Shailesh was one of the first Nepali to live in NJ. We almost came to America same time in early 1970s. I had a plan to celebrate our 50th Year of COMING TO AMERICA celebration next year. But he left us early.
When we moved to NJ in 1987, we met up again after 20 years. May be that was my destiny to hear his dried sense of humor.
Then our small Nepalese community of 5 to 6 families regularly gathered during various Nepalese festivals. Now after 30 years we surpass more than 1000 families in NJ.
I still remember a special gathering in his first house in Metuchen. One of the guest Mr. Kanak MANI Dixit, who worked at the United Nations came one hour late. I thought that was a Nepalese time, but he could not find Metuchen. With his best Nepali accent, he asked a police officer where is the Me-tu-chen. Police told him that there was no me-tu-chen in New jersey. We had a big laugh.
Shailesh was born only two days before me. I asked him if I need to call him DAI – meaning Elder brother in Nepali. He just laughed and said it is only two days we are twins…
We started our THREE AMIGOS birthday celebration tradition. Celebrating our June birthdays together with Shailesh, Ashok and me. During the birthday celebration we always discussed about our favorite drinks. I used to buy only CORONA beer and Ashok and Shilesh used to have a good discussion about which one is the best beer. CORONA or Amstel. For me it was just a beer and used to be happy with a cold beer and Newari choyala – roasted spicy meat.
When my son Anil was born in June 1992, we became 4 amigos and I made Shilesh Anil’s GOD father according to American tradition. Shailesh used to imitate as DON CORLEONE from the movie Godfather and try to have kiss his ring. But that did not work.
Periodically when his father Foreign minister of Nepal Mr. Shailendra Kumar Upadhyay visit us in NJ, we used to have nice American Dinner ( you can guess what that is) and talk about Nepalese and American politics. That will be the highlight of Shailesh’s day.
Shilesh was always witty, he has a knack for telling Jokes about everything. He was a renaissances man who has curiosity and desire to learn about everything. His smile, Jokes and boundless energy mesmerized everyone who he met. He made friends with everyone easily. His unquenching desire to learn continued and read many American novels. We even found his latest novel he was reading in his bedroom before he passed away last week.
I am sure all of you have a different story to share about your encounter with him. His funny jokes, his dried sense of humor and most of all his smile. I am sure he is watching us at the moment and laughing in the way only he can laugh. (ha.Haha …YO MULA HARU ke gari rahekohola) What these fools are doing.
He was a GREAT family man and he adored all his children. In order to keep his memory alive and with his children’s desire to keep his LEGACY going, we are setting up a MEMORIAL SCHOLARHIP in his name in Nepal so that we can continue providing HOPE and OPPORTUNITES for many poor children and continue his life’s quest for gaining more knowledge and continue his LEGACY many more years of come.
We are all going to miss him dearly. We should take his LOVE for LIFE today as we say farewell to him and LIVE our lives with the JOY that Shilesh embodied.
MAY YOU REST IN ETERNAL PEACE MY DEAR AMIGO…
CELEBRATION OF LIFE & LEGACY OF
MR. SHAILESH KUMAR DAHAL (UPADHYAY)