Atul Vyas scored in the top 1 percent on his medical school entry exams, but he was having trouble answering one question on applications to Harvard and Duke: Describe a hardship you’ve overcome.
“He said, ‘I’ve not had any, I’ve had a blessed life,’” Vijay Vyas said of his son Sunday.
Atul Vyas never finished the application, never came closer his goal of working in biomechanics. On Friday, he was among 25 killed when a Metrolink commuter train collided with a freight train in nearby Chatsworth. He was 20.
The accident was the nation’s deadliest rail disaster in 15 years.
The train, which was carrying 222 people when it crashed during afternoon rush hour, was headed north toward Ventura County from downtown Los Angeles. [AP]
This is just heart-breaking:
…Atul’s elder brother, who lives in London, was flying into Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon. His parents did not tell him why they were summoning him to America, only that there was a family emergency.
“He has no idea,” Vijay Vyas said. “I said, ‘I don’t want to discuss it, just show up.’” [AP]
Though Atul probably could have attended school elsewhere, a cousin mentioned that he chose CMC because it was close to his family; he took the train back to see them every two to three weeks.
Atul Vyas was on the Metrolink train on his way home to Simi Valley from Claremont McKenna College, where he was preparing for a career as a medical doctor. Only 20, he was interviewing for a graduate program next year at MIT and Harvard that combined science and math.
“He was a thoroughly brilliant kid, flying high,” said his father, Vijay Vyas, an engineer. “Ask his professors.” [LAT]
Vyas skipped sixth grade, scored the highest SAT score in his high school’s history and studied math, physics and premed at Claremont McKenna College.
“He never had to study,” his father Vijay Vyas said. “When he was in 10th grade, I figured out he was smarter than me.” [link]
Such a routine gesture…how many of us have done this? All of us.
…As he passed through downtown Los Angeles, Atul called his mother to let her know when to pick him up in Simi Valley, his father said. “When he didn’t arrive, she called me frantic. It’s ridiculous. He’s still a baby.” [LAT]
…I used to do that every day, when I took the shuttle home from school. These parents could be our own, this could have been any one of us.
While his academic achievements were quite impressive, itâ€™s the little details about someone which really affect me. According to a Facebook group set up in his memory, Vyas loved â€œWeezyâ€, a.k.a. rapper Liâ€™l Wayne. He woke up in the afternoon and complained that it was early (word, Atul). He made time to dote on younger cousins, who looked up to him. My heart turned to mush, when I read his father’s thoughts on one of his hobbies:
Atul Vyas enjoyed sports, including basketball, and “all kinds of weird dancing. You know these kids, they’re into weird things,” his father said. Though of Indian descent, Atul was inducted into a Latino club at school because “they loved him so much. He was a very popular kid…[LAT]
I know some of you may have known him, because thatâ€™s how connected we all are, even in a country as large as this. If you did know him, I am so sorry for your loss. If you didnâ€™t, Iâ€™m sorry for our loss; Atul Vyas sounds like an extraordinary person, and Iâ€™m sure that like me, the rest of you are sad that his life was cut short in such a senseless, horrifying way. My thoughts and prayers are with all who grieve.
“…this is beyond absurd,” (his father) said. “They say only the good die young, and it’s absurdly true.”[LAT]