Last month, people gathered at the West Orange Public Library to pay tribute in a memorial event to Nikhil Badlani, an 11-year-old township resident who died last summer in a car accident in South Orange.
The gathering on Sunday, April 22 was to inaugurate a new bookshelf dedicated to Nikhil, who was an avid reader, according to event organizers. Lining the shelf were new books provided by the Nikhil Badlani Memorial Book Fund, which was set up by his parents, Sunil and Sangeeta Badlani, to collect money for new library books.
Almost $3,000 has been raised through the fund for books, according to a press release from the library. Over 100 books had been bought as well.
During the event, Nikhil's younger brother Anay had the ceremonial role of slashing the ribbon for the new bookshelf, according to the library. Friends and family also paid tribute to Nikhil through speeches.
Parth Pandya, one of Nikhil's friends, also gave a speech, which is below, published verbatim:
The Adventures of Awesomeness
Mine is a tale of two Musketeers. It is a journey of danger and intrigue, inventions and glory, nations and weaponry.
It started, long ago at Peanutropolis (known by some as Peanut Shell Day Care). While the other babies and young lads were toying around with childish thoughts. We were reinventing TRANSPORTATION! No longer were scooters simple standing and pushing devices. “Nay,” we said! We shall sit on these and push forth beyond the limits of any known four years old’s potential. And though we failed … EPICALLY, on our quest for movement, we created an inseparable bond of trust and friendship.
From Peanutropolis, my compatriot and I took to the Sea … Camp. Once there, with our very hands, we created (out of paper, cotton and glue) entire civilizations and industries. No longer were we mere children … we were GODS!!! And it was good.
But living the good life alone was not enough. We set out to create impenetrable encampments throughout the land to keep out dangerous elements - such as our younger siblings - that would knowingly disrupt the peace and goodwill of others. We fashioned Taj Mahal-like structures out of comforters, bed-sheets, pillows and chairs. We created walls greater than the Great Wall of China. We spared no expense. And in the end … we created lasting monuments whose only weakness was mothers’ insistence for dismantlement.
As we grew, so did our thirst for danger and excitement. We set out on nighttime expeditions using the latest in infra-green technology – allowing us to see like cats in the night. Using our advanced intellects and skills, we saved the world many times over from those that would do it harm.
But life was not all work. We took trips together to Parsippany Lake to swim and just be kids. However even while in leisure mode, we could not contain our superior awesomeness. I remember fondly, while others were creating sand castles, we were constructing sand fortresses that allowed habitation by young children while also providing perfect camouflage from malicious elements.
As we furthered matured, we accompanied Nikhil’s parents and a host of kids into the jungles of South Mountain Reservation. Risking Lyme Disease and potentially rabid rodents we set out on missions with nothing more than our quick wits and painted trails.
Finally, when our bodies equaled our minds in agility and strength, we took up arms together. Comrades, we embarked on laser-guided tours in Livingston to battle enemy forces. The resistance was strong and nearly as cleaver, but in the end we prevailed.
I was hoping to have many more adventures with Nikhil. Tales will be told throughout the land of his bravery, intelligence, and character. I just wanted to share stories with you of his ... Pure Awesomeness!
Donations can be made to the Nikhil Badlani Memorial Book Fund at the West Orange Public Library by submitting the PDF document attached to this report.
(Editor's note: an earlier version of this report mistakenly said the books were provided by the Nikhil Badlani Foundation and not the Nikhil Badlani Memorial Book Fund as now correctly indicated.)