In the twilight hours of 31st December 2018, while everyone was readying to party, we lost one of our best: Shiraj Kavathar.

Shiraj and I spent a good three years (and more) working together on what was to be one of the most popular shows in Capgemini – the Capgemini SuperTechies Show. From Season One to Two to Three, I’d like to say that the Show went leaps and bounds up in social media popularity thanks to Shiraj’s enthusiasm, his passion to do things differently and his dedication to hard work when it was required. I remember how he once called me excitedly late in the evening as I was on my way home. “We are trending” he said! Nothing gave us greater joy than those numbers. Shiraj was the ‘data’ to my insights!

But Shiraj’s acuity in numbers and his smartness did not take away from his innately good nature. As I headed the team over the years, I saw Shiraj take each one of the team under his wing – without ever making it seem obvious. He gave each one a chance of doing things he believed they were capable of even though they did not. His worst obstacle was probably me – as I argued and played the Devil’s Advocate to every stretch goal he assigned to an individual. But he staunchly argued in favour of them. When I’d agree, I knew he’d take the onus of making it happen. And he did.

He valued relationships. With his juniors and even with the agencies that worked with us. I speak this on behalf of myself and the team when I say that there was not a negative bone in his body. He spoke no ill of anyone and worked with his juniors, peers and seniors alike – that with utmost respect and care.

Sometime in March Shiraj and I had a casual exchange on LinkedIn where he excitedly told me about his additional degree in data science. I knew his passion for numbers and was so happy he was doing his utmost to take that forward.

And then… It was with great shock that I learnt a few months ago that Shiraj had cancer. I hoped and prayed he’d recover. I visited him in the hospital and home. He was in pain, but lucid in his thinking and talking. Besides other things, he wanted to eat the shrikhand I made (Thankfully I got it to him in a couple of days). But what rankled most, was Shiraj saying, “Vaishakhi, I am in pain.” I’ve never felt so helpless – unable to assuage his pain. What words does one use? Be brave? Bear it? It will go away? Nothing made sense. I couldn’t do anything.

Last night, on the evening of 31st December as I rushed there to see him start his final journey, I was feeling helpless, angry and indignant at the same time.  I see no rationale or justification of why you had to go so soon. I see no reason why!

Shiraj we will miss you.

You leave us bereft of a valued friend, a respected colleague, a caring son, a loving husband and a doting father. You’ve touched so many lives that you will always live and prosper in our hearts.

May you continue bringing sense and order into that other universe, as we live in a world of loss here.

Fare thee well, Shiraj. At least you are free of pain.

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