Dad photo

Dad photo

In Memory

A living site in memory of Ashok K Chandra to remember and honor him. A man with a golden heart and an extraordinary mind. A cherished father, husband, and friend. And a doting grandfather. He left us November 15, 2014 after a brave battle with cancer.

The site features the sentiments and memories shared by friends and family. Feel free to send this site to others. We will keep adding to it; if you have something you’d like to share, please click here to send it to me.

Click below to see a category of posts such as Remembrances or Talks from the memorial event. See pictures of Ashok.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Talk: Bob Chandra

I want to thank all of you for being here today.  To celebrate the life of my father, Ashok Chandra.   I’d like to begin with a quote by an Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore:

“I had seen nothing beyond life, and accepted it as ultimate truth. When of a sudden death came, and in a moment tore a gaping rent in its [life’s] smooth-seeming fabric, I was utterly bewildered. All around, the trees, the soil, the water, the sun, the moon, the stars, remained as immovably true as before; and yet the person who was as truly there, who, through a thousand points of contact with my life, mind and heart, was ever so much more true for me, had vanished in a moment like a dream…..”

It has been hard to accept what’s happened.  My Dad’s loss is not my loss or my family’s loss, but it’s a loss that all of us here today feel.   One thing that has helped me cope with what happened has been hearing from all of you -- to hear from people who’s lives my Dad touched.  People who he made smile - who felt his warmth.

So let me cite another quote from Tagore:

“If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.”

This loss is something that will take time to heal.  Dad passed away two weeks ago after a brave battle with cancer.  We miss him immensely.

But owe it to ourselves to see the silver lining; and that is we were fortunate to have the time we did with Dad…….from that time we have memories worth remembering and worth re-telling - and today is about celebrating those memories.

Today is about celebrating the life my Dad lived.    All of you here knew him in some way- maybe you knew him as a friend, a mentor, or a co-worker.   Today, we can remember the good moments over the years that we shared - laughing while trekking up a Bay Area trail.  Or for his work friends, solving together some of the harder problems in computer science.    

Dad often thought about other people first.  One example is during his battle with cancer, he was very weak.  Despite this, he tried to do the things other people wanted to do.  He knew my Mom loved to see movies, and he gathered his strength so they could go to the theaters one last time- even though it is was so hard him to even walk.  He knew I loved comedy, and despite everything, despite his ailing health, he made it a point we went to a show one last time.  Even when doing the simplest things required everything he had, he put others first.

This was his focus on other people.  He always felt that it was important to build up other people.  He didn’t believe in having airs about him, or putting others down to feel better about himself.  That was simply his mentality.  Some of you may have stories like this that too.

Over the last two weeks, the common thread of stories I’ve gotten from you is Dad’s engaging of others-- consideration for those who worked for him, his mentorship of co-workers, his humble nature from friends.  

From those who worked with him, I received insight into my Dad’s accomplishments in computer science.  I want to thank his work friends for sharing.  My Dad and I talked about all kinds of topics (from Indian politics to quantum physics - yes he could explain quantum physics in a way even a marketing guy like myself could understand), but work wasn’t one of those topics.  Dad never spoke about the things he accomplished.  He was unassuming in that way.  Only recently I learned of a report he co-wrote on Indian research centers which was signed by the President of India; and something he developed called Turing Machine Alternation (a concept fundamental to computational complexity and parallel processing theory and is a highly cited paper in theoretical computer science).  

From other friends, I got photos.  They capture who he was as a person- a generous spirit & when I look at them, I can’t help but remember the good times we shared.  We’ll always have those moments and those memories; and their impact lives on in us.  

Today would have been Dad’s 66th birthday.  Even though he didn’t live the longest life, he did live a full life.  And today is our opportunity to remember and celebrate the life that he lived.  My Dad’s loss not my loss or even my family’s loss, but all of our loss.  But his life was all of our gain.   And today is to talk about the good that we remember.

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