1st letter

Dilip Butani. (photo provided)

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. Dilip Butani was such a leader, one who stands out for greatness of good deeds and positive achievements.

I first met Butani in 1998, when I was working at a gas station in Anaheim looking for an attorney referral. Fast forward to 2011, he reached out to me to congratulate me on our O.C. Holiday spirit Christmas award, “Owners’ focus is people, not money,” which he read in the newspapers and asked my permission to share with the Indian American community. Butani believed that one should “Follow the have-nots, the self-made people, never-give-uppers, follow the resolvers in the face of adversity.” Over the years he took immense pride in sharing the accomplishments with pride. He recognized the worth of each and every person.

The last night of Dec. 4 of his life was spent doing things he loved and places he enjoyed, in Mumbai. He was excited for his Mumbai visit, as he said it was a place of “solace” where he got his cultural fix. He was always the nicest person and the quality that seems to follow in his wake was of civility. Butani was genuinely good and I would wager that no matter how many people you talk to, you won’t find a person who will say one ill word about Dilip bhai, that is something you absolutely cannot fake in life. That means he was who he was and will be missed but never forgotten for a lifetime of service.

We met once a year for sure and a few times twice a year and the first thing upon meeting, he would smile big and give me a hug, saying “it was his lucky day to see me.” The last time I met him was at my father’s funeral on July 22, where he honored my family by being the master of ceremony. In last communication, he had wished me and my family ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ from India in an email. We both believed in two mottoes: “To whom much is given, much is required,” and “Service is the rent we pay for the space we occupy here on earth.”

Many people idolize money, recognition and power but Dilip bhai sought to make Mata Rani and Hanuman ji his idols. He always encouraged people to examine questions of religion, ethics and morality through education. He had unconditional love for community and was working to unite and see unity in the community; that was his dream.

We will salute Dilip bhai and his life and keep his legacy alive. legacy of goodness and kindness with an amazing spirit. Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. Dilip bhai exemplified this form of greatness. His life exemplified the highest ideals — integrity, courage and a commitment to do what is best for the Indian community. His contributions to the community left a lasting legacy. He had a vision for unity and never lost sight of or respect for the Hindu values, generously volunteering his own time, talent and mobilizing resources to help our community.

My sincere hope is that whenever we remember Dilip bhai, we smile joyfully.

Sunil Tolani

Via E-mail

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