By John Huân Vũ, PayPal Product Manager and Global Interfaith Prayer Chair @ PayPal Belief
On Wednesday, July 19, 2023, I woke up to the news that my dear coworker (and friend), Milind Makwana, unexpectedly passed away. His final message to me was 12 hours beforehand.
Milind made a huge impact within PayPal and outside of PayPal embodying a full life that was gone too soon. For me, knowing Milind personally, professionally, and spiritually has elevated my love for him and I will always be thankful for those memories.
Since Milind was our PayPal Believe Hindu faith chapter leader, I envisioned that several employees will need resources to process, grieve, and heal. That morning, I called for an emergency meeting of the PayPal Believe interfaith employee resource group steering committee. As each of us processed our shock and sadness, we had to turn our thoughts and prayers into action.
We know the faith of Milind was so important that that he even wrote a book called “A day in the life of a Hindu Kid” to help children learn about their faith and to ensure all profits would be donated to a non-profit organization benefiting local communities. Milind even represented PayPal at the 2022 “Dare to Overcome” Faith@Work conference hosted by the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation touching the lives of every person he met regardless of their faith and background.
In my role as the PayPal Believe Global Interfaith Prayer Chair, I was invited to prepare and host two Interfaith Prayer Services at our company. Alongside PayPal Believe Global Co-Chairs, Becky Pomerleau and Neetu Dhaliwal, MBA, Archana Nindra and I led the service in our respective prayers before opening up to employees to share stories and find comfort with each other. We had over 200 employees attending and it was only successful thanks to the support of Sri Shivananda (CTO, EVP, Believe Executive Co-Sponsor), our employee advocacy partner, Jamie Black, and our corporate communications partners, Madeline Bielski and Lenore Feder.
Lastly, I was beyond humbled to be invited to attend my first Hindu funeral (Antya Sanskara). As I prayed and witnessed the beautiful testimony and traditions, my emotions came into fruition as I witnessed the finale and cremation of Milind. I can’t imagine the anguish and tears from his wife and two children (ages 8 and 14).
To conclude my post, here was my interfaith prayer that I prepared for my colleague, my friend, and my brother Milind:
✾ Let us remember our brother, MILIND, who was committed to his Hindu faith.
✾ In Hinduism, Om (or Aum) ॐ is a sacred sound, mantra, and invocation.
✾ When we hear Om ॐ, may we remember MILIND as a Believe ERG leader among our Hindu siblings bringing all of us to prayer.
✾ When we hear Om ॐ, may we remember MILIND as the program manager whose sense of humor and hard work drove our initiatives and features for PayPal.
✾ When we hear Om ॐ, may we remember MILIND as a major figure in our Rise ERG bringing constant joy to elevate our Pan Asian community.
✾ When we hear Om ॐ, may we remember MILIND as a voice against injustice, inequality, and hate that exists within our local community.
✾ When we hear Om ॐ, may we remember the friends and family of MILIND including his beloved wife and two children, ages 8 and 14.
✾ When we hear Om ॐ, may we remember MILIND yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
✾ When we hear Om ॐ, may we remember MILIND, our colleague, our friend, and our brother.
✾ When we hear Om ॐ, may we remember the heart and soul of MILIND.
✾ Om ॐ
Original LinkedIn Post
You can see Milind participate in the joint Hindu-Sikh at 2022 Dare to Overcome below.