DKN

I still have my very first work ID for when I interned at AstraZeneca in 2004. When my mom first saw that ID (I used to put it up as part of a wall collage of things I had done at my apartment in Philadelphia), her first reaction was ‘You look exactly like Nanaji did when he was in college.’

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I remember being supremely impressed by Nanaji when I stayed with my grandparents over the summer by myself in the 9th grade. As a routine, every morning at 7 a.m. you would see him fly out the door; he was a man who could not sit still. Laziness was so unknown to him that I am sure my lazy genes have all come from my paternal side. It was clockwork. Out the door at 7, back at 11.45 for lunch at noon sharp. Mind you, he needed his food piping hot, to the point where I had to sit for a bit before I could even consider eating. Back out again in the afternoon, back again for dinner punctually at 7, a habit you did not stop until last week. Nanima may have spoilt me with food and sweets throughout my stay, but Nanaji impressed me with pure action and few words.

Over the last couple years, I was sad every time I visited you, watching you go from being house-ridden to bed-ridden, unable to move around on your own, your eyes still showing the fight and energy, but your body unable to keep up with the pace. You suffered for someone so active, so determined to be out of the house whenever you could. You made random, silly excuses to leave the house; you’d tell Nanima you needed to get the mail (downstairs) and disappear for a half hour because everyone told you you shouldn’t be out as much.

You loved technology and new things. You were one of the few people who sat on a computer everyday, sending out emails and newsletters of things you read. You may not have been able to in the last couple of years, but I still remember and have the links you sent me to read.

I remember last year when you were in a little better health, and I sat with you, you asked me what I did. The answer I gave you — as I give most people alien to IT — did not satisfy you and you asked for more. The curiosity didn’t leave your face until I explained in detail how we look after servers, how we deal with customers, what I did specifically in my role and how we handled issues if they arose with customers.

You were the most active man I have ever met, in yours, my parents’ and my own generation; an example of a human being.

I miss you already. I’m glad you had your children and some of their children around you these last few weeks. And I am glad you are no longer in pain.

Chirag Desai @Chirag