Charusita Chakravarty, Professor of Chemistry at the IIT Delhi died last Tuesday, 29 March 2016.
Charu and I were married in 1992. In early 2013, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, the triple-negative subtype. She won many battles against this form of the cancer, but in the end, we lost the war.
She would have been fifty-two this coming May.
Maudlin lines from a 1970’s novel run through my mind… morphing along the way to: What can you say about a fifty-one-year-old woman who died? That she was smart, witty, beautiful. And brilliant. That she loved Eliot and Tagore. And Kabir. And life.
And that she was a scientist who cared passionately about her work, her teaching, her students, that last scientific paper, that seminar given at the last conference. That she brought intensity and genuineness to everything she did, from chemistry to cooking.
The last few years were a struggle against odds, but not always overshadowed by what we both knew. She found the time and the strength to do some of the many things she wanted. And made time for people, for friends.
The memorial service for her on Saturday included poetry which she truly enjoyed. Friends and family read out verses she loved or would have loved, and I know that she would have been surprised and pleased by some of the selections. Particularly these lines from Margaret Mead,
Remember me in your heart, your thoughts, your memories of the times we loved,
the times we cried, the times we fought, the times we laughed.
For if you always think of me, I will never be gone.