I have published papers with almost 50 different people, but yesterday, Rajeev Motwani, with whom I published a paper only two years ago, passed away tragically in a swimming pool accident at his home near Stanford University. This is my first co-author to die, and I am reminded now how deep human frailty can be.
It is so unfair that death stole Rajeev away when he was in the prime of his life. I have known Rajeev for more than a decade, and I remember the early days when he was just beginning to get his feet wet in the VC business and we sat in his office and I explained to him the basics of option pricing. After that he hardly needed to ask, he was so smart that he figured out all the Finance he needed on his own. Of course, I learnt much more from him than he did from me. His book on Randomized Algorithms taught me everything I needed to know in that field. But he also mentored so many students and taught hundreds more. Many of the famous firms in Silicon Valley were mentored by Rajeev. Things came so easy to him, he could do them in a fraction of the time it took others. So he was always relaxed and had time to talk and discuss things.
While it is really sad to see him go, it is also important for me to acknowledge that in this short life, Rajeev did more than most of us would in a lifetime. Death always reminds us that we too are growing old, and that life is uncertain. We must enjoy each and every day, and do our best with it. Who knows if there will be a tomorrow? Today is really all we have.