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A much-loved young man, Rishi Chaubal-Menon is farewelled by friends and family
When someone you love becomes a memory, then memories become a treasure.
In what can be termed as a beautiful celebration of his young life, friends and family came together to bid a fond farewell to 18-year-old Rishi Chaubal-Menon recently.
The touching ceremony was held at the Memorial Hall of Scotch College, Hawthorn, Rishi’s alma mater.
Rishi completed Year 12 here in 2014 and was studying to become a filmmaker at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles.
The teenager was found dead in a mysterious incident on the freeway near Studio City, Hollywood, shortly after Halloween Saturday.
According to the Los Angeles coroners’ report, Rishi was a victim of a hit-and-run though it is not clear as to the circumstances that led to his untimely demise.
Rishi’s parents Prakash Menon and Manisha Chaubal-Menon are well known within Melbourne’s Indian community and the outpouring of grief from family and friends has been tremendous.
The memorial service hall was packed to capacity as Rishi’s closest friends delivered eulogies remembering him as wonderfully talented, very popular and a much loved person who touched many hearts in his short life.
There was laugher among the tears and very few dry eyes as people reminisced about Rishi’s life through several heart-warming speeches. A friend also sang a moving song created in memory of the young spirit.
From his Kumon teacher to his dance instructors from Shiamak Dance Academy, everyone had stories to share that reflected on Rishi’s inspirational ability to connect with people at every stage of his life.
A couple of videos showing clips from Rishi’s life were also played with some shots taken just a few days before his sad demise.
Rishi’s younger brother Hrithik and mother Manisha spoke about how blessed they were to have him in their lives and how during his ‘short assignment on earth’ he gave them unconditional love and joy.
“Yes, I have my moments and we have our moments when we question why you and why us, but you are a higher force, a divine intervention, and you cannot be held down in one body form for too long! We feel so blessed that we were the ‘chosen ones’, not you, to have spent 18+ years with us,” wrote his mother Manisha.
Rishi was cremated earlier in a funeral in Los Angeles. His ashes travelled back with his parents to his much loved home in Melbourne.
People queued to pay their respects to his remains and offer condolences to the family who conducted themselves with remarkable dignity despite their unimaginable grief.
In lieu of flowers, people who wished to pay tributes were requested to donate to Yatra Foundation Australia, where Rishi had visited last year.
This tragedy has shocked many people and even those who did not know the family were affected by the untimely loss. Many have expressed their sympathies through social media, and hundreds attended Rishi’s memorial. The messages of strength for the family, along with condolences, continue to pour in.