Thinking of you, Krishna

Dearest Krishna,

We think of you and we miss you, not just today but everyday.

Mom and Dad


“What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose for all that we love deeply become a part of us.”

-Helen Keller.


Happy Birthday, Krishna

Happy Birthday Krishna! (July 26th)

The days are drifting by but vivid memories of our brief times together at Microsoft jump to the foreground every time I drive by Building 32 or 85 (almost every day!) since we spent many hours there working together.

The last time I saw you, I was working downtown in the Westlake building when you came to visit for some career advice and to explore the Xbox Music, Video and Reading teams. We did a little walking tour of the 3rd and 4th floors and shook some hands of team leaders – and then you left with the same calm confident smile and hopeful humility with which you arrived.

Perhaps after working on the thankless mess that is volume control in the shell, jumping up the stack to work on media apps felt too close to that recent past?

Our last mail interaction was a on Feb 6th 2014 at 7:12pm when you let me know you’d landed a job over in the Outlook team.

You wrote: “After talking to a bunch of different teams over the past few weeks, the role in Outlook seemed like the best fit for what I’m looking fo right now. I’m excited for the new challenge!”

Now, these memories seem like they were yesterday — and ten years ago.

I’m wishing you and your family peace on your birthday, and I hope you remain excited for the new challenges – where ever you are.

Extending love to you on behalf of your friends and family for our dear friend, Krishna.

* * *

The most interesting friend

Literally every single interaction I have had with Krishna has been interesting – for the lack of a better word. There isn’t really a word that can do justice to the feelings of wonder, admiration and amusement that he would always bring out in the people he interacted with. In this sense, I have been incredibly blessed to have the chance to spend so much time with Krishna.

Krishna and the City of Seattle

As much as we are alike, it’s what makes Krishna different that makes all our conversations so memorable. I’m not exaggerating when I say that my life in Seattle would have been bland and repetitive if not for his unique way of doing things. For starters, in my mind, he is the ultimate Seattle tour guide. Almost all of what I know about the city – even after having spent 3 years there – is knowledge that has come from Krishna. He taught me about the story of the space needle, the Fremont Sunday market, the naming convention behind Seattle’s streets, the art at Olympic Sculpture Park, the statues and art in Fremont, the rich estate around Capitol Hill, and the incredible views from Newcastle Golf Course – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, his conversations run so deep, that he would often tell me about the history behind the owners of his favorite local Capitol Hill restaurants and cafes.

Krishna taught me to truly appreciate the people and the community around me. I was – and still am – looking forward to the day that Krishna makes his way to San Francisco and makes it more of a home for me.

Krishna and the Spreadsheet

Anyone who has known Krishna has had at least one mind-blowing experience with his spreadsheet. I would argue that that single document has more interesting information than most of what I have stumbled upon online. First, a quick story about the spreadsheet:

A group of us had just left Regal cinemas in downtown Seattle after watching some ridiculous slapstick comedy that left Krishna less than impressed. “Ok this proves it – 2012 is on average a worse year for movies than any of the past 3 years”, he said at the time. If anyone else had said that, I would have brushed it off as an exaggerated, but understandable reaction to an honestly terrible movie. But with Krishna, there was always a purpose and fact to everything he said. So I quizzed him on it. “Well, my spreadsheet tells me that I have watched approximately the same number of movies during each of the last 4 years, but my average rating for the movies I’ve seen in 2012 is 2 points lower than my ratings from the previous years.” This was my first encounter with the famous spreadsheet and I was fascinated. Krishna ended up using his phone to show me all his movie data in some neat graphs. This data included what movies he watched, where he watched them, whom he watched them with, the language of the movie and his rating. After sifting through all the graphs, he attributed the lower ratings in 2012 to the higher percentage of crappy Bollywood movies he had seen that year. Since then and till today, he refuses to watch a Hindi movie unless some of his “trusted sources” gives him the thumbs-up.

If a picture speaks a thousand words, Krishna proves that a spreadsheet speaks millions. It speaks of his attention to detail and his obsession with knowing everything – about himself and his surroundings. To Krishna, knowledge represents the power to change the way he lives and make better decisions for himself and the people around him.

Krishna the Silent Contributor, Advisor and Guardian

Perhaps Krishna’s most endearing trait – and definitely the part of him I will miss the most until his return – is his ability to give constantly without expecting anything back. In my experience, my friends have always fallen into a combination of two buckets: those that are always there for me when I really need them (my close friends) and those that I really enjoy spending time with on a daily basis, but who wouldn’t necessarily go out of the way to help me out. While Krishna fell into the first bucket, he also created a third. He is one of the only people I know who helps the people around him before they know they need help and without them actually realizing they needed it in the first place.

I could bank on getting an email from Krishna if there was a 520-bridge closure a few hours before it happened, so that I wouldn’t get stuck in a bus during that time. Is it time to pay taxes? Well there’s that email from Krishna briefing me on the best strategies to avoid tax penalties and the best tax management systems. I would get this every year and without prompt. At no point did Krishna learn about something without making sure the people around him saw the same benefits that he did.

As much as Krishna did enjoy his time alone, nothing brought him as much joy as giving to others in some way or form. When my parents were in Seattle 2 years ago, Krishna picked them up from the airport and took them around the city for several hours, showing them the famous spots that he had already seen countless times, while being the ultimate tour guide that he is. Since then, he has done it repeatedly with more of my friends and other guests that have visited Seattle. On my most recent trip to Seattle, a couple of months ago, he was especially excited to show one of our friends around the city. “Dude, every single time Santhosh has come to Seattle, he has only seen the inside of apartments, restaurants and bars. I’m so excited to finally take him around and show him what the city is actually about”, I recall him saying. It’s not that Krishna loved going to these parks and landmarks all the time; he just loved experiencing the same wonder and appreciation for the city in his guests, that he once felt himself.

Krishna is an incredibly unique friend. He can make me laugh and entertain me. He can always teach me something new, even in the shortest interaction. Most importantly though, I know he’s always there, watching out for me and the others around him. If your day is smooth, it’s likely Krishna had something to do with it.

Finally, here are some pictures of Krishna that I have not shared till today.

Krishna falling off my papasan when he came over to play some FIFA

Krishna when he was obsessed with the Windows phone image filtering app “Lomogram”. He got a Nexus shortly after this and stopped using it 🙁

Krishna and I kayaking in Lake Union.

Krishna taking his friends on one of his signature drives around Seattle to give us stunning views of the city and Mount Rainier.

A rare photo of Krishna sleeping. He’s not going to be happy when he sees this.”

Krishna after after playing several games of Dixit at the game cafe next to his house.

Thank you Krishna

Firstly I would like to thank all of you for sharing all your memories of your wonderful friend.

Have I ever met Krishna? No.

Do I know him? Yes. For the last 24 days, through your eyes and memories of him.

As a stranger 12458.97 km away why am I posting here? I wanted to thank you.

(And Krishna when you come back and read this – I really really wish you will… Call me crazy but having found people from my own family months later safely, I still firmly believe you will show up someday – thank you. Just when it’s so easy to lose faith in humanity… in people around you, you gave me reason to believe otherwise. I spent all these years thinking people like you don’t exist except in movies and sitcoms, but boy was I wrong).

The little things you all have written about him – the attention to details, attention to people around him, humility, enthusiasm and what I’d like to call the thirst to live.

You are all really lucky to have met such a person and I can’t even imagine becoming half the person I read about, though now I do have a role model.

Somebody I know can strive to be like. Whether it is maintaining  accounts, staying in touch with family, learning new things, being prepared always – I don’t think this list is going to end, it probably comes under perfection. Being that organised and prepared means putting in that much effort and time, which most of us would make excuses to avoid. Remembering little details about people around you – things they probably didn’t realize themselves, being kind, making people happy – it sounds so easy, if only we all remembered to actually do it everyday.

To his parents – thank you for raising such a wonderful person, he couldn’t been who he was without you.

To his friends – thank you for introducing me to your friend. It can’t be easy not knowing what happened, but taking the time to do this – to share all these little details about him, dig up old photos, emails, messages. Thank you. Hoping there will be many more to come.Also add me to the list of people whose lives he touched.

Thank you Krishna for being an exceptional person, for being an inspiration even though I have never even met you. I hope you come back home safely and read this some day, with the same lovely smile I have seen so much of (I hope). The world needs more people like you. 🙂

Krishna, my perfect advisor!

A few days ago, my friend and I were having a discussion about the definition of perfection. She was asking me if I knew someone I thought perfect. The first person who came to mind is Krishna. I have known him since 2006.

He first came home to give me college admission advice. After listening to everything he had to say, I did not have to look up any additional information to apply to UT Austin. What amazed me then, was how within twenty minutes, he had thought to tell me everything I would possibly need, even without me asking. When I got in, I remember writing a side note by UT:”Top reason to go: Krishna will be around!”.

What is interesting is that I happen to be very good friends and a neighbor to Krishna’s grandmother. She introduced us and to date, I thank her for that! I was once lamenting to her about how the EE program was taking a toll on me and how I was not getting sufficient advice about what classes to take. She asked me to call Krishna! I remember ranting away for a whole thirty minutes during which he just listened (yes, he is a truly extraordinary listener!) . He then started off with his trademark “Here is what I would do,…”. In the next half hour, he had given me sound advice about coursework and how it would really help if I relaxed a little bit more around classes. I have never felt more relieved and reassured after a phone conversation with anyone.

He had gone to my house to meet my mother and grandfather, May 2011. When I spoke to him later, I was complaining about how we always missed each other by a few days when we visited Bangalore. The response I got made me laugh:”Krithika, you don’t get it…I plan it that way!”

I always heard about Krishna from his mother and grandmother. I thought to myself about how lucky everyone around him is. When I went home every year, I told my mother about how I wished I was in the same town as Krishna at some point, so I can be in touch more regularly with him. For me, Krishna has always epitomized brilliance, kind-heartedness, and simplicity. This to me is an ethereal combination to characterize any individual.

I shed silent tears when I pray for Krishna’s return everyday. Something tells me however that he is going to come right back into all our lives and give us more happy memories, like only he can!

My once-in-a-lifetime friend

Krishna has been a constant presence in my life for the past 14 years. Not only did we maintain a beautiful friendship across distance and time, but he was also an incredibly reliable friend. I talked to a mutual childhood friend recently, and we struggled to find the right words to describe Krishna. He was just so… Krishna.

Joke fiend

Krishna and I loved sharing bad puns with one another. In fact, he’s the one who got me hooked years and years ago! The first pun he told me, which I still use to elicit groans today, is the following:

Why did Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head prohibit their daughter from marrying Tom Brokaw?

-Because he is a common tator

And here is a snippet of an email conversation we had in 2010:

Me: joke: what’s the difference between santa and tiger woods?

Krish: Santa only has 3 ho’s?

Me: MAN you really are the master. joke: how do Mexicans like to play basketball?

Krish: Juan on Juan?

Me: okay now this is getting ridiculous

Krishna, Lindsey, and I goofing off using Photo Booth, 2009
Krishna, Lindsey, and I goofing off using Photo Booth, 2009

Inspired you to be better

I will never meet anyone who is more organized than Krishna. He was literally the pinnacle of human organization. I still distinctly remember the moment in college, when he showed me his financial spreadsheet. Within this Excel file, Krishna had documented every transaction (credit card, check, PayPal, etc.) and had assembled yearly summaries in the form of graphs and pie charts. I was floored by the cleanliness of the formatting and by his commitment to keeping this up for years. When I indicated some interest in creating a similar filing system, he warned me that it takes a lot of time to maintain, but was more than excited to share his template.

I still update my “Expenses” Excel file, and every time I do, I think of Krishna.

Bragged about others but never himself

Krishna juggling finger lights at Lindsey's wedding, 2011
Krishna juggling finger lights at Lindsey’s wedding, 2011

When I first met Krishna in 8th grade, I already knew he was one of the smartest kids at school. He took 9th grade math class (which meant that his math teacher was off-site and taught via video conferencing), he was one of the highly sought-after group members for group projects in our PACE (gifted and talented) class, and he was actively involved in multiple academic clubs, like Odyssey of the Mind. As I got to know him better, what surprised me the most was his indifference to the GPA rat race, which was ingrained in Plano academics. He never asked about other people’s grades or commented on his own (which I later verified to be stellar, naturally). He even got a perfect score on his SAT (!), which he meekly admitted after I squeezed it out of him after college. In recent years, whenever I asked him about his work at Microsoft, he would list all the cool and interesting projects he worked on, and follow that list with a remark about his amazing teammates and how their success was a function of team effort.

Instead of bragging about himself, he loved bragging about his friends. Our conversations throughout college, and even afterwards, were peppered with Krishna’s high praises for other people’s accomplishments:

“Andy is taking this really hard engineering class with me, and he’s doing so well. And he’s pre-med, so he has even more classes than me! That’s amazing.”

“I’ve been emailing with Ray, and he’s been asking advanced engineering questions. I can’t believe he’s doing college-level engineering, and he’s only in junior high!”

“Have you talked to Lindsey about her business recently? I can’t believe she’s doing it all by herself. It’s really impressive.”

And on, and on. That was Krishna.

Always thinking of others

Earlier this year, I had a painful breakup with a long-term boyfriend. I tried online dating very briefly and had disastrous results. When I talked to Krishna about it, he encouraged me to continue online dating, and gave me pointers on how to better filter for potential dates and how to craft my profile. In his classic Krishna way, he shared articles that analyzed empirical data taken from online dating sites, and he gave me his very thorough assessment of the various sites and how to get the most out of each one. I was still unconvinced – the people I had met seemed unbalanced, and I had grown weary of the online dating pool. “Tiff, it’s all about filtering. It took me a while too, but I met a couple of really cool people.” Of course, he knew what I needed to hear to convince me that it was worthwhile: “I’m doing it, and I’m normal!” Krishna followed up our phone conversations with texts about a new site that yielded much better matches, and how his dates went great.

I found out from Lindsey about a week ago that he wasn’t even doing online dating at the time. He only told me because he wanted to encourage me to keep trying. Classic Krishna.


These past few weeks have been hard for anyone and everyone who has known Krishna. His parents have lost an amazing, truly special son, and the people who knew him have lost a lifelong friend. I seek solace in the knowledge that for more than a decade, Krishna has been a part of my life, and I was a part of his. We love you, Krishna, and thanks for the memories.

Krishna visiting me in Houston, 2008
Krishna visiting me in Houston, 2008

Gregarious spirit

I remember hearing all about Krishna from his very good friend, Lindsey. The first time I met him we were going as a group on the DART train to the Turkey Trot in Downtown Dallas. It was probably one of the most fun train rides I’ve ever been on. I remember him laughing and joking all the way as we traveled to our stop. Krishna was one of those people you knew you found an instant friend in and could be comfortable around. He had a gentle demeanor and a very inclusive personality. His curiosity, humor, and warmth made him such a great friend. I visited him once in Seattle when he first started his job at Microsoft. He was a great host then as well.

Krishna, we will always remember you as part of our Plano family. Prayers for you and your family in this difficult time.

Walks with Krishna

My experiences with Krishna accentuate the characteristics that he is best known for: his attention to detail, thoughtfulness, and easy going nature. My sister introduced me to Krishna when I moved up to Seattle in the summer of 2011. I knew absolutely no one and nothing about the city, and Krishna took the time to really introduce me to Seattle. He didn’t have to, but that’s just who he is. For the past three years, we’ve explored so many different parks and neighborhoods. We went on epically long walks, and he always sprinkled our conversations with random facts about wherever we were (“Oh, did you hear about this building? It used to be an old school, but now they’re turning it into an apartment building.” “There’s supposed to be a really cool old bridge somewhere around here. Oh look, there it is!”). When I finally found the one thing that I had done in Seattle that Krishna hadn’t experienced yet (kayaking in South Lake Union), we promptly scheduled a time to go. He brought a plastic bag to put his phone and wallet in. I didn’t and, of course, ended up dunking my phone in the water on accident.  I’m so grateful I’m able to call him my friend.

The many faces of Krishna

Krishna has been one of my closest friends for the past decade. As evidence that he was one hell of a guy, I submit to you: the many faces of Krishna.

Krishna used to be a bit camera shy. This is one of the first real photos I captured of him. Austin, October 2005.

Up until then, most of my photos of him looked like this. Austin, October 2005.

I did catch him off guard a few times though. Here he is looking sour because I was able to fit more grapes onto my fork than he was. Austin, October 2005.

Once you befriended Krishna, you had a friend for life. Here he is surrounded by high school and college friends. Austin, July 2006.

Contrary to what this photo suggests, Krishna was not afraid of heights. Austin, October 2006.

Krishna was incredibly smart and graduated from college with honors. Here he is setting the bar with some freakishly tall friends. Austin, April 2008.

We moved to San Francisco shortly after Krishna moved to Seattle. He took the time to visit almost every year. San Francisco, March 2009.

Here we are enjoying some cheese sticks. San Francisco, March 2009.

He also enjoyed the beach. San Francisco, March 2009.

Here is travel sized Krishna. San Francisco, March 2009.

Krishna hosted us a few times in Seattle. Here he is trying to keep his cool as the plane we’re piloting is starting to crash. Seattle, July 2009.

Krishna was the best man at our wedding. Here he is looking decidedly epic as he gives a speech about talking squirrels. Dallas, August 2010.

He even escorted us to our getaway car incognito. Dallas, August 2010.

One rainy day when I was tired and grouchy, he took me on a duck boat to cheer me up. He enjoyed it more than most Seattlites would care to admit. Seattle, June 2012.

That was the summer he became a Wordament champion under the handle Glossy Waffles. One morning at breakfast I asked why glossy waffles. He answered by dousing my waffle in syrup until it was…glossy. Seattle, June 2012.

That was also the summer he became a kite enthusiast. He wasn’t very good at it, so he had to concentrate pretty hard. Seattle, June 2012.

Not very good with kites at all. Seattle, June 2012.

But did you know Krishna could play soccer reasonably well? San Francisco, March 2013.

This is one of the last times I saw Krishna, taken at brunch in San Francisco, June 2013. He was probably upset about the unintentional twinning.

Thanks for all the good times, Krishna.