A Letter From Shreya’s Friends
Though no words could ever embody all that our Shrey meant to us, these three simple words perhaps come close. She brought peace within her friends, within those who surrounded her. When Shrey was around, conflict, bickering, and high school drama didn’t stand a chance. She brought love for every single one of us, even when we probably didn’t deserve it. And she brought happiness. There is no question about that. She indeed brightened all of our lives and will continue to do so with the memories she has left each of us.
Although she only had a short time here, she’s left a never-ending impact on our lives. For the past two years she’d lived across the country from most of her high school friends, but she kept in close contact with daily phone calls, random text messages and constant instant messaging. Her close group of friends all went to school in the Midwest but when the idea to visit Shreya in Rhode Island was suggested none of us hesitated a minute. We all purchased tickets and six of Shreya’s closest friends flew out to Rhode Island. The option of all of us meeting in Madison instead, which was just a short drive for most of us, or to come to Minneapolis so that we could visit our families at the same time didn’t stand a chance next to the idea of an adventure out at Shreya and Jackie’s schools out east. We knew she would show us a great time. She truly added something irreplaceable to every moment we all spent together.
Perhaps Shreya was never more “in her element” than during Minnesota summers. Spending days on the lake and nights at outdoor concerts was the way Shreya probably would have chosen to spend everyday. Even if we had to borrow a friend’s fishing boat to get out on the lake or catch an hour long bus ride to get to the concert, she was always in if it meant having a good time. Concerts were one of Shreya’s favorite summer pastimes. She spent nearly a week at the 10,000 Lakes Festival where she claimed that “the breeze can blow all your troubles away.” If she wasn’t at a festival, she was attending one of the various concerts in Minneapolis. From the Basilica block party to Wednesday nights at the Caboose, she was always looking for the best music in town. Shreya loved Minnesota. She couldn’t pass the Minneapolis skyline without attempting to take a picture, even if it meant driving 35 miles per hour on Interstate 35W to get the perfect shot.
One of the things we miss most about Shrey is not only the way she constantly exuded happiness but also her desire to spread it to others. Whenever one of us was having a bad day, it would not be unusual to receive a card or call from Shrey. She would send us messages when we needed it the most, completely unexpected. When one of Shreya’s close friends was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she was the first one to visit her in the hospital with a handful of balloons and a card. Even in the toughest of situations, she somehow always knew to brighten our days.
It was clear to all of us that one of the most important parts of Shreya’s life was her family. She loved them more than anything. Whenever Shreya’s sister Nayha was coming into town, she would talk about how excited she was for days before her arrival. She was so proud of her big sister. When friends came to Shreya’s house, we would spend hours staying awake with her parents, just talking and sharing stories. She would call friends daily just to talk about what her parents had done that day or to explain how much she missed her Nanu (grandfather). Her love for her family was never-ending.
Shreya’s future was not clearly planned out but she definitely had a goal to work for the Peace Corps. She talked about starting the Peace Corps in India. During multiple visits there, Shreya was exposed to unthinkable poverty and became especially upset over the all the children she saw that were not attending school or clearly malnourished. The Peace Corps seemed like a tangible solution to the injustices that she wanted to change so much. Although her future was not set in stone, she had enough ambition to take her wherever she wanted to go.
While we always knew how much Shrey meant to each of us, the reaction of those around us to the news of her death showed us that we weren’t the only ones she touched in her 19 years. On the day of her funeral, students from her graduating class flew from all over the country to attend her service. They came from California, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Colorado, just to name a few. Innumerable tears have been shed since November 1, 2007, mourning her death, celebrating her life. Not a day passes by that we do not think about the times that we had with our Shrey.
We love you, we miss you, and we’ll never forget.