A Friend Remembers Ishan

This past Thursday, St. Conleth’s held a memorial prayer service and informal get-together to remember and honour the recently deceased Ishan Prasai.  Fr. Michael Collins presided over a sad but heart-warming recollection of the huge impact made by Ishan on all of us in just a few short years.  Several students, including Ciara McCracken and Matthew Hassett, gave eloquent testimony to their feelings of sadness but also of pride and good humour regarding their personal memories of Ishan.  Oisín Herbots, School Captain of the Class of 2017, and a good friend of Ishan’s wrote this testimony:

Ishan was a wonderful person and a loyal friend.  I did not  discover this till we became good friends in the stressful atmosphere of 6th Year. I wonder how Ishan and I actually became such good friends because I made not just one faux pas but two when I first met him.

I was studying Plutarch’s Alexander the Great when I had my first conversation with Ishan. It was all thanks to Plutarch we became friends.  Alexander never lost a battle, except to his own men.  They had conquered the known world but had refused to conquer what remained of India for fear of having to face the King of Praesii.  I could not believe my luck: could I be in school with a descendant of the King that  Alexander the Great never conquered?  While Ishan was from Nepal, this was a country that borders India.  Could Ishan be a descendent of a great king? At lunch I disclosed my findings to him: his royal lineage.

Ishan, solo and a capella.

I surprised him by establishing that he could be from a family nearly 3,500 years old.   I remember him looking at me ‘as if I had two heads’. “Oisín do you know how to spell my surname?” he asked me. “No” I replied, feeling my excitement pop like a bubble. In truth I had never seen his name but heard it only from roll calls. “It is not Praesii; it is Prasai” he told me. I felt terribly embarrassed; but Ishan realising this did not take offence; instead, he invited me out for lunch.   On the way to Baggot Street we chatted about school and how tough 6th Year was. Ishan, having a huge interest in astronomy but especially the Zodiac signs, asked if I was a Sagittarian. I suprised him when I told thim that in fact I was a Capricorn. Ishan was surprised because this was the first time he had ever misjudged someone.

I asked Ishan a safe question, or so I thought: “what’s your favourite band?”. Nirvana he screamed. I am not a musical person but I knew of the band so before Ishan could get another word in, I interrupted him. Trying to establish a common interest, I told him I loved their songs too, especially “Smells like teen sweat”. I could see his face twisting and then lowering. ‘What did I do now?’ I thought. For the second time today I had stepped into the metaphorical caca. Ishan laughed for a full minute; he laughed in the middle of Baggot street. When he recovered from his fits of laughter he told me it was ‘teen spirit’ not ‘teen sweat’.  How we ever became friends after that, I do not know. But since that day we spent most of our lunch times together.

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Ishan was a super chilled guy with a calming effect when you were with him. It was great to spend lunch with him as you could just talk and forget about the stress of the Leaving Cert. Ishan was quiet; but when he spoke I listened. He told me he couldn’t wait for university and the freedom that came with it. So, it is heart breaking to think he did not get a chance to enjoy that freedom.   But Ishan was a positive guy and so he should be remembered.

My favorite memory of Ishan was at the Captain’s party: a house party that the entire graduating year and teachers were invited too.  As the host, and a proud Northsider, the entire year had to trek out to the forbidden part of the city.  The party started at 7.30pm (which really meant 8.30), but by 10 pm there were only a handful of people in my living room and I was afraid the party was a dud and a huge failure.  Ishan had been one of the first to arrive.  It is no secret that at a party, Ishan was not the same quiet person we knew from school. Oh no; Ishan knew how to party.   I’ll miss him.  He told me if we put on some music it might disguise the silence: a terrible sound for a party.  As Ishan worked on the sound with my brother; the doorbell rang.  I opened it expecting one or two late going partiers; instead there were thirty people from my year. I learned afterwards that they had all managed to take the same bus up to the party (perhaps a little scared to come to ‘DNS’ alone).  Talk about scared southsiders sticking together. They all made their way into my house. As the new group joined the party and the old smaller group of classmates there was a moment of silence. Then the music played. It was the perfect song, it was Ishan’s song, it was ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ by Nirvana.

On his own volition, Ishan organised and managed a fundraiser cake sale, raising more than €4000 for the victims of the earthquake in Nepal.

Seeing everyone dance to the music, not needing much encouragement (as they had come from pre-drinks) made me so happy. It was not only my fondest memory of Ishan, it was the highlight of the year for me and Ishan made it possible. Watching Matt and Christian give it their all on the dance floor and hearing the year yell out the lyrics like wild hooligans was superb. It was the right song for the right moment and it put the life back into the party. That night he followed the lyrics to a tea and entertained us all. Ishan saved not only my night and the party but my reputation as a good school captain. Only after the song died down and another one replaced it did Ishan find me in the mass of people. He told me in ecstasy “Oisín that was my song they played, my song!” Ishan that was your song. From now on whenever I hear it, till the day I play my last tune, I’ll think of you and that perfect moment and all the fun memories we had together.

And another stellar, solo performance.