In Memory of Film Organizer Vijay Mohan
Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 11:41PM
Nicole in Spotlight, inspiration and observations

"We could all be much better people if we tried" - Vijay Mohan 

Today marks two years since Vijay "Jay" Mohan was killed in a bicycle accident and it's still hard to believe he's gone. The last time I remember seeing Jay prior to then was in front of the box office/information table on my way to a matinee film screening at the University of Pennsylvania.

Although our conversation was brief, his smile and upbeat manner put me at ease that day.

Prior to my arrival, I was rushing, trying to not be late for the show and he remembered me from PhillyCAM, the television station where he worked as a tech guru. It was a pleasant surprise to learn that he knew me at all. I figure, I'm just some random person who pops in there ever so often. Nevertheless, it was great to see a familiar face in the building.

We laughed about him being everywhere in the city in terms of its film scene -- from Scribe Video Center to the Philadelphia Asian Film Festival and beyond. That's why it comes as no surprise to hear his friends and colleagues describe how tirelessly he worked to improve the lives of others. Still, this is the first season that the loss has really started to sink in, having been to recent local events and notice he’s not there.

When I first read a newsletter mention of the station's tragic loss, back in 2015, I was in denial. I told myself that it meant he found a new job. Then, I didn't hear anything else about him, his new work or even see him the few times when I would pop by the station or at any other film screenings. Soon, Jay's friends, colleagues and family in the U.S. came together to coordinate the return of his remains to Kerala, India; where his mother resides.

Later that summer, Charles Patierno performed a nice jazz tribute celebrating Jay's life, during the Electricity music series. Today I write this in honor of Jay, the Wu-Tang loving Temple University student who brought light and love to all of the lives he touched. He showed me what it looks like to be active and involved in the things that you’re passionate about. May the community of media makers in Philly continue to remember him as someone whose words "make us want to live and love intentionally."

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