Jayadev Suryadevara, President, USCA
Atul Karecha also lovingly called as Atul Bhai by most of us, passed away on 16th January, 2018. His loss left carrom lovers in North America in shock and sorrow. He made a tremendous impact on the carrom fraternity across United States and Canada.
Most of us know him through carrom. I used to call him ‘Laser Man’, not only for his impeccable ability to focus and concentrate on the board but also on his unwavering, uncompromising attitude to produce quality in whatever he does. These qualities in him were very apparent while executing various tasks like organizing tournaments, hosting carrom guests at his home, carrom equipment design like the ‘lamp holder’, match format design and so forth. I remember the stainless-steel DVD stand, toilet tissue holder installed at his home that were essentially a no-nonsense, top to bottom utility based designs, at the same time simple & elegant, those were his own brain Childs.
On top of these un-pierciable qualities of focus, design & quality, he was a ruthlessly honest man. During US Open 2015 singles, I faced the bluntness of his ruthless honesty when he was upset for missing a straight coin and thereby giving away the match. He missed the coin because the surface of the newly designed green board was a little bent, a manufacturing defect. With frustration, he said to me “what good is this new green design if a player can’t even play”. Even though momentarily I felt it as rude, I did wake up to that honest call by Atul and later had the manufacturer agree to increase the thickness of the plank so as to further minimize the chance of having bent surfaces in future deliveries. Again, during US Open 2016 he pointed out a gap in our sponsor’s league format as soon as it was published, even though he wasn’t attending that tournament. His keenness, made us modify the format to include a minimum number of North American players entering into the sponsors league.
He more than anyone I know at USCA understood the importance of equipment, format, quality for the development of carrom technique. He was instrumental and central in supporting us moving from potato starch to boric powder. I still have some long emails he had written in this regard. As a player, he is one that never want to lose. Even if he does, he is not ready to accept quietly, instead he works harder and comes back to the next tournament with aggression & force to reverse his earlier defeats. Again, I did face his reverse onslaught when I lost 0 to 25 to Autl Bhai in one of the tournaments conducted at TV Asia in retaliation for an earlier loss. During that season, he had upped his standard so dramatically appearing to be invincible most of the time. Since then he won so many trophies as we all know, of course including in doubles. I had to smile about doubles because, most feared partnering with him on the board because of his intense nature as well as disregard for coin selection. But he had shown his ‘Laser Accuracy’ can turn ‘coin selection criteria’ into another old tradition in the execution of carrom skills. There is no count on great memories he had left for all of us as carrom lovers, HE WILL BE A PART OF US FOREVER.
I know him mostly through carrom. He was a businessman by profession and was the founder of Accu Machining Center Inc. in Pennsylvania. But on the personal side, how much ever I knew him, he was extremely mannerly and gentle during encounters outside of carrom. He was a Hindi music lover including gazals.
Atul Karecha was born on Nov, 8th 1946. He is survived by his wife Hansa, son and a daughter.
Jayadev Suryadevara, President, USCA