Two Wonderful Girls. One Day At A Time…

Archive for July, 2015

Transcript of Eulogy for my Dad

First off I want to thank everyone for coming. This means a lot and I know wherever he is, he would appreciate so many these familiar faces. For so many, personally, I haven’t seen you in so long so it’s been a very exciting, very nice, very powerful afternoon for me. I think the fact that I’m even standing up here right now is kind of a testament to him. I don’t like public speaking. Most people don’t like public speaking. If there’s one person throughout my entire life that always kept encouraging me and telling me that I was a great public speaker, it was my father. Whether I was nine years old and doing a presentation on the state of Wyoming or 35 years old and giving a keynote at developer conference, he did that. So does feel appropriate that I get the opportunity to talk to you all .

I’ve already actually written what amounts to a eulogy. For those of you who haven’t read it, it is in the program. I published it earlier. My daughter Iris likes it, so therefore, as far as I’m concerned, it’s the greatest thing I’ve ever written. That’s the only opinion that counts.

I do think with this unique audience, I do want to talk about some different stuff from the stuff I mentioned there. Because there’s a unique bond that he had with each of you in this audience and it’s something that’s really important to me because today, in this day and age, we take for granted the idea of someone of the person coming from India to America. The software developer that comes over on the H1B visa. I know I’ve hired a bunch of these people. It’s almost becoming cliché. But in 1959 or 1960, the idea of someone coming from India to America, making that big change, especially at 30 years old where you already have another career deciding to come up with a new career was a huge thing. And to me, as I wrote in notes here, I called him the early Assamese explorer. Someone who is fearless. Someone who is willing to try new and different things to the point where he came over on a boat. He didn’t even bother with a plane or anything like that. It’s amazing that he had the fortitude to do something like that. He tried to instill that in myself and my brother, whether it was try new things, go far away to college, and even when I got a job to move out to California, there he was about to lose his son to 3000 miles away but he didn’t flinch. He couldn’t have been more proud of me. And that was a really important part of him. This is a guy who went from everything from being around for the independence of India when he was 20 years old to being a brown man deep in the heart of Texas during the civil rights movement. He saw a lot, yet he continued to encourage more of these explorations, right down to the very end when he was willing to come out to California even though the only people he knew were myself and my family. He was unafraid of anything and that was wonderful. But part of the challenge of being the first person is that it’s not a lot of fun to the first person to do anything. You’re the guinea pig, everybody thinks they know better. You’re the first one that is out here, you’re the first one getting married, you’re the first one having kids, and the fact is that there’s a lot of people who gave him and my mother a lot of advice on how they should be, how they should raise me, and everything like that. The fact is I haven’t forgotten, a lot of you are in this room. And I wasn’t really crazy about a lot of the advice that you gave. I personally won’t forget a lot of that stuff, but the beautiful thing about my father is that he did. He didn’t hold grudges, he didn’t get upset at people, he didn’t judge people, he let people be. And that’s why he dies with no grudges. And that’s why he dies with no enemies. And that’s he you dies with no regrets. He lived a wonderful beautiful life.

One of the things I was thinking about when I was thinking about him was his idea of how he never got flustered, he never got upset, he never got thrown off. And then, as an anecdote, there is one time that I remember that he got a little thrown off. I’ll never forget it. It’s the sort of thing that happens. There was this one time, I brought home a girlfriend. It was a stunning thing, because “oh my God, bringing a girlfriend home!”. And I walk her in, and there he is and he’s in a sweater vest, and a tie, and stammering and he’s nervous. And I can’t understand what’s going on, I’ve never seen anything like this before. And it took me about 15 minutes to understand it. I even asked “Dad, are you nervous? ” and then he just had the sort of devilish grin. And, I don’t know, if you remember my father, you remember he had this sort a smile sometimes. It’s the same smile that I always laugh at because, as a quick side note, his passcode on his iPhone, now I think I can give away the secret, his passcode is 1926 and I asked him “why is it 1926?” And he gave me that devilish grin which made me figure out that he was born in 1926. Not 1929. So it is kind of weird, but with that devilish grin, and by the way, the devilish grin, if you ever want to see it again, my daughter Robyn has it, so see her throughout the night, she still has that grin. In the course of the night, when when he met this girlfriend, he knew this was a big deal and that’s why was flustered. And the truth of the matter is three years later, she became his first daughter-in-law. Four years after that, she bore his first grandchild. In five years later, she became his best friend. He enjoyed spending more time with her then with me. And I don’t blame him, to be perfectly honest with you. But that’s what he was. He understood the big moments. He understood what was important. He understood what was not important, and what not to get upset about. And it’s something that I’ll treasure forever. And I’m a better person for it.

Now the truth is, this is mostly Hindu ceremony and you see all the stuff here. My mom passed away 20 years ago and I became very intrigued with the Bhagavad-Gita and all the things that Bapu mama spoken about, this idea of eternal life, this idea and amazing philosophy. But for the sake of being different and the fact that were already doing a lot of Hindu stuff, I thought, I think one of the accusations I got growing up is that I was too Americanized, so if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to take an American version of something, not a religious one, but actually it’s  probably one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s a quote that I never got forgot and it’s something that has been running through my head for the past few weeks since my father passed away. It’s from a movie called the Shawshank Redemption. It’s at the end of the movie and I’d like to read this and I will close out. But that’s sorta  captures it and I’m going to read it exactly so I’m going to read it off of my phone.

Sometimes it makes me sad though, (him) being gone. I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. But still, the the place you live in is that much more drab and empty now they are gone. I guess I just miss my friend.

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