A year ago this past Sunday, my nana passed away after a nine-month battle with cancer. I was asked to deliver a eulogy which I thought I’d share here.
Afternoon, everyone. Thank you for being here. When Nani asked me to say a few words, I admit I hesitated at the idea.
To pen a eulogy or an ode is a daunting task. If you only make do with easy compliments, you will immediately fail to capture the person you are trying to remember. Similarly, during this effort, should you overwork your thoughts, you risk being specific to such a degree that you forget the audience.
Now, there are 400 people in this room today. Some of you knew him from when he was a baby, from school, college, first jobs, marriage, fatherhood, grandparenthood, professional and social gatherings, chance encounters, walks at the lake, and golf.
I’d known Ram Mohan Khanna, my nana, for the entire span of my life until this day last year. I admit I am a tad jealous and angry at the circumstances of life that I could not spend more time with him. But in that same burst of emotion, I am grateful that he had wonderful people who cared about him then and even now.
No amount of piety or atheism can prepare you for the inevitability of death, especially that of a loved one. I’d like to believe, however, that his journey into the night was made easier by the warmth we had for him.
So, I appeal to your memory of the man.
There is no more vivid an image than the one that you hold within yourself.
A man who had a piercing gaze and a laugh that only ended on the highest note.
A man who was not afraid to let his eyes well up when reminiscing of the dearly departed.
A man who, for the longest time, when my sister and I inquired as to his age, would simply reply with a wry smile: “I am as old as the number of good friends I have.”
The measure of any being who walks on this Earth is the impact they leave behind on the natural order — this order being the ecosystem they inhabited. Much like Archimedes in his bathtub. Except, in the case of Archimedes, the water overflowed when he entered the bath.
For us, Ram Mohan Khanna left. And we are emptier and unstill.
The day he passed, it felt as though the frame of the skies was askew and the ground beneath had sunk.
That is the measure of the man he was. Such a heavyweight without whom our world has no balance.
Thank you again for being here.