My friend Atul Chitnis passed away yesterday. He lost a year long battle with cancer. He was 51, and is survived by his amazing wife Shubha and daughter Geetanjali.
The first time I met Atul, I was lying on a hospital bed, my leg bandaged up, my head in stitches, after a mammoth road accident. I barely remember that meeting, but from that day he was a mentor, guide, friend, band mate, business partner, colleague, and if I may take the liberty, a brother.
In the 11 years that I have known him, we have fought the battles. We went through some of the toughest of times together, laughed, fought, and seen our lives take us down crazy paths. Today, talking to everyone who came to say goodbye to Atul, it struck me that our love-hate relationship was not exclusive; he seemed to have enjoyed this with all his friends. I guess he was so loved that nothing could keep all of them away.
A lot of people will talk about Atul's immense contribution to the Open Source Community and the web and tech community in general in India, but I think we should remember him for more: he was an amazing friend, a fantastic father and I am told, a great husband.
He always lent a helping hand, a patient ear and gave a advice to anyone that asked. He changed many lives, and most of my friends count themselves among the people that were in some way moulded by him.
After watching him go through his battle of the last year, and come out stronger, he inspires me to be a better man; to care as much for my family and friends and to live life as he did, to the fullest.
To arrive at heaven's doors with little regret and a heart that is so full of love; and with a life filled with friendship is something most people would only dream of.
Rest in peace Atul, and in the promise that down here, all of us strive to live our lives the way you would have wanted us to.
Shine on, you crazy diamond.
Gaurav Vaz is a Bass Guitarist, Artist Manager, Web Developer, Product Evangelist, Photographer, Master of Ceremonies, Radio Station Owner, Music Critic, Semi-Pro Footballer, Part Time Painter, Event Manager, Technical Writer, and Software Engineer.