Many words can be used to describe a great man, but only few can accurately depict what he truly meant to this world. On June 6th 2009 an innocent, honest, dedicated, and truly-caring individual was taken from us. It is not easy for me to use the words honest and caring to describe someone I know. These words are only used when someone is close and truly cares for your well-being. If only I had gotten to be more like him – if only I pushed myself as hard as he did. I am only left with these thoughts of encouragement now.
Nishil Ajudia was the one friend that I could always talk to in confidence, could always ask advice for, and always depend on in a time of need. You couldn’t ask for anything more out of a friend, but Nishil always found a way to put forth more than just a helping hand. This doesn’t just hold true for me, ask anyone he ever touched or anyone who ever had the privilege of meeting him. He was like a sucker for showing kindness to people. How many people do you know that would do so much just on a whim? Nish is the only person I know that would give 110% to anything he put his mind to. The word dedication is an understatement for how hard he worked for himself and his family.
The last time I spoke to Nish was a couple weeks before he passed, and it was just one of those random phone calls to see what he was up to. I think I was trying to get him to grab a drink or something but he was so focused on work and looking forward to the next day. It was funny hearing how hard it was for him to say no to me because I would say things like, “you never say no!” or “Nish! You’re done with school; you don’t have much to do now!” I know I said these things jokingly as a friend, but in the back of my mind I knew he had a million things going on. He had more to work for than just himself, and he made sure he dedicated every minute to his goals. Back when I lived with him at the fraternity house, he seemed to have time to do everything. Work, school, being social, community service, you name it – he always made time to be involved with everything; he never had an excuse outside of work or school to be a true friend.
When I first rushed for this fraternity I had little to no idea what I was getting myself in to. I only saw a majority of South Asian guys who I seldom played basketball with a couple times prior to the informational I attended. I remember Nish being the quiet guy sitting in the corner who never had much to say, but when he did it was always something of value. Through pledging and being a brother I honestly can say that Nish was an inspiration to me and a lot of brothers that had no direction or no idea what they were getting in to. Nish spoke to me at that informational I attended, along with my future big brother Minh Tran (Brother Relic) about the diverse goals that the fraternity aimed for. I’m not the kind of guy to stereotype anything, and they didn’t seem like it either. I can honestly say that at that moment I knew I wanted to be like these two guys and aim for diversity. Nish always had an open eye and an open ear to everything, unless it was a competition of course.
Nish’s competitive nature made him a great friend because he was up to do just about anything. It wouldn’t matter if it was something he wasn’t great at like basketball, something stupid like drinking, or something small like helping a brother out with their homework. He always would be down. He opened my eyes to what being a brother of Sigma Beta Rho is all about. To sacrifice and be there for your fellow brothers through thick and thin. To be a role model for men and inspire them to be great. To work hard and achieve the goals you set before yourself.
At convention in Tampa, I said to myself I wouldn’t shed a tear or get overcome with emotion, but after A.K.’s presentation and seeing brothers so passionate, I didn’t have much control. All I could think about was how much Nish meant to me and this question that I couldn’t get out of my head – “How could God take away such a good person?” Presenting Nishil’s tribute became such a hard and emotional feat that I lost all composure. I guess the reason I felt like I could shed a tear was because I felt like I was in the company of my family. And it is only natural to cry when you have lost a family member. Having not grown up with any real brothers, I couldn’t ask for anything better than to call my fraternity my brothers. Since his passing just a few days before my 23rd birthday, I was still in awe and to this day I still think about how he was unfairly taken from us; but now I see that there is a reason for everything. Nish inspired me to become something great and to live my life to the fullest. Sigma Beta Rho is not a fraternity that turns boys into men – rather… a fraternity that turns men into leaders. Nishil Ajudia was much more than a great friend – he was a leader in every aspect of life and his love for this fraternity will continue in every single brother. I miss you Nish – and I will make you proud.
“May you shine down on us with your smile always, and let us look to you in times of guidance. You never took anything for granted and always strived to work hard not only for yourself – but for everyone you ever had an impact on. You will forever be shining down on us both with your radiant smile and your ‘Stonecold’ stare.”