This photo was taken in Waveland, Mississippi three months after Hurricane Katrina. The most diverse group you would ever see, put together by Prof Ralph Braseth to go down to the coast to help a newspaper. Three days before this picture was taken, was the first time I met Jermaine or anyone else in the group.
But the camaraderie and bonds built while working and living together those five days, changed me forever. The lens through which I saw people, became free of the layers of language, backgroud, race and nationality.
Jermaine was there when I almost got shot by the US marshals when I jumped the barricades in pursuit of meeting the President, when I hosted my first India Night, at Lori’s rodeo show in rural Mississippi and many other times when I was either at my best or my worst. I was at Ole Miss to see him rise and take wings, to see him fall and get back up, and his constant pursuit for greater heights.
The last time I talked to him, was a few months before I left Ole Miss last year. Smiling as always. We talked. But we did not say goodbye. “See you later, Arvinder” he had said. I wish he had kept his promise.
I’m usually pretty bad with keeping in touch with people, but I seldom forget them. I so much wish, I should had told him that others in the group talked about him every time we met, more than he knew.
Jermaine Jackson – hope you have found peace. And hope you know that you will be missed and live in our thoughts until the day we say hello again. In some other world, on some another journey.