Hello. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Suj and Ali was one of my best friends.
Let me start by thanking you for coming. Your being here would have meant a lot to Ali, and I think it says more about him and who he was than any words I could convey.
Ali led a truly remarkable life, and in the thirty-five years he was with us he jammed in more than most could in ninety. So while his life was shorter than any of us wanted, it was also fuller than most of us could imagine.
Ali wasn’t the type to stand on the sidelines and watch life pass by. Everything he did, he threw himself into with a fearlessness I always admired and envied.  Whether it was moving from his hometown to Montreal, blogging, learning French, or realizing his dream of being a video game producer he never did anything halfway.
And he was the same way with his friends -- full on, full tilt.  A conversation with Ali was never superficial, an event was always an experience to remember, and a joke was never only half funny. He had a natural talent for making people laugh, and most of the time he’d be right there, laughing harder than anyone else.
He also had a particular talent for asking you hard questions, moving you outside of your comfort zone, and making you see things you didn’t always want to see.  This could be difficult to deal with, but was always worth the effort because you realized that after talking with Ali you were always somehow better off for having done so.
He was the truest, most genuine person I’ve ever known, completely and unflinchingly honest in every aspect of his life – with himself, those he cared about, and the world around him. Anyone who ever asked him his thoughts on something learnt very quickly that you could expect nothing less than his honest opinion – unfiltered, unplugged, and minus the sugar coating you sometimes hoped for.
And one of the things I loved about Ali was that it didn’t matter if you were a stranger he’d just met that day or one of his closest friends, he was always the exact same Ali. Whatever the situation, you could count on the fact that Ali was always just Ali.
And Ali being Ali meant that sometimes you’d be laughing till beer snorted out of your nose, and other times it meant that you’d be standing there totally mortified over something controversial he’d just said or done. And yes, as we all know, he could definitely be controversial, in both opinion and action.
My favorite Ali story happened about 10 years ago. I was in the process of moving into a new apartment, which just happened to be near where he worked. One day on his way home, he decided that he really wanted to eat some English muffins he just happened to have with him.  He couldn’t wait until he got home, he wanted them right then. So he decided to go to my apartment and toast his English muffins there. Sounds harmless enough except for the fact that, first, I hadn’t actually moved in to my new apartment and, second, that he’d never met the roommate who happened to be at home.
So you can imagine my surprise when I got a phone call from him saying, “Hey Suj, guess where I am?” And I remember that as I was struggling to process all of this and say something, I heard him turning to my new roommate (whom I hadn’t met either) and saying, “Hey, Rosemary, you know what I could really use? Some butter.”
Classic Ali. And you know I understood his thought process – Suj is my friend, he has a new apartment, he’s paid rent, and I really need to toast these English muffins. What could possibly go wrong?
But that was Ali. He was who he was and made no apologies for it, and I don’t think any of us would have had it any other way.
And I think that’s how he’d like to be remembered – as someone who led a full life and did so on his own terms.
His passing marks the end of an era, and a complete shift in my reality. Being his friend was one of the true great privileges of my life, and I cannot describe how much I miss him already. We are all grieving today.
But the one thing I know Ali would have hated was the idea that we might somehow remain stuck in our grief and let it overwhelm the joy that knowing him was. That wasn’t his way.
Instead I think he’d want us to follow his lead and do as he did, by immersing ourselves in all that life has to offer, and doing so on our own terms.  I think that’s his legacy to us and I hope we can embrace it.
I’ll end with a quote, which I think Ali would have approved of. It’s from Albert Einstein, who like Ali was a scientist by both training and disposition: “Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me.  That signifies nothing.  For us believing physicists the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
Goodbye brother.  You are loved, you will be missed, and we will meet again someday. 
This is the eulogy that Suj Sivaraman wrote for Alston Adam’s memorial (October 8th, 2010)