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Diverse lives, one tragic link

A popular teacher, a much-admired boss, an 'awesome' mother and more. . . . In coming days, The Times will continue to profile the victims of the crash.

September 14, 2008|Gale Holland

He aimed to be a doctor

Atul Vyas was on the Metrolink train on his way home to Simi Valley from Claremont McKenna College, where he was preparing for a career as a medical doctor. Only 20, he was interviewing for a graduate program next year at MIT and Harvard that combined science and math.

"He was a thoroughly brilliant kid, flying high," said his father, Vijay Vyas, an engineer. "Ask his professors."

Atul and his brother, who graduated from Claremont McKenna last year, took the train home every two or three weeks to enjoy the comforts of family. They both loved the convenience.

As he passed through downtown Los Angeles, Atul called his mother to let her know when to pick him up in Simi Valley, his father said. "When he didn't arrive, she called me, frantic. It's ridiculous. He's still a baby."

Atul enjoyed sports, including basketball, and "all kinds of weird dancing. You know these kids, they're into weird things," his father said. Though of Indian descent, Atul was inducted into a Latino club at school because "they loved him so much. He was a very popular kid."

The brother, working in London as a investment banker, had not yet learned of Atul's death, his father said.

"This is beyond absurd," he said. "They say only the good die young, and it's absurdly true."

-- Gale Holland

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