Atul Vyas

Atul Vyas, 20

Died: September 12, 2008
He was a thoroughly brilliant kid, flying high.
— Vijay Vyas, father
Vyas, a student at Claremont McKenna, was studying to be a doctor. He was in the process of interviewing for graduate programs at MIT and Harvard next year. Vyas took the train that afternoon to head home to visit his family.
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108 memories of Atul

Our hearts go out to Vijay's parents, family, and friends. We send out good thoughts and prayers that you are comforted and strengthened during this difficult time.

— A member of the Indian community in Los Angelan
September 13, 2008 at 10:43 p.m.

Atul was brilliant. I've known him since high school. He scored in the top percentile on his mcat. I was supposed to give him a mock interview this weekend for medical interviews. He would have made an extremely fine doctor and I'm sure he would have been excepted everywhere. Intelligent, congenial, and compassionate. He will be missed.

— Richard Tsai
September 13, 2008 at 10:54 p.m.

Atul, your charm and personality, along with that incredible intellect will be missed. Love ya man.

— Eric Walter, friend
September 13, 2008 at 11:11 p.m.

Atul your charm and personality along with that incredible intellect will be missed. Love ya man.

— Eric Walter, friend
September 13, 2008 at 11:15 p.m.

This is a terrible tragedy and it is very sad that a young life has been cut short. I did not know Atul personally but as a member of the Indian community in the Conejo Valley, am deeply saddened to hear the news. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family.

— KC
September 13, 2008 at 11:17 p.m.

i'll never forget him in AP World History "Keep it G Rated"

Our prayers are with your whole family. Our whole class really loved you humor and appreciated all you did to keep us excited and entertained.

We love you like a fat kid loves cake!!

— erin couture
September 13, 2008 at 11:47 p.m.

I knew Atul in high school. When we graduated, we didn't keep in touch that well, as often happens, but I'll always remember Atul as a funny, compassionate, cheerful, ridiculously smart young man. He had so much to offer the world and would've been a terrific doctor. He was taken much too soon. I visited him at Claremont last spring, and I can't believe that's the last time I'll ever see him. I'm shocked and saddened by his death, and my heart goes out to his family and friends.

— Kyle Fitzgerald
September 13, 2008 at 11:54 p.m.

He was easily the smartest and most gifted person I had met to this point. I met him at school but I befriended him through a video game of all things. He was always competitive and it drove others around him to try to be as great. Unlike most people younger than me, he was one of the only ones that I truly looked up to. It's a damn shame and a waste to lose someone with so much potential. My heart goes out to his loving family. Hold strong Aseem.

— Hugo Gonzalez
September 14, 2008 at 12:21 a.m.

I really can't say anything that hasn't been said. My thoughts go out to the Vyas family.

— Darren Phan
September 14, 2008 at 1:25 a.m.

It is so unfortunate that such a great, hard working soul is taken from earth so soon. Although I did not know Atul, my prayers go out to him and his family.

— MJ
September 14, 2008 at 1:34 a.m.

A great guy since day 1 at college. He wouldn't have been a great doctor only for his brilliance, but also his genuine kindness and empathy. Not to mention he is easily the best smash bros player I have met in my life. The Cabrones will miss their brother deeply.

— Juan Flores
September 14, 2008 at 1:53 a.m.

This is beyond my understanding, but I can say from a truly heartfelt place that Atul had a spirit about him that just burst with love and compassion. We haven't seen each other since high school, but I distinctly remember the laughter and smile you brought to those around you. You were such a profound thinker with an even bigger heart! It is a combination you do not often find in others, and I am eternally grateful to have had the chance to cross paths. I send my deepest regards to all the family and friends.

— Carolina Delgado
September 14, 2008 at 3:29 a.m.

Why death is so cruel in snatching away our young? May be Atul knew secrets
of how death's agents operate and could have revealed code in due course.
Our prayers of peace for Atul's soul and faith/courage to extended family.& friends in Universe.

Om,Peace, Peace Peace/

— Manu & Madhu Patel
September 14, 2008 at 7:26 a.m.

We never met Atul but always use to hear from his grandma (bhuasa) about his great feats. Our heart goes to the family who lost such a young and vibrant life. May god give family the strength to bear such a great loss.

— Avinash Vyas & Minakshi Bohra
September 14, 2008 at 7:45 a.m.

I woke up today hoping that what I found out last night was just a bad dream. The good die young, so true it is. Atul was so brilliant that at times, I admit I was slightly envious of how easy high school seemed for him. I knew he had the potential to do anything he wanted. Although years younger, Atul had such a diligent work ethic and he was always a positive role model for me. I will miss his witty humor and I will never forget the good times we shared on the basketball court. My thoughts and prayers are with the Vyas family. Atul will be deeply missed. Aseem, if you ever need anything at all, I'm a phone call away.

— EJ Fonacier
September 14, 2008 at 7:50 a.m.

I went to high school with Atul, and although I do not think we ever officially met in person, or maybe just said "hi" a couple of times during passing in between classes, I will never forget how highly the teachers regarded him because he was so smart and because he was also so kind to everyone. People looked up to him at Santa Susana High School. Teachers, as well as students loved him and we all knew that he was headed for great things in his life. My thoughts and prayers are with the Vyas family.

— Brittany Silverstein
September 14, 2008 at 9:27 a.m.

From our days in Stark to goading me into partying up in North Quad, I will always remember Atul as one of the smartest most hilarious people I have ever met. We had the strangest of customs where he would teach me about rap music and ebonics and I taught him Yiddish. He always kicked my butt to work out at the gym with him more. When I did go to the gym we would come back and he would school me in supersmash brothers.

As he said to me many times: "You my Mensch Dawg."

— Nick Warshaw
September 14, 2008 at 9:38 a.m.

Betel nuts, camphor and fragrant sandalwood oil - in the end, they too shall die,I have searched all the Vedas, Puraanas and Simritees, but none of these can save anyone-

— R S Devgan
September 14, 2008 at 9:57 a.m.

My heart and prayers go out to the Vyas family. Atul was a incredible young man with a brilliant mind, wicked sense of humor, and a kind heart. Ms. Denihan will miss you!

— Heather Denihan
September 14, 2008 at 10:07 a.m.

We knew of Atul through his aunt. Wish we had a chance to meet this brilliant and funny kid. Our hearts go out to the entire family: You are in our thoughts and our prayers. Only God can give you the strength to go through this

— Dolly and Mukund Phadke
September 14, 2008 at 10:07 a.m.

My deepest condolences to the Vyas family. It is terrible when this sort of thing happens to anyone, but it is especially awful when the person involved was as all-around wonderful as Atul was. I will always remember him as a true standout among the freshman Starkies that I met as RTA my junior year. He was very sweet, smart, polite and remarkably modest - a real class act - and it was impossible not to notice how great of a friend he was to all of his buddies. The CMC community has suffered a very great loss with his passing and we will all miss him very much.

Peace be with you, Atul.

— Carey Tan
September 14, 2008 at 11:06 a.m.

Our family is in Seattle when we got this terrible news. Atul and his brother Aseem was my son Ajay's classmate in Vista Elementary School as well as in Santa Susana High. There is no doubt that he was a brilliant and highly motivated individual.. He was always charming, friendly, and cheerful. He was also very un-assuming. We used to see him and his family at Oakridge Athletic Club as recently as last week. Fate is really cruel, and unpredictable. Our codolensces go to his mom Ruby, his dad, Vijay, and his brother Aseem. May God give them strength to overcome this collosal loss. May Atul's soul rest in everlasting peace and bliss.

— Vivek and Jyoti Ullal
September 14, 2008 at 11:07 a.m.

I will remember Atul as a guy who was remarkably kind to everyone and brought a lot of fun times to mock trial. My heart goes out to Aseem and his family.

— Sara Mason
September 14, 2008 at 12:08 p.m.

Deepest condolences to Aseem and the rest of the Vyas family. I remember the first time I met him, he was so easy going and could trade a laugh with anyone from any walk of life. I enjoyed getting to know Atul and all of his dreams throughout our years together at CMC. He was a brother and a friend to everyone. Your brothers at Sigma Theta Chi send every positive energy to your amazing parents and family, and all of our prayers are with them.

— Christopher Lopez
September 14, 2008 at 12:27 p.m.

Intelligent. Friendly. Athletic. Musically gifted. A family man. And even silly at times. Individuals like this are hard to come by.

Thoughts and prayers to all who have had the privlege of knowing this incredible young man.

In band class, or anywhere in school for that matter, I would always give him a hug and call him Atubee Bear. He never liked it...but I wish I had done it more. He will definitely be missed.

— Noel Alvarenga
September 14, 2008 at 12:44 p.m.

Atul, was by far the smartest kid I ever knew. I can't believe that something like this could happen to such an amazing person. I will always remember Atul carrying around his lunch to every class and making jokes. I just saw Atul about 2 weeks ago after not seeing him since highschool. He was all set for medschool and I knew he had such a brilliant future ahead of him. I can't believe his life was taken so early because I know that he could have saved so many peoples lives. I send my thoughts and prayers to the Vyas family.

— Heather Mason
September 14, 2008 at 1:57 p.m.

I didn't know Atul very well, but the reason I did know him was because he was just so friendly that he went out of his way to smile or wave. What I would give to have known him better. His friends love him because of what a great guy he was, and let me tell you, this is the world's loss, becauase I have no doubt that Atul was going to do amazing things with his life. Rest in peace, Atul. Your smile is imprinted on our hearts.

— Heidi Denenholz
September 14, 2008 at 2:02 p.m.

Atul was an amazing young man. A person of character, morals, and a love for life. I knew him through high school and kept in touch throughout college. He had a promising future and was the kind of individual looking to contribute to society.I can't find enough words to describe the lost suffered.

We will all miss you, Atul!

— Eduard Najarro, Jr.
September 14, 2008 at 2:42 p.m.

Atul always had a smile on his face and he was always ready to laugh. He was so smart and I'm privileged to have be able to call him my friend. I'll never forget him and my thoughts go out to his family.

— Emily Mangel
September 14, 2008 at 2:59 p.m.

Our deepest condolences to Ruby, Vijay, Aseem and rest of the Vyas family. Dearst Atul is no more. The smartest, brilliant and lovable Atul will forever live in our heart and memories. GOD, Please give Ruby, Vijay and Aseem the strength and the courage to face this loss.

— Hemant Gupta
September 14, 2008 at 3:04 p.m.

this is my homage to the Vyas family in my profound grief:

have you ever been close to tragedy
Or been close to folks who have?
Have you ever felt a pain so powerful
so heavy, that you collapse?

Have you ever had the odds stacked so high
you need a strength most dont possess?
has it ever come down to do or die that you had to rise above rest?
Ive never had to knock on wood
but I know someone who has
which makes me wonder if I could
it makes me wonder if I could

I ve never had to knock on wood
and Im sure I havent yet
and It surely isnt good
that's the impression that I get

IM not a coward
ive just never been tested
Id like to think that if I was
I would pass
But LOok at the tested
and think
there before the grace go I
I might be afraid of what I might find out bout myself.....

YOu are a brave soul Atul always courageous and self have shone your light on us, now dimmed but never extinguished......

— Richard family friend
September 14, 2008 at 3:07 p.m.

I was one of the crew memeber of a ambulance that responded to the accident on that day. I trasported many people that day. I just wanted to say. I'm sorry for your lose.

— Thomas EMS
September 14, 2008 at 3:37 p.m.

Little can express the shock and disbelief that such an individual could ever be taken at such a point in his life. Atul was a brilliant and great guy who I had the privilege of knowing throughout high school. Even though we may not have kept in touch in subsequent years, I always expected that we would inevitably cross paths again as we both proceeded along our medical careers, one in which I knew he was bound to achieve whatever he set out to accomplish. My prayers go out to him as well as his parents and brother who are also amazing individuals.

— Daniel Bach
September 14, 2008 at 4:06 p.m.

As it has already been said so many times before, Atul was the brightest, most caring individual that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. We sat through four years of high school together, cracking jokes the entire time. Atul was destined to do great things in this world and his memory will live on in all of us. My prayers are with you and your family, buddy. You will be loved and missed through all eternity.

— Chelsea Mangel
September 14, 2008 at 4:08 p.m.

you're phenomenal <3
I didn't know you that well sadly, but I always knew you would do absolutly amazing in life... my prayers are with you and the Vyas family. You will be missed dearly.

— Destiny Drehs
September 14, 2008 at 5:30 p.m.

I found out today that my good friend Atul Vyas is gone. So very few come to this earth with the kindness, energy, and love that Atul shared with all of us. I would be surprised to find anyone with anything but kind words and warm feelings for Atul, and I am no exception. Although three years my junior, Atul helped me during mock trial in high school and was a great friend to talk to. Always there, always available, always with a smile. While I am here, missing a friend who would have gone on to do so many more wonderful things, wherever you are now, Atul, they are all the better for your presence. Thank you so much, dear friend, for all that you were. God speed.

— Ian King
September 14, 2008 at 6:11 p.m.

He was Atul. Those are the only words I can find to describe him. It is absolutely impossible to describe him in a word. We will all miss you dearly my friend. Keep schoolin people in smash bros.

— Brandon Sanchez
September 14, 2008 at 6:33 p.m.

Words can't express the grief from this loss. He was a great friend to me, and anyone here at CMC that knew him will say that he was easily one of the most smartest, friendliest, funniest kids around. Atul, I will miss you calling me "OH!", along with all the other countless laughs we shared over the past 3 years. Hold Strong Aseem, my heart and prayer is with you and your family.

— Whun Darren Oh
September 14, 2008 at 7:42 p.m.

Between sitting together in band for three years playing the saxophones, to having almost all the same classes, to rooming together in Hawaii, to staying over at your house with your family, to hearing about your crazy life time and time again, you were the best my friend, and will be forever. I am proud to have known you, you will never be forgotten.

— Darin Williams
September 14, 2008 at 7:42 p.m.

If ever there was a student that we remember with a smile, it is Atul. I know that so many others share my feelings of trememendous loss and sadness, along with unforgettable memories of an individual who brightened our days. Although his stay was much too short, he brought great things to this world and made a mark that will never fade. Lots of love to Aseem and Atul's parents.

— S. Leibman, Former Teacher
September 14, 2008 at 8:03 p.m.

You were a role model to many, and you had a bright future ahead of you. Although this tragedy hits everyone especially your family and friends, I believe the most tragic thing is you were never able to live up to you full potential and follow all your dreams.

We will all miss you.

— Stacy C
September 14, 2008 at 8:10 p.m.

Back in high school, Atul and I used to debate on the internet all the time. Unlike most debates on the internet, it was always civil and intelligent. I always had a lot of respect for Atul, both for his amazing ability and his amazing capacity for kindness. Looking back at all the debates we had, I have no problem saying he was right every time.

— Andrew Hollander
September 14, 2008 at 8:53 p.m.

Atul was an amazing individual who inspired me throughout high school to always work hard and have fun. He will be dearly missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

— Sasha Gould
September 14, 2008 at 8:54 p.m.

You were a great person that had a great future ahead of you. It's so unfortunate to lose someone as special as you were. My heart goes out to the whole Vyas family and I pray they can get through this difficult sitaution. GOD BLESS, you will be missed dearly Atul................

— Raymond Youash
September 14, 2008 at 9:19 p.m.

Atul, things like this just aren't fair. I will always remember Mock Trial with you and the rest of the team. Your brilliance was known to everyone who was blessed enough to meet you. My prayers are with you and your entire family. The world is missing a wonderful person. We will all miss you.

— Erin Buffington
September 14, 2008 at 9:26 p.m.

Why would God do this? That I'll never understand but what I do know is that his life was cut short unpredictably and in a way that nobody should have to suffer. I wish his family finds the peace and know that their son, brother, cousin and friend will always be with them. God bless Atul Vyas and all the other victims of this horrific and senseless accident.

— M. Desai
September 14, 2008 at 9:35 p.m.

To Atul's family,

Incredibly sorry for your loss. You had a bright young son who was taken too soon. He is looking down from heaven and smiling down at you all.

Again, so sorry for your loss.

— Anonymous
September 14, 2008 at 9:56 p.m.

Atul was always someone fun to be around who cheered us all up during those long study days for the academic decathlon. Greater than life and the primary consumer! A great sense of humor, a brilliant guy with a good heart. My prayers are with his family.

— Elaine Duncan
September 14, 2008 at 10:05 p.m.

I went to elementary school at Vista with Atul and always sat next to each other alphabetically and attended GATE pullout with him. I always knew he was so intelligent, even when we were little and he was always kind and compassionate toward everyone around him.

— Kelcie Wiemann
September 14, 2008 at 10:10 p.m.

Atul was a brilliant and talented young man, my son Steven and he became close friends during their freshman year at Santa Su HS and were in most of the same classes throughout school. There was a little competition between the two of them to be at the top of the class, but Steven's friendship with Atul made him try harder to be a better student. Atul was a humble young man, he never boasted his talents, he was kind and compassionate and so full of life. I am so happy to have known him, my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. We will always miss you.

— Ramona Timmons Mejia
September 14, 2008 at 10:49 p.m.

Atul, you were in my graduating class. We weren't close at all, but from what I remember, you were very brilliant and a very nice person. RIP

— Matthew Wilkins
September 14, 2008 at 11:14 p.m.

Atul was a good guy, he was nice to everyone and would make everyone smile. He will be missed. My prayers are with the Vyas family

— Stevenson Torres
September 14, 2008 at 11:27 p.m.

For Atul the sky was the limit. He excelled in everything he did. His laughter was infectious and was an incredible communicator. An unforgettable individual that left an impact with every acquainted person. Truly Atul had a boundless potential for greatness we all could see. Atul you will be sorely missed.

My deepest condolences to you Aseem and your family.
Please know my heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with you.

— Stephen Bivins
September 14, 2008 at 11:28 p.m.

Atul always wore a big smile that went along with his big heart. He was a good son who loved and respected his parents and worked hard to be an honor to them.

He would have been a wonderful doctor or medical researcher. This is not the fame for which he was destined. Our community is the worse for his loss.

My condolences to the Vyas family. It is not right that our young should precede us in death. Blessings and peace to you all.

— Pam Bradley
September 14, 2008 at 11:55 p.m.

As you can all see Atul has touched many individuals, and all these posts of fond memories can't be wrong. Atul you really were a great man, i am very saddened to hear the news of your passing. you are a one of a kind individual that was honest, sincere and true to what you believed in. You were definitely a sarcastic individual but that is what made us drawn to you even more so. you were a great roll model for many, and helped more in peoples lives than just tutoring, you taught us to be generous humble and giving. I wish that i could have known you better being the band geeks that we were. you will be missed by everyone that had the chance to meet you and my prayers are with you and the Vyas family

— Hugo Navarro
September 15, 2008 at 12:16 a.m.

Atul was the first valedictorian I ever knew, I was just a kid at the time, a freshman, and i remember just being really impressed. He was the epitome of success in my eyes.

— A. Panameno
September 15, 2008 at 12:20 a.m.

Atul was fun to be around who cheered us all up during those long study days for the academic decathlon. Was a great basketball at Santa Susana High School. Was really nice to be around! My prayers are with his family.

— Taqi Jaffery
September 15, 2008 at 12:34 a.m.

I shared only a few classes with Atul, but could sense his amazing energy and love of life just by being in his presence. I can remember him being very competitive and was always hoping to catch him 1on1 in a game of Super Smash Bros. which he'd always boast and brag to me about how good he was. He was very intelligent, loving, and an exceptional human being, one I wish I could've known better. I can't even fathom what the family is going through and my sincerest condolonces go out to them. Rest in Peace

— Aman Wali
September 15, 2008 at 12:36 a.m.

Your a good dude, man. My prayers go out to your family.

— Joshua Russell
September 15, 2008 at 12:49 a.m.

Atul, you will be greatly missed. I have only good memories of the times you would sneak your lunch during class or pester me to join mock trial. You were always so friendly to everyone and had the ability to light up any room you walked in. And for that, I feel truly blessed to have known you. My thoughts and prayers go out to Aseem and the Vyas family at this time.

— Regina Gayatinea
September 15, 2008 at 4:25 a.m.

I met Atul a few times in highschool. His mom, Ruby, works with my mom. He was truly an amazing human being with a huge heart and so many prospects. He was brilliant. I'm sure he still is :) His family is amazing and did not deserve to go through this. It is truly unfair. No one deserves to lose a loved one. My heart and my love goes out to his family. Atul will truly be missed.

— Erin Cariker
September 15, 2008 at 8:32 a.m.

I grieve for all of the passengers who left life so violently but i grieve harder for the younger ones who were only at the doorstep of beginning their life and working to make their dreams come true, all my prayers and condolences go to the families and friends of all the victims.

— David Mansour
September 15, 2008 at 9:44 a.m.

May God bless you in this heart-wrenching loss!

I am so very sorry...


— Tanya Vasilev
September 15, 2008 at 10:46 a.m.

My sincere condolences to the Vyas family. I never met Atul but I work with his father Vijay and he has always projected the most professional and sincere attitude indicative of a person who is truly driven and passionate about his work. I am sure the apple did not fall from the tree.

— Virgil Bell
September 15, 2008 at 10:57 a.m.

I had the priviledge of knowing Atul through the Instrumental Music Dept at Santa Susana High School. What an honor to have know such an exceptional young man. My thoughts and prayers are with the Vyas family.

— Debbie Nicoll
September 15, 2008 at 11:07 a.m.

I remember standing outside of the sight-reading room at an SCSBOA festival in jr high with Atul. we were all talking about what we wanted to be when we grew up, and when Atul said he wanted to be a doctor, none of us doubted he would make it. He was this short little dude, a year younger than all of us, but so smart that he was a grade ahead of his peers. i was sad to have to leave him and our friends behind to go to a different high school, but we kept in touch when we saw each other at performances. he was an amazing young man, and my heart goes out to his family. you have my prayers, and i am praying that you will find comfort and joy and peace through your grief.

— Melina Hunt
September 15, 2008 at 12:05 p.m.

Our community has just lost a wonderful young man. Atul was meant to do great things. I will always remember his intelligence, warmth, and commitment as one of our leaders in the Key Club at Santa Susana High School. My heart goes out to Aseem and many prayers to the Vyas family as we all search to understand this tragedy.

— Teri Brotherton
September 15, 2008 at 12:33 p.m.

I've known both Atul and Aseem since our days at Vista Elementary School. My heart goes out to you Aseem and to the rest of your family. Atul was a truly incredible kid. I remember him most as Aseems little brother, but also as memorable figure who was able to cross bridges between a multitude of groups. He talked to virtually everyone and was able to make everyone around him laugh. He also brought an unfathomable level of intelligence to every facet of life. I feel that both Atul and Aseem are aspirational figures for a great deal of us. I'm confident that what awaits Atul on the other side will be greater than anyone can imagine. It's awesome to see so much love for him here, keep the memories rolling.

— Sam Martin
September 15, 2008 at 2:28 p.m.

Atul was an unbelievable character. He was my roomate freshmen year and probably the smartest person I knew period. He would always take the time to show you how to do things right in anything he understood. At night he'd actually get to do his own work, and I was a chronic sleep talker and sleep walker. It was a great combination, b/c in the mornings he'd usually have a really funny story about my sleep episodes the night before. He helped me countless times on projects, papers, and tests where I was stumped. But, words cannot describe how humble and great this kid was. I'm sad for losing a friend, but grateful to have known someone so great.
RIP Atul

— Tim Zenderman
September 15, 2008 at 3:06 p.m.

Eleanor Roosevelt shared, "Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart." I am grateful for the opportunities life gives us to reach a little higher because others have inspired us to do so.
Dear Vyas family, thank you for sharing your light with so many. Footprints remain...not only in my heart, but in the hearts of my children. We are praying for peace during this difficult time for your family.

— Marci Sargent & Family
September 15, 2008 at 3:17 p.m.

I've known Atul since our days at Vista elementary school where I used to carpool with him and Aseem. He was a genius, an optimist, an incredible gamer, and someone who will always be remembered. Top at work and top at play. They say the brightest flame burns the quickest, but his should never have been extinguished. Hold strong Ruby, Vijay, and Aseem.

— Aaron Poehls
September 15, 2008 at 3:47 p.m.


September 15, 2008 at 4:58 p.m.

Atul was wicked smart. I knew him though the band in high school. He was a great teacher and an amazing friend. He was never down, and always excelled at whatever he did. I could not say one bad thing about him. He was truely an amazing person.

— Jeremy Schiff
September 15, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.

Atul was what most people aspire to be. He had love for everyone and a passion for life. Please know that he is going to continue to touch the lives of everyone who knew him. He left a lifetime impression on many people. With love and hope for peace for his family.

— anonymous
September 15, 2008 at 7:32 p.m.

We have known Atul since he was a baby and last met him just about 3 weeks ago. We still cannot come to terms with this tragedy of immense proportions. Atul was one of the nicest kids we have ever known and the epitome of what any parent could dream of in a son - intelligent, humorous, lovable, respectful, charming, morally upright and much more. He had so much to offer but alas fate was not on his side. Our thoughts and prayers are with Vijay, Ruby and Aseem as well as all the others affected by this catastrophe. May God bless the Vyas family and give them the strength to bear this tremendous loss and may He rest Atul's soul in eternal peace.

— Nasser & Selma Tufail
September 15, 2008 at 7:34 p.m.

I knew Atul from band in High School. He was the smartest guy in school. Probably one of the nicest people I have ever met. One of the few people I have met that I have never seen mad or upset. Just a genuinely incredible person destined for greatness. I am shocked to find out what happened and I will really miss him. My thoughts go out to the enitre family and all of the people that knew how special he was.

— Anonymous
September 15, 2008 at 9:10 p.m.

Atul and I were great friends in high school. We shared practically all of our academic classes and were both part of instrumental music. I would memorize quirky Internet raps and sing them to him, and we would have a blast trying to outdo one another with puns or other comedic strides. After school we lost touch, but I always knew he was destined for greatness. I knew that he could easily excel in anything he put his mind to. He was charismatic and a great debater, he was an excellent saxophone player, he commanded the English language and mathematics with great intelligence, and yet he could still manage to party hard; all without breaking a sweat and with seemingly little effort. He was a jack of all trades and a master of them all as well. People like that are rare, and it is most unfortunate that they are now even more rare with his departure. What has happened seems almost unreal, and I am still in shock and disbelief. Remembering the good times is probably the best way to get through it, for there are so many good memories that he gave us.

— Steven Timmons
September 15, 2008 at 9:32 p.m.

I haven't met you in person neither online, but based on the comments, i could tell you're a wonderful and kind young man. Somebody else should have been taken, someone whom the country needs to punish....not you, a young man who could have made a huge difference in saving other people's lives in hospitals or clinics..and not just professionally but also within the group of people who know you personally...

This shouldn't have happened to you, neither to the other 24 who didn't make it...

God bless your soul. RIP !!! My condolences to your family and friends..

— Reva Postrero
September 15, 2008 at 11:17 p.m.

If things happen for a reason, then surely your darling Atul is there in heaven as a star to light our way. I only knew him,Aseem and lovely Ruby briefly during Santa Sue, occasionally having the priviledge of driving the boys to and fro with my son Charlie. Aseem led the way for his brother. We both are shocked but grateful to have known this bright, shining, stellar young man. Heartfelt condolences and peace to Atul's entire family.

— Dena Slonaker
September 15, 2008 at 11:20 p.m.

*my heart goes out to all of you who lost a loved one. *

I find myself glued to the screen, listening and reading repeatedly the sad stories of the tragic train accident of Friday. My eyes well up with tears, my heart aches, and although I cannot personally relate to their families' pain, I feel a connection with all of them. You see, I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, just like many of the innocent souls that were lost that day. Unlike them however, I have another day on earth. Another breath to take. Another song to sing. Another person to hug. Another person to love. I have another day to live. and I realize how truly blessed I am. This has truly opened my eyes.

I have decided to take advantage of each moment I have from this day forward. I will not waste another day. I know many people including myself, always repeat this quote over and over: "Live life to the fullest, life is too short" but how many of us actually practice that? How many moments of our precious lives to we spend on being negative to others, and to ourselves? How many opportunities do we let pass us by because "there's always tomorrow"? How many times to you make the effort to put a smile on someone's face? how many times do we stop and smell the roses? I am negligent in all of the above.

The tragic accident has been a blessing in disguise for me. I am fully committed to being a better person in all aspects of my life. The one and only thing that is guaranteed to us is Death. Because I understand this, I will make sure that when its my time to go I am the person God intended me to be. and in the process, I hope my dreams are fulfilled and I hope to leave a mark in everyone's heart. I refuse to surrender any second of my life to negativity. I will count my blessings every chance I get. So to all those beautiful souls that are now watching us from Heaven, I thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You did not leave in vain.

— Claudia in Ventura County,Ca
September 15, 2008 at 11:48 p.m.

I really don't know what to say other then that I will greatly miss Atul. And when I think of all the fond memories from high school he will be right there. In all of our band classes, speech and debate clubs and school activities he was allways there with a smile. Atul was not just a great guy but a great person. Never in my life have I ever met someone so intelectual, wise, funny, humble, out going, just an overall great person. He was younger then me but I always looked up to him, he carried all the characteristics that I strive for and I admire. I can honestly say that when I look back and I can not think of one negative thing to say about him. He truly was a great friend, a great guy and a great person. He always stayed true to himself no matter who he was with and when you talked to him, you knew was going to do wounderful things with his life. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. It really saddens me how such a great person has been taken from this earth but I know God took him because he needed him up there with him by his side.

— Roxana Rezai
September 16, 2008 at 1:27 p.m.

everything that has been said about atul is true. he was a great person and full of so much potential. everyone who knew him was proud to be his friend knowing his accomplishments or even what we thought he would succeed with in the future. my heart and prayers go to aseem and all those who loved Atul.

— jenalee marsters
September 16, 2008 at 2:07 p.m.

i grew up with atul and his family two houses down from mine. we had the best childhood together, playing in their garage and running around on the street playing basketball and football. he was always so happy and had that smile on his face... ill never forget that smile. he was truely brillant. my heart goes out to his family, they are all great people just like him. i still can't believe it.

— anonymous
September 16, 2008 at 3:43 p.m.

I had the pleasure of meeting Atul a few times. Everything kind word mentioned about Atul is so true. I was so impressed by his kindness, wit and intellectual drive.

My last memories of him are from a scholarship awards ceremony and then at high school graduation, where he spoke so highly of his parents in his Valedictorian speech. I never forgot him.

I was stunned when our son told us about his passing. It is so difficult to understand this terrible loss. It is a loss to all who knew him, those would have been touched by him in the future... and especially by his family.

Our hearts and prayers go out to his parents, brother and entire family. You shared an amazing son with all of us. We pray you are able to find some peace, especially knowing how much he was loved by so many and all of the lives he touch during his time with here with us. God bless you!

— A friend's family...
September 16, 2008 at 6:32 p.m.

My first extended experience with Atul was during elementary School at Vista where we used to carpool together to GATE (Gifted and Educated Education). Although I did not know him that well back then I realized even then that he was brilliant and a truely special individual. We went our seperate ways during middle school and I didn't get to know Atul really well till High School at Santa Su. During High School, Atul easily aced every class he took without much effort. Things just came easy for him while the rest of us struggled. But Atul's genius transcended the classroom. He was an accomplished musician (saxaphone), free-style rapper, human jukebox, competitive eater (he could eat his lunch and yours), and pick-up basketball player. But beyond that which was tangible, Atul had several qualities that made him beyond all else a great friend. He was a great listener and even better at giving advice. The thing that made Atul stand out the most to me was his smile, something which was constant throughout the rollercoaster of high school. When we went to college, we saw each other less frequently, usually only during vacations at the Gym. In college Atul became very physically fit and athletic but he remained the same jovial prankster he was in high school. I am so glad that I got to spend an evening with Atul just 2 weeks before he passed away. It was the first time I had seen him in months and he was joking around as always; little did I know it would be the last time I would see him. The sad thing is that the only thing that could probably make his friends feel better at a time like this would be seeing Atul's smile again; it had a unique ability to brighten up a room. My prayers are with his family, especially Aseem, somebody who Atul looked up to. I will never forget the memories I shared with Atul. He has forever changed the lives of all those who he came in contact with.

— Ajay Ullal
September 16, 2008 at 9:18 p.m.

I just found out a few hours ago that my friend, Atul, was one of the victims in the train accident that I encountered as I made my way towards the 118 from Chatsworth. I was completely anaware that my friend was involved. I have a picture of us together on graduation day here next to me. There are so many memories of him flooding back now; they overwhelm me to tears. We shared a lot of the same friends seeing as how we shared the same Music class & were aquainted with the same social network. I miss him so much. My heart won't believe that he's gone, because it's where he lives now. In my heart & in my memories. I am truely greiving his loss & i'm sure many of our shared friends are too. Atul, I will keep your family in my prayers. I miss you so much...

— Stephanie Benavente
September 16, 2008 at 11:05 p.m.

As many people before me have remarked, people like Atul are rare. Not only was he incredibly brilliant, the kind of genius that you only meet a few times in your life, but he was also, sociable, funny, and easy going. I participated in Mock Trial and Speech and Debate with Atul in high school and remember realizing that what took other people days and weeks to accomplish took Atul only hours. Yet despite his many talents, Atul was always friendly and smiling. I did not see him much after he graduated two years before I did, just during vacations and on weekends when we were both at the gym. Yet even after his graduation, teachers continued to speak about him with admiration. He truly touched the lives of everyone around him and he will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his parents, Aseem, and the rest of his family and friends. The world lost someone with tremendous potential and great promise.

— Seema Ullal
September 17, 2008 at 12:41 p.m.

I met Atul when he first came to Mcgill as an exchange student earlier this year. Our close friends were desperately on the lookout for a fourth person to take up one of the empty rooms in their apartment and were dreading having to fork out the considerable extra money for a room that they were not going to use.

In came Atul, almost like a god-send, to save these hapless chaps from the turmoil of lighter wallets and ailing bank accounts.

On his first night in, the boys and the rest of us decided to go out and show this kid from the West coast the famous Montreal night-life. It wasn't hard to see that Atul was extremely intelligent. I still remember our first conversation; Atul spoke in calm and reserved tones-it was quite evident that he put a lot of thought into what he said and it all was completely genuine.

It was what he said to me later that night, however, that will remain as my ever-lasting memory of the guy and made me admire him. In my experience, when you're in a new place and with new people, you tend to do one of two things; One, you close up in a shell and don't really express yourself for the fear that you'll reveal too much or Two; you put yourself out there and get people to know you and judge for themselves whether or not they would like to be friends with you.

I'm glad Atul went with the second option. 'I'm here on a scholarship. Hopefully I'll be able to work hard enough to ace my MCATs and get a free ride for grad school. It's not going to be easy: all the places I want to go to are really tough to get into. I'm kinda worried though-you guys seem like you really like to party hard, it doesn't look like I'm gonna be able to make it through to the end of this semester,' he revealed to me that night. I still don't know why he opened up to me; maybe he felt he could because we were of the same cultural background or maybe he thought I was a good listener. At this point, it's really irrelevant because, in that moment, I had come to admire the man. (cont)

Omar Masood

B. Engineering, Chemical Engineering
McGill University, 2008

— Omar Masood
September 17, 2008 at 12:52 p.m.

In the weeks and months that passed, I (quite fortunately) didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked with Atul but would catch up with him whenever we'd run into each other on campus or at the gym. Not only was Atul managing to 'get through' the semester, he was excelling in his academics and had even managed to get a research position-no mean feat, especially for someone who had been at McGill for only a few months. It was good to see that he was settling in well and accomplishing the goals he had set for himself.

The last time I saw Atul was right before my graduation ceremony in May. I still remember noticing that the friends he made here still pronounced his name as A-TOOL instead of Atul (the U & L being pronounced similar to the U & L in the word 'full'.) I asked him why he hadn't corrected anybody in the time he had been here; 'Ah, it's okay son. I don't really mind. Whatever is easy for everyone here,' he said to me. It was hard not to like the guy. That was the kind of guy he was; so accommodating, not worrying about petty things. It speaks volumes about the man's character that his roommates had gotten closer to him in 4 months than they had ever been to each other in the 4 years they had lived together.

It's so unfair for this to have happened to him. There are tons of other people on this planet who do not deserve to be here and it's an unforgivable tragedy that someone so gifted (I hear he was interviewing for those grad school spots he was working towards at MIT and Harvard.) as Atul is not with us today.

My deepest condolences go out to the family. You'll always be in my prayers. I'm a poorer man for not having spent more time with you when you were in Montreal and the world is a poorer place now that you're gone. Rest in peace my friend. God Bless.

Omar Masood

B. Engineering, Chemical Engineering
McGill University, 2008

— Omar Masood
September 17, 2008 at 12:54 p.m.

Atul was a modern day Renaissance man. The kid was, as some would say, "the classroom starter." On nights (mornings) before tests, even if he were reading the material for the first time, Atul exuded a quiet, humble, contagious confidence that reflected both his intellectual prowess but I think more importantly his healthy perspective on life. He was funny. As lab partners, he LW and I used to synthesize to Tupac - unconventional to say the least. I think we wierded out other kids as we rapped lyrics of "I Ain't Mad at Cha" in tandem while trying to follow the difficult lab procedures. We once formulated a plan to break into the lab at night and make our own protein powder. No wonder - Atul had become a disciplined, jacked athlete throughout his college career. He had heart. The kind of heart that is rare in a person: strong yet gentle and steadfast. He knew how to do well, and do well with grace. In social circles Atul was the kid who, when he showed up at a party, everybody just smiled. Everybody that knew him loved him. The world truly lost a good one that day. We all owe it to Atul, but also to ourselves, to remember him and strive to achieve as he would, to treat people as he would. I love you Atul, I'll miss you forever buddy. We'll never forget you friend.

— Phil Trapp
September 17, 2008 at 1:01 p.m.

Our condolences to the Vyas family. May the Lord be with you, especially during this difficult time.

— The City of San Pedro, CA
September 17, 2008 at 2:05 p.m.

I always thought that one day I would pick up a newspaper and read about a discovery or a huge breakthrough that Atul achieved. Instead, I read about his sad, untimely death. Even though I only knew him in high school, he left an impression on me. He was a year behind me in school, yet I admired so many of his qualities. He had so much to offer this world and I am incredibly shocked by his death. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. You will certainly be missed.

— Ashley Kaye
September 17, 2008 at 3:55 p.m.

Ruby & Vijay: So sorry that you have to bear this loss.Losing a shining star so early in life is no small matter.

I last recall Atul when he was still in Middle school.

This loss is so sudden.Pray that you both, Aseem and the rest of the family,able to overcome this tragic loss.

— Rizwana & Sher Khan
September 18, 2008 at 1:44 a.m.

Vijay: So sorry that you have to bear this loss. I don't have word to express. I am very sorry to hear about this. I will remember you in my prayer the good lord to give you strength.

— hagos
September 18, 2008 at 7:01 p.m.

Atul helped bring everyone around him up to his level. I'll miss the days of high school that seem like they were not so long ago. He was a great friend and amazing person. I'm saddened by the loss but find peace knowing he is in a better place looking down on us and making sure we continue to strive. Each of us now has another angel above us keeping us strong for the rest of our lives. Rest in peace to my friend.

— Joseph Muniz,
September 18, 2008 at 7:23 p.m.

Atul was the most humble, generous, and intelligent human being I've had the pleasure with whom to be acquainted. His impact on my life, though I knew him only briefly, is truly deeply felt. All the afternoons and weekends we spent in aca deca will be remembered and treasured. Thank you for making me a friend Atul. I miss you.

— Renee Tseytlin
September 18, 2008 at 7:54 p.m.

i know exactly how you feel, my father had passed in that accident, i will pray for him and the whole family. HUGS

— Mey Chao
September 19, 2008 at 9:57 a.m.

As a member of Indian community, I pray for Atul's family. Hope God gives them strength to cope up with their loss.

— Ruchi Dev
September 19, 2008 at 10:06 a.m.

We are thinking of you lot's. So very sorry for your loss.
You are in are prayers. We love you!

— Tracy and Megan Ordas
September 20, 2008 at 9:51 p.m.

I did not have the priviledge to meet Atul. However, I've known Vijay since we became friends while working at Hughes Aircraft in El Segundo, around 1995. He is a great engineer and someone who likes to share his knowledge. The Flores family prays for you and your loved ones. God Bless.

— Anthony Flores
September 24, 2008 at 9:04 p.m.

Though we all may have lost someone who is a big part of our lives and our hearts and we are not able to replace or fill that emptyness that our love ones have taken with them when they left this world. but i hope that maybe we all can come together and allow each other to come into each others lives since i know that we all share the same pain. when my father passed in that metrolink 2008 crash my life has not been the same and its been very difficult, my father left behind his wife and 5 children and so many grand children, and we all miss and love him so much but talkin about him with my family and remembering all the good times we had with him helps us with our pain of losing him. so i just would like to let you all know i am here if you need to talk or just someone to listen to you. my email is

my hearts and prayers go out to you.

— mey chao
October 1, 2008 at 10:14 a.m.

We are so sorry to hear of your loss. We didn't know Atul but it sounds like he was a wonderful person with a bright future. We also lost our son Christopher in the accident and know the sorrow you must be feeling. May the wonderful memories you have of him help sustain you.

— Donna & Roy Aiken
October 4, 2008 at 2:26 p.m.

To the Vijay Family,
My name is Jan Grace and I lost my husband in the crash and I live in Simi valley. I'm hoping that you check in with this site to know that a wonderful support group has been started right here in Simi-at the Senior Center on Sat. at 10.00 am. at no cost for all who experienced a loss. The first meeting was last week and I found it to be very helpful being with families who shared the same trgic loss. I hope you can join us also so as we can help each other in the healing process.

— Jan Grace
April 2, 2009 at 11:41 a.m.

Atul was incredibly smart, kind hearted and compassionate. I will always remember him telling me to "keep on smiling" and his words of comfort. I miss Atul very much, and I am very lucky that I got to know him during our time together at CMC.

— Alison Wong
September 8, 2009 at 2:42 p.m.

Atul is very much missed by my son who was one of his best friends at CMC and by his many, many friends. He was intelligent,kind and happy .Our prayers are with his family on this day and always.

— swati patel
September 12, 2009 at 1:30 p.m.

Atul I knew you in High School and didn't keep in touch after. I knew I would hear about you later in life discovering the cure for cancer or running for president. One of the smartest people Ive ever had the honor to have known. You were always willing to help anyone who asked you. I will always remember your smile. Every time I hear a certain song that was played at your funeral I think of you and all your inspirations in life. My prayers go out to your family. I will never forget you.

— Katie Aiani
March 8, 2010 at 12:09 p.m.

Happy b'day Toolman

— anonymous
June 6, 2010 at 2:51 p.m.

Today is 2nd anniversary... and it doesn't get easier!!

— anonymous
September 12, 2010 at 6:55 p.m.

Share a memory of Atul.

Email addresses are not republished or used for marketing purposes.
Keep in mind
  • The Times initially mispelled the name of Michael Hammersley and Beverly Mosley.
  • The coroner's office reported a 26th victim the afternoon of Sept. 15, but a few hours later said the tally was 25.

Chatsworth Metrolink Crash is the Los Angeles Times' database of fatalities from the Sept. 12, 2008, train collision.

Latest Numbers

25 dead

135 injured

About the Data Desk

This page was created by the Data Desk, a team of reporters and Web developers at The Times.