The Eulogy of Kabir Sehgal

by | Jul 6, 2024

I don’t want to be remembered for my resume or achievements.

So, what legacy do I want to leave behind?

I wrote my own eulogy below.

I hope I live up to it.

I’m a work in progress.

Some of what I wrote in my eulogy is aspirational.

But first, I wanted to share 2 inputs that got me thinking about my own farewell.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. eulogized his team members while they were still alive and directly in front of them. He & his team were living through such turbulent times. They could have been killed (and Dr. King indeed was) at any moment during their struggle for civil rights. By delivering these eulogies, Dr. King lightened the mood among his circle. He injected levity and humor – and certainly some perspective.
  • In The Road to Character, David Brooks writes about the differences between resume virtues & eulogy virtues. He notes that most are obsessed with bolstering their resumes and trying to look good. But we should be more concerned with how we treat people and how we want to be remembered.

So let’s get to it…


The Eulogy of Kabir Sehgal

Good afternoon, everyone.

Today, we gather to celebrate the life of Kabir Sehgal.

Let’s remember this man as an inspiration.

Who was a font of creativity and kindness.

Kabir was not driven by wealth or accolades.

But a desire to help others.

He was a man of service, humility, & action.

I’d like to share a few reasons why folks loved Kabir.


Following His Passion

Kabir began his career by making a living.

But he later shifted his focus to making a life.

He left his high-paying job in investment banking to follow his passion for jazz music.

Even though it was not as financially rewarding.

His love for music was evident to everyone who knew him.

Kabir considered himself a below average jazz bassist.

What he lacked in talent, he tried to make up for in heart.

He supported other artists, helping them to realize their dreams.

He was a thoughtful orchestrator, a man of ideas. A connector of talent & opportunities.

Kabir’s music & creative projects brought people together across borders & countries.

His meditation music helped people find tranquility and inner peace.

Sure, he could have made more commercial pop music.

At times he wondered why he didn’t!

But he followed his heart.

He made music that had a profound impact on the world.


Lifelong Learner

Kabir was always tinkering with new ideas & ventures.

His thirst for learning was unquenchable.

He wanted to learn the guitar, so he did.

He wanted to learn about the history of money, so he wrote a book about it.

He wanted to travel the world, so he got a job that let him see it.

He wanted to heal the rift between the US and Mexico, so he made an album/film/book to do just that.

He wanted to serve his country, so he volunteered.

He learned by doing things.


Service to Country

Kabir had a deep commitment to service.

He joined the the Navy, where he found joy in serving his country.

No, he didn’t look forward to waking up at 5 am on drill weekends.

But he enjoyed the camaraderie of his shipmates (& Chick-fil-a chicken biscuit breakfasts).

He was proud to wear the uniform.

He understood the importance of duty.


Devoted to Family

Kabir’s love for family was profound.

Parental respect & worship are integral tenets of his Indian heritage.

He honored his parents by making art with them.

He helped his mother pursue her dream of writing children’s books.

He lionized his father by writing a biography and making a film.

He joined his family for tea almost every day.

His devotion helped him stay connected to his Indian roots.



Honoring Elders

Kabir believed he must share what he knew (& from whom he had learned).

Especially the wisdom imparted by many influential thinkers.

Kabir wrote biographies which memorialized the wisdom of some of the country’s greatest leaders.

He composed music inspired by philosophers & states people.

Pass it on.

Pay it forward.

Kabir wanted everyone to benefit from the wisdom of these sage souls.


Shine the light

Kabir’s mother frequently told him:

“When you shine the light on others, the glow comes back on you.”

He took that to heart.

A mentor once advised: “You can do whatever you want, as long as you give other people credit.”

People sometimes misunderstood Kabir’s way of working as being silent or secretive.

No, Kabir was just absorbed with his creative work.

He was uncomfortable endlessly talking about himself or his projects.

However, he didn’t mind advocating (vociferously!) on behalf of someone else or a worthy cause.


The First Call

Kabir was the first call for so many:

If you were stuck in jail,

or your social media (or bank) account had been hacked,

or you were stranded in a hard-to-reach country,

you called Kabir and knew he’d help.

So many went to Kabir with their ideas, hopes, aspirations.

Because they knew they could trust him.

Maybe he could help them get to where they wanted to be.

Not delivering for people caused him stress & burnout.

“People remember what you don’t do for them,” he often said.

But over time, he learned to detach from even this thought.



Spiritual and Reflective

Kabir was spiritual.

He believed in karma & treating people the right way.

He was not perfect and made mistakes.

Many, many mistakes.

Failed businesses…

Manuscripts that didn’t see the light of day…

Albums that flopped…

Gaining ~25 lbs during the pandemic…

Letting his temper get the best of him.

But his ability to learn & grow was a testament to his resilience.


On Legacy

Kabir’s legacy is one of simple acts of generosity.

He leaves behind a richer world because of the ideas & projects he manifested.

His legacy lives on in all who were blessed to know him.

He demonstrated that greatness lies in the way we honor & uplift others.

Rest in music, dear Kabir.


Please enjoy the upbeat jazz music & food — baingan bharta.