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Remembering Dr Sushil Chandra (BE '57 Civil)

posted Dec 30, 2013, 10:05 AM by IITRAANA Admin   [ updated Dec 31, 2013, 10:28 AM ]
Dr. Sushil Chandra (BE '57 Civil) passed away in the morning of Dec 10th 2013 at 5:30 am at his residence in Fremont, California. He is survived by his wife Mithlesh and 

Dr Sushil Chandra (B.E. '57 Civil)

Thanks to Mr Aditya Gupta (B.E. '74 Mech)
three children Raju, Dolly and Robin.

A successful engineer, he taught at University of Roorkee, and then at the Agriculture University, Ludhiana. He worked at international firms of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in Chicago and Bechtel Corporation in San Francisco.

The son of a Thomasonian himself, Dr. Sushil Chandra was a 1957 graduate of Civil Engineering. A committed alumni, he was IIT Roorkee President of Alumni Association of North America (then University of Roorkee Alumni Association) during the 1980s.

His wife, Mithlesh Chandra, initiated University of Rookree Alumni gathering in Bay area in early 80s with only 8 families participating and continued for 6-7 years. This gathering has increased to more than 200 families now.

He will be missed by his family, friends, colleagues and alumni. 

Dr. Anand Prakash (BE '57 Civil), who was Dr. Chandra's batch mate in Roorkee remembers him as "a good colleague and enthusiastic Thomasonian". (Full Text below)

Dr. Shailendra Hajela (BE '57), his batchmate, recalls, "There was no indication at all that he would be going to leave us soon for ever." He remembered how Dr. Chandra was an "endearing friend". People like him, who are "so intensely caring,concerned, and loving are difficult to find". Part of the batch of 1957 living with "the Thomasonian spirit of Roorkee", Dr Chandra was "a real Thomasonian, till he breathed his last".(Full Text below)

Dr. Surendra Goel (BE '58 Civil), a long time associate and friend, recalls him as "one of the most sincere, caring and loving person one could ever find". (Full Text below)

Dr. Gyan Agarwal (BE '60 EE), a friend of over 40 years, shared their pictures together, that are included in this article.

Ms. Purnima Gupta (BArch '68), one of his cousins, remembers him as "a caring cousin", who always remained "supportive' of her. (Full Text below)

Mr. Anoop Verma (BE '87 EE)* said, "I did not have the privilege of knowing Dr Sushil Chandra personally but I am inspired by his Thomasonian spirit and his practice of self less caring for others. I urge everyone to read what his batchmates, friends and fellow alumni say about him and follow his example. We all pray for peace to his soul."

For condolences, please feel free to donate to any of the following charities:
  • American Red Cross
  • American Assoc of Retired People
May God bring peace to his soul.

* Anoop Verma is the current President of IIT Roorkee Alumni Association of North America (IIT RAANA)

Dr. Anand Prakash (BE '57 Civil) 

It is really sad for all of us to have lost a good colleague and enthusiastic Thomasonian in Dr. Sushil Chandra. I have known him since 1954, at the commencement of our three-year degree program in civil engineering at the University of Roorkee. He was a very likable, sincere friend. After graduation in 1957, he, along with his room partner at Roorkee (the late Prof. K.P. Sharma), joined the faculty there. Both room partners were interested in photography. Subsequently, Sushil came to America, finished his doctorate at the University of Colorado, Boulder and returned back to India to join as a faculty member at the Agriculture University, Ludhiana. Around 1974-75, he returned back to Chicago and started his career in the engineering industry in 

Sushil was a very active member of the Roorkee alumni community and formerly served as its president. He contributed generous donations for the institution 
and steered 

Dr. Sushil Chandra and wife Mithlesh in Hawaii in 2002

Thanks to Dr Gyan Agarwal (BE '60 EE)
others to follow suit. His passion and love for the alma mater and for his classmates of the 1957 batch was so intense that, once he flew all the way from San Francisco to Chicago, along with his dear wife, (Mithilesh ji), to meet another 1957 graduate (Mr. Bisaria) and his family. They (Mr. Bisaria and his family) were visiting Chicago and could not fly to his place (Freemont, Ca.). Sushil and I worked together to prepare a speech (a suggested challenge and path forward for IIT Roorkee), which he 

He had the distinction of being the only one of the 1957 batch, who maintained a network of regular, daily e-mail communications with most of us. These e-mail communications included unique pictures, unique quotes, Hindi and English poems, political and religious views and news, suggestions for social, professional, and academic improvements, hilarious and emotional short stories, cartoons, and so many varied topics. Every one of the recipients appreciated his effort to keep us in touch with one another and entertained at the same time.    
delivered at the 50th anniversary of 1957 graduates. We worked together to develop a draft proposal for establishing an IIT Roorkee Center for Research on Sustainable use of Natural Resources in Noida, India.  I do not know if there had been any follow-up activity on that proposal.USA, moving on from the international firm, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in Chicago to another international firm, Bechtel Corporation, in San Francisco. I had the privilege of knowing his father, Mr. Trilok Chand, as well, from whom I took over as Executive Engineer at the University of Roorkee in 1967. Like father, like son; both were thorough gentlemen.

Each morning, my wife would be excited to open our e-mails and announce to me that there were two, three or four interesting e-mails from Sushil Chandra. We used to fondly enjoy them and communicate our responses by way of appreciation to him. Alas, when I opened the e-mails on Dec. 10, 2013, there was none from him and there has been none ever since. It is gloomy and shocking and hard to digest that he is no more and that there would be no such communications any more.

In one of his e-mails, some time back, Sushil sent us the following message, which used to be one of the most common themes of his communications:

जिंदगी का सबसे बड़ा सच यही है,
जो अक्सर कबरिस्तान के बाहर,
बोर्ड पर लिखा होता है |
मंजिल तो यही थी,
बस जिंदगी गुज़र गयी मेरी,
यहाँ आते आते |”
ज़िंदगी का लम्हा बहुत छोटा सा है,
कल की कोई बुनियाद नहीं है,
और आने वाला कल सिर्फ सपने में ही है |
अब बच गए इस पल में,
कुछ रफ़्तार धीमी करो,
मेरे दोस्त,और इस ज़िंदगी को जियो |
खूब जियो मेरे दोस्त,
और, औरों को भी जीने दो |

Well said, Dear Sushil. Such is life.

How painful it is to recognize that, within the passage of a few tense and sorrowful moments, preceding 5:30 AM on December 10, 2013, Providence has forced us to address him in past tense.

Farewell, Dear Sushil! May heavenly eternal peace be with you!

Dr. Shailendra Hajela (BE '57)

There was no indication at all that he would be going to leave us soon for ever. He was fond of Talat's songs and sang 

Dr. Sushil Chandra and wife Mithlesh in Yosemite National Park in 2007

Thanks to Dr. Surendra Goel (BE '58 Mech)
one of them: "Tasbeer teri, Dil mera behla no sakegi" for all of us at the Lunch he hosted at Swagat Restaurant in Milpitas. Ironically, this is precisely the state he has left all of us in. He used to sing very well and you talked about his and Ram Kumar's singing, as you may recall.

His wife, Mithilesh ji, told my wife, Aruna, that on that fateful day, he woke up early in the morning as usual and after going to the Toilet, was resting on the bed, when he experienced breathing problem, coughed twice and was no more. She called 911. The Emergency van with paramedics came in 5 minutes. The paramedics tried to revive him but he was gone. The end came all too sudden.

He was a very endearing friend, always volunteering and willing to help. During my visits to California since 2003 to meet two of my three children and their families, almost every 4 weeks or earlier, he used to visit me. On several occasions, we were his weekend house guests too. He was a generous host and a very large hearted person. In order for me to be able to drive while in California, he gave me his Toyota Camary car as Gift. It was in very good shape and could run (and will run) without any major maintenance for another 120,000 miles. Such persons, so intensely caring,concerned, and loving are difficult to find. But when I look at the bond that our batch of 1957 has naturally fostered for each other, I consider myself very lucky to belong to it. May be, the affinity and mutual respect we developed for each other is a result of the way our lives got regulated by the discipline, culture and tradition, above all the Thomasonian spirit of Roorkee during the three years we spent together there. Sushil, of course, has been the torch bearer of our batch in California USA, a real Thomasonian, till he breathed his last. He will always be remembered by us.

With love and best wishes to all of you,

Shailendra Hajela

Dr Surendra Goel (BE '58 Civil)

Dr. Sushil Chandra was one of the most sincere, caring and loving person one could ever find. He freely showered his ample love and generosities not only on his family but all friends, and the society as a whole.

My association with Sushil started at Roorkee where he was one year senior to me. We got to know each other well when we were both working on the faculty of the university. As luck would have it, we both came to the USA as doctorate scholars at about the same time frame. He had enrolled at the University of Colorado at Bolder but he had relocated to the University of Illinois at Chicago for his research work. I was located at the 

Dr. Sushil Chandra and wife Mithlesh with Dr Gyan Agarwal and Sadhna Agarwal in Hawaii in 2002

Thanks to Dr Gyan Agarwal (BE '60 EE)
University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana, only some 120 miles away. We visited each other with families. Naturally, a beautiful family relationship blossomed that we treasure until today.

Sushil was a very successful engineer. His research on fiber reinforced concrete was a far reaching break-through. But he was always most proud of his loving and most successful family. His devotion to his family that included his wife Mithlesh, and children Raju, Dolly and Robin was complete and it was and is an ideal family in all respects. Whenever we talked on the telephone, I remember the most time fondly talking about the exploits of the family. Sushil's association with Roorkee was a inherited as his father was also a Roorkee alumnus who had also served on the campus' administration.

Sushil's love of Roorkee led him to assume the president ship of the Alumni Association of the North American Chapter during the 1980s which was a very trying and formative period for the association. He loved India and returned to a faculty position in Punjab soon after completing his doctorate where he spent about five years. On his return, he plunged full fledged into consulting engineering where he continued until his retirement.

Sushil has left a legacy of love and affection for all of us. We rejoice for having him in our lives and will remember him forever.

Ms Purnima Gupta (BArch '68), Past President IIT Roorkee Alumni Association of North America

Dr. Sushil Chandra was my cousin. My Dadiji and his Naniji were sisters. We were both raised mostly in Roorkee and were visiting each other often. The oldest among 7 brothers and one sister, he was a caring cousin. I remember his visits to our home when he was a student. Some times he would take me to his home on a bicycle. I remember when he got married. Bhabhiji was always pleasant, hard working and a supportive addition to his family. I remember seeing her in the kitchen most of the time like a nice bahu in a joint family. I celebrated many Teej festivals at his parental home, with Buaji and Bhabhiji as our hosts.

After a few years, he was in Chicago, when I arrived to join my ex and do Master's in Architecture at Urbana-Champagne. He was our contact person to locate each other. A couple of years later, we moved to Chicago. As the time went, he moved to California and we moved to Raleigh, NC. We visited each other frequently. We were invited by them for dinner during our visit to California, when one of our worst husband/wife arguments broke out. We canceled their invitation. They were very accommodating and invited us the next day and the next day, but it was not to work out. We subsequently divorced. Since then my contact with Chandra family got dislocated, like with most other Indian families. I will always remember Sushil Bhaisaheb for his loving and caring attitude. He always remained supportive.

I know that he will be missed by his survivors, three talented sons and daughters and many other relatives and friends for a long time."

Purnima Gupta

One of Sushil Bhaisaheb's favorite cousins