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Remembering Avanti

Day before yesterday, on the 8th of November 2008, Avanti Desai would have turned 21. Instead 15 days before her birthday, as she hurried home to celebrate her grandmother's birthday, Avanti met with a train accident at Jogeshwari station.

Just like that. Gone from our lives forever. Leaving behind a huge void and the world a lot more gloomier.

And when I got the call first thing in the morning, I couldn't believe it. I thought it was a cruel sadistic joke, but as the calls kept coming in, I realised it was true. Even at the cemetary,, it still hadn't sunk in that Avanti was no longer here. The worst moment though was watching her disappear into the crematorium, it was horrible and I couldn't believe we were leaving her there, and through the next couple of hours all I could think of was of her going up in smoke while we stood there in the bright sunshine.

It seemed incomprehensible at first, to think of Avanti as dead, to talk about her in the past tense, to get used to the idea that I wouldn't see her smile again or hear her laugh, to hear her obsess over Shah Rukh Khan and talk nonstop about her hair, never experience that typical Avanti sarcasm and wit. To not have random late night conversations on MSN Messenger with her again, or send her stupid smses.

Avanti was one of the most brilliant classmates I've ever had. Well-read, well-informed, her intelligence and knowledge of politics never failed to astound me. But what was best about Avanti was despite the fact that she was intelligent, unlike a lot of other people from class, she was never anal about it and was one of the most unaffected, unassuming people in class, who despite knowing so much was never snooty and always ready to have some fun.

And even though we honestly only became friends in third year, Avanti was someone I always held in highest regard and someone I was sure would do exceedingly well for herself. She, for me, was the one who would be the most famous of us all, the one I would say, 'I went to college with that girl.'

And now all of that is no more. Gone.

And while I feel so terrible, I can't even begin to imagine what her parents might be going through and for the rest of my life, the image of her bereft father at the funeral will stay with me. No parent should ever have to go through something like that.

My deepest regret however is that I spoke to her a couple of days before she passed away, and as she was traveling in the train and she couldn't hear me too clearly, I said I would call her back and then I didn't because I forgot. And that is something I will never be able to forgive myself for. Not calling her back.

RIP Avanti. You are loved and missed.


Homecooked said…
Hey Condolences. Its really sad when someone so young dies! may she rest in peace.
Perakath said…
Sorry for your loss :(
Mynie said…
*sigh* *tries wording something worthwhile* *fails* *gives up*
The word should be banal not anal.

As they say speak whatever you want when your near ones are alive for you will be alone when they are gone.

May her soul rest in peace.
Gentle Whispers said…
@ Ashutosh

Thank you for the sentiment.

And I did mean anal, they aren't banal in the least, some of them just had their nose in the air because they considered themselves intelligent. And even though she was, Avanti wasn't in your face about, she was complete unaware of it.
Gentle Whispers said…
@ Homecooked & Perakath:

Thank you so much guys, :)

@ Mynie:

*Hugs* There just won't be anyone quite like her ever again.
May her soul rest in peace!!
dunno why I suddenly rememberED Nestle and Adelaine! just the way u described it!!I seriously had the same feelings at their funeral!tc!
Anonymous said…
first time here and read this very sad post. Life is just too fragile. I've lost dear friends years ago and I miss them still. The pain lessens but never goes away. Its one of life's ploys i guess. Condolences.
Moo said…
@ Lyandra,

Sorry to hear that sweetie. I'm feeling terrible even reading your post; can't imagine what you must be going through. I think this is something I'm most afraid of...Losing someone I love. I wonder how people ever cope up with a huge loss like that. :'( May her soul rest in peace, and her parents be granted the strength to brave the rest of their lives with a smile.

@niruddh@ said…
I am Avanti's cousin. There are times when we still try to find something, something which can act like this last strand that still connects us to her.
I randomly google searched avanti about ten minutes back, ( its something that she always did and took great pleasure in telling everyone.)
And then I chanced upon your blog,I am happy to say that it was the same avanti we all knew, with her Shahrukh obssesing, hair loving, gossip girl thing which she had. :)
Roshnee said…
I was just going through some IV photos and there she was. With all of us. With me when we were waiting to go to the loo at the mayors office in calcutta- a picture i would have loved to laugh about.

But the fact is I do. I just cannot believe she isnt there. cant.coz there she is. with me. with can she not be there in reality.
two tuppence said…
Sad to know of the loss.. I searched for Avanti from a news item about Ashank Desai in Mid-Day. A budding life, a bright light, a good human being taken away, because we do not value human lives. If we did, given the daily statistics of accidents on the tracks in Mumbai, there would have been adequate safety measures already, preventing this incident..
Ersa said…
May she RiP
Anonymous said…
I dont even know her... Just came across a community in her name in a friend's profile... I lost a very very close friend too last year in a freak accident... He was a smart, hard-working, kind, fun person and just 25... The kind who would have won "Most likely to succeed" as well as "Mr. Congeniality" together... I had tears in my eyes as I read about Avanti... Goosebumps... I know there are no answers, but only "why" questions and regrets... for not having spoken one last time, for the fight u had 2 months back... May Avanti's soul rest in peace in her heavenly abode and may God give her family and friends strength... My prayers and heart goes out to you...
sucheta dalal said…
This is beautiful... Today, Avanti's school and college are holding memorial meetings for her. Like her cousin, I googled to find out more about a girl i never knew and saw your beautiful post.
Her father has asked me to speak at the memorial meeting at Hiranandani at 1 pm and knowing more about her helps. You can't ask a parent about a beautiful daughter he has lost right?
The memorial at Wilson college is in the morning and the one at Hiranandani is between 1 and 3.
If any of you have anything to share before that and knew Avanti and her dreams and aspirations, please to email me at

thank you for this!

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