This earth lost a truly beautiful lotus flower last week, Shruti Mandayam. My very first friend at UCLA, my roommate, and my confidant in all the excitement of our first year living on our own. An avid mathematician, flutist, Bollywood lover, vegetarian, listener, and dessert fanatic, this gem of a woman will never ever lose a place in my heart.
|With mother and grandmother at Madras Beach.|
The Hindu funeral ceremony was one of the most intensely beautiful and mystical experiences I have ever attended. The beautiful saris, the carried pyre, the Vedic rites, the honey, the yogurt, the rice, the bananas, the chants, the bindis, the multitude of roses and ghee. I wish I could remember the Tamil phrases you taught me in our room Shruti. Everything was so loving, so perfect, so family-centered, so strong, so aromatic, and so holy. Your family was everything to you and they did everything for you on this wondrous day. I cherish the discussions we shared late at night about our faiths, you opened my mind and I thank you endlessly for it.
As her mother Geetha told me before one of the greatest hugs I have ever received, "Shruti was in a hurry to go. I try not to cry because she is going straight to God." May you be with the Lord in peace, Shruti. You blossomed into a beautiful woman, one of the sweetest I've ever known. I will miss you and think of you and that infectious laughter as long as I live.
I always wanted to take a trip to southern India and meet you there and all your family who live there.
Now when I do, I will think of all the things you must have loved. You are also adding meaning to the mathematical piece I'm having put on my arm. I love you Shruti.