It has definitely been a a rough few weeks – my dear thatha passed away. I only met you a couple of times, but the times we spent together were amazing. Here are the links related to our time together (click here).
Unfortunately, I couldn’t go to India with mom and dad to pay my last respects. I know you were planning on coming to see us in October for Karsin’s first birthday. I wish you could have met him but don’t worry I will tell Karsin all about you and the great times we had. Here are some pics of us together and “always remember” I love you thatha and will miss you dearly. I also thought it would be best to post my mom’s email about thatha below to get an idea about who he was.
As many of you may already know, my father passed away on Wednesday, August 31, 2011. I want to thank all my family and friends who have been so supportive during this tough time. Your calls, emails, visits, flowers and food have helped us tremendously. Utpal and I are currently in India paying our last respects and we will be back on the 15th.
My father was 68 years old when he passed. He had gotten sick earlier this year and I was lucky enough to travel to India to spend time with him in March. He had recovered but got a bad stomach bug two weeks ago that zapped the energy out of him. When I talked to him on the 28th he told me he was feeling better. Unfortunately on the 31st he took a turn for the worst and suffered cardiac and respiratory failure.
It is hard to put in words how I feel and to convey an adequate picture of how amazing he was. Born in India, he came to Canada in 1970 for his residency with 13 dollars in his hand. He crossed the border to the US in 1976 for his fellowship and then practiced in the US as an orthopedic and hand surgeon until he retired back to India in 2004. He dedicated his career to helping others and especially those with limited financial means. In the past few days many people have emailed me with their touching stories of how my father helped heal them or loved ones.
While his work as a doctor was inspiring, it was truly his magnetic personality and generosity that left the most lasting impression on others. His smile would light up a room and he was the life of any party. My dad always tried to be the cool dad. One day out of nowhere when I was 12 he decided he wanted to learn how to play the drums. He basically only learned how to play two songs – Caribbean Queen by Billy Ocean and Sarah by Jefferson Starship. He would try to show off his drum skills by playing those songs to many of my friends in junior high and high school – even though those songs were not ever popular anymore. Now, those two songs are so special to me.
He was also an incredible cook. On my visits home, I would walked in the door and see him standing in the kitchen with a smile on his face as he was making his famous sambar or rasam for me. And his special lamb dish was unbelievable. He also had this amazing garden that he labored over it because it gave him so much peace. He would play music to his plants as he watered them and danced with them. He would ask me to come outside to watch how the plants were dancing back with him. With all the love he gave to his plants there was no wonder why whatever he cooked from his garden was always so good.
I could go on and on about all the special things about him. However, I couldn’t send this email without talking about how he was the biggest advocate for education. Daily I would get lectures regarding the importance of education. Anyone around him would also get those lectures. Apparently his sermons left an impression, because so many people these past few days have told me how he pushed them to get an advanced degree. He also financed many individuals educations. He would even bribe people to get all A’s by letting them drive his Porsche if they did. One of the best gifts he ever gave me was my engineering and law degrees. To continue my dad’s legacy in promoting the value of education, memorial donations in memory of Sudhakara Udupa can be made to the UVA Legacy Fund (https://www2.alumni.virginia.edu/Ebiz2/Gift/Donate.aspx?To=UVaFund).
Even though he was in India, we spoke many times a week. He loved my mom, my brother, my husband and me so much but he was most proud of being a grandfather. I see so much of his personality in Khalin and Karsin really looks like him. It is so unfortunate that he never met Karsin – he only got to Skype with him. I do know that the time he spent with Khalin was some of the best times of his life.
I am stilling coming to grips with the fact that he is gone. His advice helped me through the toughest times in life. During one of those times, my father told me that I need to march forward and that he would be my drummer guiding the way. As I struggle to make it through this tough time, I know that he is watching over me playing his drums.