Ahsan M. Syed, who struggled against COPD for over a year, succumbed to the disease at 5:15 a.m. on Sunday, April 2. Ahsan is survived by his wife, Farkhunda;
as well as two brothers, Tahseen and Shaukat; 9 children: Irfan, Farhana, Farzana, Rizwana, Amina, Salman, Faizan, Zeeshan, and Simmi; and 9 grandchildren: Sophia, Eli, Zak, Ahmed, Sufyan, Mahrosh, Zeenath, Alfia, and Zafeer. He was predeceased by one brother, Rafath, and two sons, Usman and Imran.
Ahsan was born and raised in Hyderabad, India. In 1963, he earned a Bachelors of Science degree, majoring in chemistry, from University College of Science, Saifabad (affiliated with Osmania University) in Hyderabad. He considered traveling to Germany to pursue a Masters of Science in chemistry, but family obligations kept him closer to home. So soon after graduation, he took competitive exams – in a field completely different from chemistry – and qualified for a career in the Indian Defense Accounts Service (IDAS), from which he would retire 41 years later in 2005.
Ahsan’s work with IDAS would take him all over India, but his first stop was Pune, where he and Farkhunda married in 1969. Later, he returned to Hyderabad for a number of years, then spent three years in the northeastern Indian city of Shillong. Later, he lived for two years in the northern (snowy) region of Kashmir before returning to Pune for the rest of his career.
Over the course of his life, Ahsan wore many hats with respect to his work, his hobbies, and his home life. A perfectionist, he excelled at many activities, from science and accounts, to painting, cooking, and, later, computer programming. He served as an imam for many years, and taught his children, grandchildren, other family members, and friends about Islam, and about the Arabic language. Whoever coined the expression about old dogs and new tricks never met Ahsan, who was learning new skills well after his retirement.
His struggle with COPD was progressive, but his spirit never flagged. A realist who recognized that Allah might call him any time, he never used that as an excuse to give up or to refuse to get the most out of life. Most of all, he loved his family and took great pride in the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren.
Ahsan will be missed but never forgotten.