We shared a circle of friends, but Kavi and I really knew each other exclusively in the context of a $20 bet and one unbelievable Frank Tyree grab. (The one and only monetary bet I will ever make!) The summers afterward, when he’d come home from school, we’d hang out here and there in groups.

Then, I went along with my dad on a business trip of his to New York. I’d never been, my dad was busy in conferences all day, and he’s not exactly the type to go out for drinks. So I reached out to the one person I knew in the city, and even though we arguably weren’t close, he responded in quintessential Kavi Shekhar Pandey fashion. He took me to Caroline’s for my first comedy show (Michael Che!!!), we got dinner? drinks? (the details are hazy), and ended the night at Dave and Buster’s in Times Square. We killllllllled the trivia game just to rack up tix, and ended up getting my bro an NYC souvenir pair of D&B’s boxers – size XXXL.

I visited Kavi a few other times in New York. Every time, without fail, at the end of the night he’d refuse to let me take the subway home, and instead would either accompany me all the way to my hotel, or put me in a prepaid cab. He always took impeccable care of his friends.

Lady Hulk

I am tempted to say what I admired most about Shekhar was his heart, but he would have hated that. Too cliche. Too obvious. A weak answer and a bold lie. No, it was definitely his cackling laughter. I would keep telling him jokes just so I could hear it again. It didn’t take much, though, for that angelic dissonance to hit my ears like an ice cream truck on a hot, summer day. What I admired most was how he was always quick to laugh.

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