for the deadline.
Maldives Whale Shark Research Festival (MWSRP)
I was volunteering at the MWSRP festival in Dhangethi and managed to convince Daadi and Nattu to help take drone videos. Even though this was years ago and Daadi was there for only a few days, he left an impression: I ended up getting condolence messages from several folks at the event.
Ventures on Dhigurah
From the very beginning, Daadi was enthusiastic and excited about our ventures on Dhigurah. Of all of my friends, he visited Dhigurah the most. Our team will miss seeing him burst with excitement over the coconut ice cream.
For me, Daadi didn’t fill the role of a mentor or coworker. We just liked to be silly together. We laughed plenty (usually at his expense, my expense or if Jaa wasn’t around, Jaa’s expense, in the most loving way 😆).
Back when our close group of friends were based in Male’, we typically hung out at least once a day and chatted about topics ranging from saving the world to how pointless all of our problems are in the vastness of the universe. We’d dream of machines that could solve real-world problems and try to prototype them.
However, there was just as good a chance that we would spend hours making fun of each other, especially if someone made the news. Daadi was a ripe target, as he was often the poster boy for Allied.
Over the years, we’ve hung out in other countries, co-founded a tech NGO, worked together on a Science NGO and discussed so many ideas. He’s also the best hugger the world has known – we’re all going to miss those big bear hugs.
If I had a word cloud for our numerous chats, the #1 word would probably be ‘disc’ (as in disc and mashuni). I can’t believe I’m no longer going to get these impromptu prompts.
We also shared fantastic banter together. While I don’t have notes of our in-person chats, I do have plenty of gems from our texts.
After 18 years of service in the Maldives, Daadi went on about how he needed to leave as well and find better opportunities. Improve his quality of life. After several applications and a little help from Nattu, he took the leap.
Incidentally, around the same time, Daadi & Maya also became a couple (or at least, that’s when I got the memo). There was such a huge jump in how happy he was with his life.
It was so heartwarming to see him getting happier over the years, especially the last few months. Listening to the plans for the future. How we should all get places close to each other in an exotic country.
It’s hard getting used to the idea that Daadi is no longer with us. I don’t expect it’ll get easier. I’m just glad that I got to spend so much time with someone who’s loved by so many.
Thank you for always making the time for me and Anne. Thank you for always being there for us ❤️