RIP, Anand

Published February 24, 2015   |   

It was with deep sadness and sorrow that we received the news of the passing away of our colleague and friend Dr. Anand Ramachandran this morning at 630 a.m IST in Delhi.

Anand had been unwell for a while with a respiratory problem, and flew to Delhi about two weeks ago for treatment with his family doctor. He was under treatment, when he had a stroke ten days ago, on Saturday. He was admitted into ICU, but in spite of the best treatment available, he suffered another stroke over the weekend, and never recovered.

He died in the company of his closest family member and best friend, his elder sister Hamsini and her husband Shiv, a few months short of his 50th birthday.

Anand can best be called a mathematician, a classicist and a teacher. He was a brilliant mathematician, whose thesis in differential geometry drew accolades from mathematics giants like his York university professor, Dr Chris Wood. He was a lover of classical music and good scotch whiskey, as well as an audiophile with a deep knowledge of music systems.

On a more personal note, I have known Anand for nearly 30 years, and have seen him go through his own trials and tribulations in personal, professional and academic life. His intense desire to be a great mathematician, led him to take on the difficult job of pursuing his PhD at a more advanced age than normal. He overcame not just age, but also a health scare in the middle of his doctoral programme, to write a highly praised thesis.

He came to Singapore and Crayon looking for a new life and career, in May 2013. Anand was a demanding professional with a love for rigour and depth in problem solving. Because he held strong opinions, he was not always an easy person to get along with. But his fundamental love for knowledge and his innate out-going nature, meant he was a well read conversationalist, and also someone who was always available to teach any young person, on the nuances of machine learning, conditional random fields, or linguistics.

Words are sometimes pointless in the face of tragedy. All I can say to you all is that it is hard to lose a friend and colleague, especially one so young, with so much more to live.

It is not for us to debate or understand the workings of the great algorithm called life. But this moment should teach us that life is impermanent and something to be valued, enjoyed and lived to the full every moment of every day. Treasure every moment and spend it on the things that are important for who know what the next second will bring. Crayon will miss Anand, we will mourn his passing.