Pradeep Kumar got an unusual call on Saturday Morning. His friend Vamshi’s roommates wanted to ask where he was, since the young engineer hadn’t returned home on Friday night. Since Vamshi was hardly the kind of person to stay out all night, Pradeep was a little worried.
“They said that Vamshi did not return home. I was shocked because he never does that, after work he always goes back and I know him very well that, if he was going to be late, he would inform his roommates. We called all his friends, but he was nowhere to be found. I was calling on his number every 10 minutes, but the phone kept ringing. I got really scared,” Pradeep says.
Later that night, Pradeep Kumar’s worst fears came true. He got a call informing him that Vamshi had been shot dead.
“The last time I spoke to him was on Wednesday. We had a plan to meet this weekend and chill for sometime. I have been busy for the past few days. On Friday, it was at the back of my head that I need to call him to confirm the time and venue, however, at the end of the day I forgot. But now I will never be able to meet my friend,” Pradeep says.
Vamshi and Pradeep have known each other for the past nine years. They became friends in Hyderabad, and moved to the US together in 2015.
“When we moved here, he was flexible enough to adjust with the new people and atmosphere. I was the one who was struggling. But he always motivated me and helped me cope with my homesickness. He used to tell me that I am capable of doing well in my career and should not waste this opportunity. If he was not here, I might have gone back to Hyderabad,” Pradeep recalls.
Vamshi did his B.Tech from Vathsalya Engineering College, where Pradeep became a common friend in his group.
“Initially, we were part of the same group so we used to meet occasionally, but during our fourth year, we became really good friends. When we moved to US, we were roommates. He was always the friend I could share everything and anything with, because I knew he wouldn’t judge,” Pradeep says.
Pradeep moved to a different apartment after he got job, while Vamshi was still in search of a job. But they always made sure that they meet at least twice a week.
Pradeep says that Vamshi was a person who always looked forward to help people around him, and that might have backfired for him.
“The police said that a woman called them, stating that someone had stolen her car keys at gunpoint on Friday night. It was at the same apartment where Vamshi stays, I am sure he might have tried to help the woman. But he could not help himself,” he adds.
It was reported that Vamshi was headed back to his apartment after he finished a shift at his part-time job, when the incident happened.
When the police reached the place, they heard a gunshot from the parking structure of the complex and saw a car fleeing the scene.
Meanwhile, the officers searching the parking lot found that a man who had been shot dead.
“They still need to confirm, so we have registered a missing case,” Pradeep says.
“It is still hard to believe,” he says, “Just a few days ago, we were having food together and laughing and joking. It is too sudden to digest.”
Pradeep remembers his friend as a mature person who was always surrounded by friends, but would open up only to a few.
“And if he was close to someone, he would do anything for them. He was a very mature and calm person, since 2015, he never even fought with anybody, not even with his friends,” he says.
Pradeep remembers that when he shifted to the US, Vamshi was the only person he could call family.
“He was more like a brother. Once I remember he did not have money and I gave him around 500 dollars, but he was very hesitant to take it. That time I told him that here, we have each other. Later that day he wrote me a message saying that ‘even if I say thank you million times it won’t be enough, but I know I can always rely on you’. It feels like I have lost my only family in this country” he says.