Fazil Khan was a ray of light in an otherwise gloomy world. RIP, @merefazildost

The name “Fazil” denotes a person who is intelligent, gifted, kind, and deserving of great admiration. Someone has never had a more fitting name. It was Fazil Khan for it.

The tragic news of Fazil’s demise in a lithium-ion battery-caused apartment fire in New York’s Harlem broke to us as we woke up this morning. Even as we write our eulogy to a journalist of the highest caliber and the purest of hearts, waves of sadness and bewilderment are washing over us.

Fazil Khan was a bright light in this gloomy, dark world. He was extraordinarily gifted, wonderfully modest, and had a grin that could melt even the hardest of hearts. He also makes it darker.

We couldn’t help but note how everyone was familiar with his helping demeanor as we read the condolences posted on social media by the people he touched. It seemed only fitting that his Twitter account was @merefazildost. He would never ask for aid for himself, not even when he needed it. Even if the specifics of the catastrophe that claimed his life are still unknown, we wouldn’t rule out the possibility that he would put the needs of others around him before his own hasty escape.

The first things that come to mind when we think about Fazil are his glasses and his grin. A couple of us even made fun of him at a lighter time in the newsroom, saying that only he and Superman could wear spectacles as a disguise. It was one of those goofy moments shared among coworkers that we would always treasure.

Fazil was an introvert at heart, yet he was always open to a thoughtful conversation on current events. He was quite interested in cricket talk, often checking the score by peering at the television screen across from his desk.

Fazil was a towering man, yet he was kind and soft-spoken. Whether you were an intern or a senior, he always had a grin on his face while assisting you.

I, Nita, had expressed to him my desperate want to learn how to code from start without any prior experience after he had left News18 to attend Columbia Journalism School in Columbia. Fazil took me through the fundamentals and laid out a learning plan for me for a full hour, even though it was late at night and I subsequently found out it was test season for him. If it had been any other specialist, he would have warned against going into something so specialized so late in his career, but not Fazil. He even diligently continued to provide helpful information and advice over the next several days.

He was self-deprecating, kind, friendly, supportive, and courteous. “Anyone can do it if I can,” he said. No, Fazil. God, as they say, shattered the mold.

He was thrilled to make his mother proud, telling a mutual acquaintance that he was the first in his family to go overseas. After just a few years of knowing him, we find it hard to believe that Fazil is no longer with us. All we can do is hope and pray that God grants his family the fortitude to endure this gut-punch.

Goodbye, Fazil. We’ll search the heavens for you.

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