Sunday, May 14, 2006

When Death Comes to May

I am in India to attend my brother Philip's funeral. He was only 45 years old and died of mouth cancer on May 9th. He waged a long and courageous battle against the disease lasting almost three years. He had the bad luck of getting an extremely aggressive form of squamous cell carcinoma. It ate him up and the larger than life, gregarious personality was reducecd to a shadow of his former self when he passed. Most of this damage was self inflicted....he chewed tobacco for over 20 years. He also drank alcohol and the combination as we saw was deadly.

The family will miss him. He underwent a remarkable transformation in the last few years. He was kinder, softer and nicer. Most of the aggression had waned although his legendary temper was still on display. To the end he kept up hope. He even filed his nomination to contest an AIADMK seat in the Park Town constituency in North Chennai.

He went to the office three to four times a week almost to the last month of his life. He was meticulous and scrupulously honest. He never forgot a favor and never turned away someone in need. He was generous with spending his political capital - even on people who he did not know well. His life of generosity was evident inthe fact that he had almost a 1000 people attend his funeral at St Thomas Basillica in San Thome.


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