Today was Indi’s funeral service and I made this video for him that I wanted to share in his honor. I’m also going to include the speech I read at his service because I know that if I tried to write a caption it would be full of a lot of silly memories of conversations and encounters I had with Indi that meant nothing but all added up to mean a lot to me. Thank you to his wife Simran for allowing me come and say goodbye.
“Hi, my name is Jenn and most of you have probably never met me unless you worked at or visited Gold Star Mart. I wasn’t going to speak today because although I loved Indi and I miss him very much I know that he has a big family and so many people who love him here today so I didn’t want to stand up here and take any time away from you but I told Simi that I would help in any way that I could and do anything she needed me to do so when she called me and asked me to speak I said that I would, of course. I wasn’t incredibly close to Indi. I’m not a member of his family and I wasn’t necessarily his friend, either. I was just a customer to him and he was just the man who rang me up at the corner store but he always made me feel like I was more than just another customer to him and I know that to me, he was so much more than just a man at a store. ⠀
I met Indi and Simi for the first time almost a decade ago. My brother had fallen on hard times and he couldn’t support his wife and their daughter so Indi hired him to work at the store. At the time, I didn’t live in the neighborhood but I would pop in to visit my brother and that’s when I started to notice the great man that Indi was. When my brother didn’t have the money to afford something, he would give it to him. When my brother didn’t have a babysitter, Indi would let him bring my niece to work with him when most employers would have just fired him. He was a great boss but It wasn’t until I moved into an apartment on the same street as his store that I got to know him as more than that. I’ve been coming into the store about three times a week ever since then to buy snacks and cigarettes and if I had gone to any other store those trips would have been quick and meaningless but no encounter with Indi was ever quick or meaningless.
He was the type of man who made an impact on people. He didn’t just talk about the weather and say have a nice day, he always had a personal conversation with you. He seemed quiet and reserved at first but that was only until he got to know you. Once he figured you out he knew exactly how to talk to you and how to make you laugh. No matter what type of day I was having I always left the store feeling better than when I came in somehow. He was an empathetic and intuitive man. He knew when you were having a bad day, when you didn’t feel like talking, when you needed someone to ask if you were okay, or when you were in the mood to hear a joke or talk about movies or look at pictures of his family or his home theater that he was so proud of on his phone. When I was sad he somehow always knew and most people wouldn’t care but Indi always asked me what was wrong and listened to me when I told him. He would give you advice when you needed it and he would always ask you the next time he saw you if you were doing better. He was so easy to talk to that he was often the first person I told things to, even before my friends and family. When I was dressed up or had makeup on he always told me that i looked pretty and asked me what my plans were. Sometimes I was going on a date or going to see a movie and no matter what the occasion was the next time he saw me he would always follow up and ask me how it went. Even if it had been three days since he saw you he would somehow remember and make sure to ask. He had such a good memory that if he had to short you even a dime one day because he didn’t have one in the drawer he would say he would pay you back next time and he never forgot. No matter how much time had passed he would always make sure to give you back your dime and thank you as if you had loaned him $100. He would remember even the smallest things and he always thought of you.
I remember one time someone came in and asked if they could sell him some of their Mexican treats for him to sell at the store. They didn’t look very good so nobody bought them but I decided to try one of the coconut treats. The next time I came into the store I was still the only person who had bought one and he asked me if I liked the one I had bought and I told him I loved it and I bought another one. The next time I came into the store all of the coconut treats were gone. He told me that after I left he decided to try one since I told him they were good and he couldn’t stop himself and ate them all that day except for one that he had saved for me in case I wanted it. He did the same thing with my favorite ice cream and my favorite soda. He would always make sure that you would have your favorite things, even if it meant he had to hide it for you. And he didn’t have to do that. He did it because he was kind, he was thoughtful, and he cared about people.
He let people run up tabs at the store when they didn’t have money, he let homeless people stay warm and dry outside of the store even when other shop owners were kicking them off of their property. He was even kind enough to give them free food and coffee when they really needed it. No matter how much time had passed since he saw my brother, he would always ask me how he was. He would want to know where he was working, how old my niece was now, he would ask if I had any pictures of her on my phone so he could see her growing up. He cared about them like he cared about so many people. But the people he cared about the most were obviously you, his family. He has shown me so many pictures of Simi and their son that I feel like I was there with them on all of their vacations and special moments. When Simi was gone to visit family he would always keep me updated on how she was doing even when I didn’t ask. When he left to visit family he would show me pictures of him and all of you when he came back and he would talk about how much fun he had. He was always talking about you and showing you off to everyone he could. He loved you all so much and he was so proud of his family. He never smiled wider or laughed harder than when he was talking about you.
When I went to the store that day there were so many people there that were worried about Simi and Indi. The next day I came to the store to set up a memorial for him and leave flowers, candles, and messages to him and his family. I didn’t think anyone would be there but there were a lot of people there who came to do the same thing. Everyone was crying and telling stories about him and I realized then what a huge impact he made on everyone he met. When the news reporters asked me to talk about him and what he meant to me, I told them that I had always thought that i was special. I thought that he had a soft spot for me because he had known me for so long but after hearing everyone else’s stories about him I realized that he was that kind to everyone. When we all gathered for a vigil at the store on Sunday, so many people who saw me on the news came up to me and told me that they had always thought they were special, too, because of how good he was to them. As it turns out, he was that good to all of us. He was just such a good person who was genuine and caring and who made you feel like you were special. But the truth is that we weren’t special, he was and we were all so lucky to have known him. I hope that all of you here today who are his friends and family know how truly special he was to us, how incredibly special you were to him, and that he will never be forgotten by us. We loved Indi so much and we love all of you because of him and if you ever need anything, let us know and we will be there for you like Indi always was for us. Thank you.”