His roots were in Imphal and he made it big in the city of skyscrapers — high on one of the twin towers till tragedy struck.
But the city lights of New York could not dim Jupiter Yamben’s love for the Queen of the Hills — Darjeeling, where he had spent the four best years of his life as a student.
On Saturday morning, as he had wished, Jupiter’s ashes were sprinkled over Tiger Hill, overlooked by the glistening Kanchenjunga.
If September 11, 2001, revealed sacrifices that turned ordinary men to heroes, Jupiter was one of them. He died while trying to save employees of his restaurant — Windows of the World, on the 107th floor — even as hell broke loose around him.
Jupiter’s fondness for Darjeeling grew during his student days in St Joseph’s School (North Point).
Friends remember the 1975-batch student as a lover of nature and a good sportsman. Rajat Banerjee, a classmate, recalled that Jupiter excelled in athletics and was also a very good basketball player.
Such was his love for Darjeeling that Jupiter had requested his family to cremate him and sprinkle his ashes in Darjeeling.
His American widow, Nancy, and his seven-year-old son, Saanti, kept his wishes, sprinkling his ashes amid chanting from Buddhist scriptures, the Bhagvad Gita and The Bible. Jupiter, it is learnt, believed in all religions.
Attended only by a few members of the school alumni, the authorities and a handful of students from the school choir, the low-profile event brought tears to those present, while Nancy sobbed uncontrollably.
Jupiter’s family, it is learnt, has left for Imphal, his native place, to conduct the annual religious ritual on September 11.