I had finished my call before 1.15PM. I saw that my wife was on the call. From a distance, I could make out from her face that the person whom we lovingly addressed as Mr. White and White has left us. I froze even though I was anticipating this news from yesterday night when I heard from my wife that his condition was very serious and doctors had given only 48 hours to wait and watch. My wife’s uncle who always answered the phone call always with the salutation “Hari OM” was no more.
This is about a person whom I knew after I got married. He is in the true sense, a person who goes beyond the call of duty to help and support people. During weekends he used to take Geetha classes and was a good samaritan. It was this January that I last met him. He was weak and was struggling. His energy levels had gone down, yet he spoke about space education, space startups, and space ecosystem which this country will need in the times to come. I was so moved by his words when he said, ” My health is bad, else I would have contributed”.
During every visit to my home town in the last three years I had made it a point to spend around 1 hour with him talking about various subjects. Once during one of those visits, he had given me a book on happiness. I glanced through those pages but had kept it in my home library under the happiness section. Today I took out this book and read a couple of pages. It brought back all those images of him when he was sharing joy and happiness with me. After my last visit, I had couriered to him Elon Musk’s book. He couldn’t read further as he was hospitalized thereafter and I did not get a chance to speak to him.
He was a person who was graceful and had a RICH heart in place. One of the best engineers I have ever known as he would take the time to explain any space phenomenon in detail. That night when the Moon mission was not accomplished he did not sleep. I spoke to him the next day early morning. I shared my blog and he had shared that with key executives. When my brother-in-law passed away untimely, he was around for help and support. He ran around with all our relatives to make all the arrangements and I remember those days how because of his reach and connect we could get many things eased out. He would be the go-to man, always there to lend support, make calls, and facilitate things for his family and people in his circle. When we conveyed this sad news to our daughter, she reminisced about the time he had come to pick her up from the airport. No wonder he was always wearing white.
I was talking to my wife’s cousin and he told me that his daughter is insisting to have the cremation done the next day. My wife was checking why would she be insisting that way. There is nobody to come from anywhere. I told her how do we know, she might want to see him with her eyes full one last time.
I want to convey my deepest condolences and gratitude to him for what he has done to me personally and my extended family. You have worked all your life-giving your space and today as you left us that space is void never to be occupied by anyone. For the family his space leaves a big void. May the family gather strength to tide over this period. Sharing a passage from the book he gave me:
Nothing transforms darkness
More quickly than the power of love
All those who are touched by it
Are blessed by that much more light
To the man who loved white and space, this is a black day for me.
With moist eyes.
He died with his music still in his heart.