My friend Atul Chitnis passed away this morning after 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, and I barely remember that meeting, but from that day, till today, he has been a mentor, guide, friend, band mate, business partner, colleague, and if I may take the liberty, a brother to me.
In the past 11 years that I have known him, we have gone through some of the toughest of times together, laughed, fought, and seen our lives take us down crazy paths, and today, seeing all the people who came to say goodbye, I thought to myself, he has had similar love-hate relationships with all his friends and 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 than that, he was an amazing friend, a fantastic father and a great husband. He was always ready to lend a helping hand, a patient ear and give a thoughtful piece of advice to anyone that sought it. He changed many lives, and most of my friends count themselves among the people that were in some way moulded by him.
Today, after watching him go through the last year, and come out strong, I am inspired to live my own life, a better man than I have been so far, to care as much for my family and friends, and to live life as he did, to the fullest possible. To come to heaven’s doors with little regret, and with a heart that is so full of love, and a life that is filled with friendship that 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!