14 years. Where has the time gone. I recently said on a podcast that the reason choosing my path in life has been so easy is because of Jai. Every year on this day I re-read a piece of Year 10 English homework I wrote on 7th May, 2007, six days after his transcendence. Each time I'm blown away by what an incredible human Jai was. Below is the homework description, and the unedited piece of writing from 14 years ago...
Section C: Writing to Inform, Explain, Describe
Describe a person who has impressed you or been a strong influence in your life, bringing out the key characteristics that make him or her special for you.
Heaven’s Missing Angel
1st May 2007, a truly inspiring gentleman’s fight against a brain tumour had ended, and heaven’s missing angel returned to the Promised Land, where he would rest in peace with God.
8th May 1988, Jai Vaghela was born, unaware of the difficult life he was about to face, and the influence he would cast above everyone involved in his life. Two years into his innocent life, he was diagnosed with a brain tumour - it was from here on we saw the bravery and courage which would exceed that of a lion.
During these early years, he was continuously undergoing chemotherapy in an attempt to overcome the cancer. Stunts were placed into his brain at the time, intending to help him live his life for another 10 years, instead extending his life to 18 years. His fighting spirit was outlined with his smile, which would be present throughout his life despite his feelings, with the word ‘complain’ not in his vocabulary. These characteristics made him special to everyone, and this can be shown as there was a 300 plus attendance at his funeral: family, friends, school teachers, nurses and the list goes on, as hundreds came to pay their respects to one of the greatest human beings I have known.
Art, swimming and cartoons were two aspects of his life which he was dearly fond of. He loved to draw, and would do so especially whilst watching cartoons, his favourite being ‘Scooby Doo’. The passion for art he shared caused him to dream of a career in art, which in my opinion would have suited him very well, after the experiences which he had been through during his life. Art Attack was a programme well-watched by Jai, as he was very much inspired by it. In 2006, he visited the Art Attack set, and watched the show in real-life. Not only did he visit this, but was also allowed to explore backstage of ‘Ready Steady Cook’. Regularly, he visited the Aspire swimming pool, where he would go with his two brothers: aged 12 and 22. ‘Cartoon Network’ was by far his favourite television channel as he loved to watch his favourite animation, most notably ‘Scooby Doo’. I remember when he used to ring me, asking to go and watch the latest film, such as ‘Shrek’ or ‘Toy Story’ and the other Disney classics.
Manners were a part of his life which everybody admired. His use of the simple ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ was perfect, and he never forgot to do so. There was even a rolling joke within the elders in the family, that all of our generation should take part in a course, with him teaching us manners and how to talk with respect. Jai was truly respectful, and in return was fully respected by the world. How a gentleman with such values should be taken away will be the biggest rhetorical question we may ever ask ourselves.
Jai was a devout follower of Hinduism, especially in Sai Baba. He used the values and teachings of Sai Baba in his everyday life - such as treating everyone with respect, and non-violence. It could be said that during his life he completed his karma, achieved moksha, when passing away, broke out of the cycle of death and rebirth, and his soul was now resting in peace in heaven.
Sport was also another hobby of his, as he would play and watch it, especially cricket. He loved cricket, and followed the Indian cricket team through their highs and lows. Wicket-keeper and batsman were his favourite positions and he would always want to be first in each category when we would all play at each other’s houses. Even when wheel chaired during his later life he still continued to play with us - he was a real fighter. Most people would say ‘I’m injured’, ‘I’m too tired and hurt’; Jai would say ‘Let’s play!’ His attitude was so positive, and he would never think or say anything negative. These characteristics made him the human being he was, and is the reason why we are all influenced by him.
Family was very important to him and it was due to the family, he kept fighting to live another day. His unconditional love allowed us to support him right to his very end and this helped him to continue living. As his parents flew all around the world in search of treatment for his brain tumour he never complained, but just continued. It was like his motto: ‘Keep going forward, don’t look back’. February 2007 was the time he was hospitalised as the brain tumour began to worsen and grow, and numerous operations took place in an attempt to save his life. Unfortunately, after one of the operations, he went into a deep coma, in which he never woke up from. His last words being said to his father, ‘Thank you for looking after me’. It lasted three months, before a heart attack put an end to his life. Hundreds of people gathered at the funeral, where tears were shed in memory of the great man, and when cremated - Heaven’s missing angel had returned. Jai Vaghela will in no doubt rest in peace, after his truly inspiring and impressive life. Myself as his first cousin, I will never forget him, and will aspire to the values he followed.