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August 19, 2019

Thank you all for joining us to honor my Mom, Shobha. Our entire family is truly grateful for your support and love during the most challenging time in our lives. She would feel so loved right now.

Mom was many things to many people. In the memories you have sent us in the last few days, you described her as: full of energy, enthusiastic, happy, funny, vibrant, and courageous. Indeed, you knew her so well. She had the ability to leave every room brighter and lighter than when she entered it, whether through her energy or her humor.

After I was diagnosed with colitis in school, Mom left her career in finance to care for me. A year later, she decided to get certified as a fitness trainer - she was a state-level athlete in India as a teenager, and loved to be active. She developed a bustling personal fitness studio called Reddi2Workout over the next two decades, and always expressed how lucky she was to find her true calling later in life.

Mom created warmth and laughter wherever she went, and was the life of the party. One time, she took me as her date to attend a wedding in downtown San Jose. As soon as we got there, everyone started calling out to her, “Shobha! Shobha! Shobha!” She knew so many guests there, that it took a full half hour before I realized... we were at the wrong wedding! There were 3 Indian weddings in the hotel that day, and ours was on the other side of the hotel. But that was Mom. She loved people, and people loved her back!

She lived her life doing what she cherished - she was the fun, cool mom, who would pull me out of school to movie hop or go to the mall, but at the same time a tiger mom who expected the best of me. In addition to being a passionate strength trainer and committed meditation teacher, she was also an adventurous Everest trekker, style guru, marathon runner, creative cook, avid hiker, comedy skit writer, master party thrower, and a talented wedding dance choreographer. She taught fitness on tv and she even got the chance to showcase her acting skills in a movie. With all this, she shouldn’t have any spare time, but she still found time to participate in bridge club, cooking club, and multiple volunteer and social activities.

I was on the east coast when I got a call from Dad that Mom was in the ER after having a seizure, and that it seemed she had a brain mass. When I flew home, we didn’t know we would be facing something called glioblastoma, a grade 4 brain tumor which has no cure and grows very fast. Given her later allergy to the chemo, the doctors gave her 6 to 9 months... but my Mom in true Shobha style said, “Screw that, I’ll beat it.”


And she did. She lived for 38 months, which gave us a lot of time to spend together as a family. Her courage was remarkable and at times, startling. She had to deal with one setback after another, but each time she simply would shrug and say “whatever we need to do, we do” and “whatever happens, happens”. That was my Mom.

These challenges didn’t dull her personality at all. She was so sassy and witty with killer comebacks. One of her favorite doctors once told her that she should eat more to gain weight, and without skipping a beat, she said “And you need to eat less to lose weight.” Only Mom could get away with roasting people like that, as many of you in this room know. She would ask any young medical professional if they were married, in case they were available to date me, and she would ask in front of me! She remained who she was till the very end.

I will miss my Mom deeply - she was my guide, my best friend, my anchor. She was my life… and I want to draw inspiration from the way she lived. She was an ordinary woman who lived her life in an extraordinary manner.

I am inspired by her sense of adventure, her saying Yes to everything, her ability to befriend strangers, her warmth for her friends, her dedication to her family, her unparalleled humor, her creativity, her style and confidence, her zest for life, her willpower, and her steady determination in following her dreams.

When faced with hardship, I want to draw strength from how my Mom never ever gave up, how she rarely shed a tear and how she faced one of life’s greatest challenges with the utmost courage, grace and dignity.

Most of all, I want to always be known as Shobha’s daughter, Sheena.

Thank you.

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