Yesterday (9/7/2008) the world lost a good one. My uncle Monty passed away. I got the news on my cell phone while at the store with my friend and managed to keep it together even while hearing my dad cry on the other end of the phone. I hurt for my dad most. He lost his best friend from long ago. I have friends like that and can’t imagine losing them. My dad wrote this to be read at my uncle’s funeral. I cried when I read it and asked his permission to publish it here. I have replaced the names of some people with [xxxxx] to protect their privacy.
Hello Everyone. I am [xxxxx]. I live in Cleveland. I apologize for not being with all of you. But, my wife [xxxxx] and I will be there on Thursday. First of all, I want to express my most sincere condolances to all of you. In Monty’s passing away, [xxxxx] has lost her love of life and the rest of us have lost our loving brother.
I first met Monty some time in 1958. Yes, we have been dear friends for just about 50 years and I feel blessed as a result. Right from the start, Monty became a part of our friend circle, a foursome, made up of Mayur, Farrokh, Monty and myself. While the sport of table tennis is what brought us together, our genuine liking, caring and respect for each other is what glued us together. Lots and lots of happy memories. In 1973, Monty came to the United States. Just after his arrival, he visited [xxxxx] and me in Cincinnati. Within a few weeks of Monty’s visit, [xxxxx] gave birth to our son. In Monty’s honor, we named our son Monty. Thank you for your name and love, we have a Monty in our family.
Monty and I have traveled together all over India to play table tennis tournaments. More enjoyment and more superb memories. Monty went on to become the cream of the crop table tennis player in India. Actually, he went on to become an outstanding international player. He was so good and so very graceful at his sport. He brought a lot of joy to table tennis fans in India as well as in Japan and many other countries where he played. His sense of humor, his sportsmanship and a rather giving nature made him a very lovable player.
Monty’s best attribute has always been his magnanimous heart. His heart was as big as outdoors. I would bet that his generosity has touched lives of many, many people over the years. I have always felt blessed to have him in my corner. I thank God and my luck to have him in my life. I am very grateful for the time I have had to share with him. [xxxxx] and I visited Monty and [xxxxx] just 10 days ago. I shall cherrish the 4 days I spent with him during this visit. Even though he did not feel well, he made us feel at home and welcome,as always. I truely enjoyed watching the U.S. Open tennis with him. We had long heart to heart talks. More beautiful memories to hang on to.
Monty would have celebrated his 63rd birthday on September 27th. His brother Arun was also born on the same day though 3 years apart. In the 1960s, Monty, Arun and a few of their friends got together and celebrated their birthdays very year. Those parties were a lot of FUN and very memorable. I understand that this is a solemn forum and therefore I will not elaborate on my recollections of those parties today. Did I mention that they were a great fun? Well, I shall miss the opportunity to call him and wish him well on his birthday this year. But, for some reason, I feel very confident that somewhere in Heaven on September 27th, Mayur, Arun and Monty will be having a delightful birthday bash. Go ahead Monty, please enjoy yourself. We are all rooting for you. I shall miss you but I will always have the fondest memories of all the good times we have had together. May the Lord keep Monty’s soul at peace forever. I love you my brother.