Remembering Alok Kumar
Our Alok, an embodiment of light, both in name and presence, was taken from this world to shine elsewhere. We were not prepared to live without his brilliance. Naturally, our eyes will take time to adjust to this abrupt darkness. At first we might feel scared, lost, alone, and helpless. But in this void, we will slowly discover that an afterimage of his light still flickers behind closed eyes. In a dream, or a thought, or a sudden flash of inspiration, Alok illuminates inside us. And with time, we will learn to use this incandescent glow to help guide us through the darkness.
Brimming with ideas and an artist’s mind, Alok spent a good part of the past nearly 69 years weaving a tapestry of dreams that would become his life. When viewing this tapestry from afar, we admire how it was threaded with a vibrancy for life. He entered this world as the first son of Chandra Kumar Trikha and Prabha Chandra Kumar in Benares, India. His childhood was spent gallivanting through the streets of this cultural and religious epicenter, relishing the knowledge shared in his home, honing his storytelling and creativity with his three siblings, and oiling the gears of his mind by participating in Boy Scouts and inventing games with neighborhood friends. He wanted to fly, and so he did. During his college days he got in a plane, nearly crashed, but emerged with his solo pilot's license. After graduating from Benares Hindu University (BHU), he followed the call of his dreams and his entrepreneurial spirit by starting a company that designed, manufactured and sold high quality fiberglass products, notably motorbike helmets. He went on to single-handedly launch a branch of his father’s prominent newspaper, Aaj, in the city of Kanpur. This thirst for finding untapped markets and diving deep would eventually take him across the globe, in pursuit of the famed American dream.
In America — the land of dreamers — Alok was in his element. He started a business selling phone-cards while simultaneously lending his newspaper acumen to a community newspaper seeking to establish itself as India Journal. He most recently spent his days as a realtor, helping others achieve their American dream of buying a home. And he was in the process of realizing yet another dream to start his own real estate brokerage firm, learning about blogs and apps in the process. America not only gave Alok the freedom to fly, it gave him the chance to ground his family roots among his siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, and close family friends in Southern California. Along the way, he would encourage and help others, becoming a source of strength and reliability for everyone in his life. We could count on him to be present, patient and knowledgeable in any uncomfortable situation. We could count on him to be the host with the most, serving wines in goblets and margaritas with salted rims. We could count on him to provide rollicking entertainment and humor at any social gathering, reciting dialogues, jokes, or simply laughing with his entire being.
Our Alok, though restless in his pursuits, lived for the moment. He lived many lifetimes in one, because the daredevil in him was never afraid to face setbacks. He was adventurous and took chances that others would not consider. And he taught his daughters to do the same, endowing them with the confidence to face all of life’s challenges. He floated from dream to dream, embedding each moment into the fabric of his tapestry, only to look back and realize that his life was not just filled with dreams, it was a series of lived moments that were dreams fulfilled. More than his pursuit of tangible dreams, Alok will be known for fostering those intangible dreams few are lucky to know in their lifetimes: love, humor, eternal youth, and a zeal for life itself. A family man until the end, Alok’s dreams of love live on: In his wife of nearly 43 years, Shashi, with whom he laughed, sang, danced, and ate to his heart’s content. In his daughters, Ramya and Aishwarya, who are two unwavering branches of his strong and sturdy tree. In his son (in-laws), Adarsh and Arun, who he treated like his own. In his grandchildren Shylah, Ayana and Arshan, for whom he created magic, wonder and the courage to dream big. In his siblings, Kalpana, Amitabh and Anshu, for whom he was a brother and friend worthy of adoration. In his cousins, Valleri and Lena, for whom he was a solid foundation upon which to seek support as a brother, father and friend.
When you stop dreaming, you stop living. And Alok never stopped dreaming. That incandescent glow that we will discover inside us is an echo of all his dreams. And that echo will carry on, bouncing from generation to generation. His progeny will recount the tales of this innovative, charming, energetic, and loving man. They will share stories of how Alok was a child at heart, always inquisitive, always learning, always enjoying life in the moment. We wish our Alok a happy journey ahead and everlasting sweet dreams for him to chase into eternity.
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