One night while Shekhar was in New Jersey, we decided to go out to a few college bars. As the night progressed, I got a text from my best friend saying she was at our apartment when her ex decided to unexpectedly stop by. Naturally, she asked for backup and I was quick to respond. When I informed Shake of the situation, he was the first to get on board to help me fight off my friends needy ex! With the addition of NightWingDuck and rishilantern, the goon squad was ready to roll out! In the car, Shake was rallying the troops, ready to take down this no-good-dead-beat fool who was harassing a girl he barely even knew! Naturally, with a few drinks in them, they were more hyped than they needed to be but who was I to stop them. When we got to the apartment, I had my crew behind me, and upon seeing Shekhar’s very intimidating physique, the unexpecting ex made his exit. No sooner had he left the apartment was Shekhar sitting on the couch, giggling with rishilantern and NightWingDuck about god knows what. It’s a classic example of Shekhar’s selfless kindness and constant silliness. He was the kindest thug I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.
[Edit: Kavi is the writer!! Not me! This short story will never be as good as something he would’ve written. <3] I met his sister Meha freshman year of college, and we became closer and closer friends as the years in school went on. Eventually, Kavi joined U of M too. I assumed their sibling relationship would be like my family’s where you hide from each other if you accidentally showed up to the same party (you can’t be seen partying with your *younger_*sibling, right??), but no. They strangely enjoyed hanging out together A LOT. I was confused at first, but quickly realized that as they are two of the most amazing, outgoing, intelligent, and welcoming people on this planet, it made sense that they should have an overlapping circle of friends, and feed off each other’s social aptitude.
So, the parties came and went, graduation came and went, and they eventually both ended up in NYC – living together. (Again, WHAT SIBLINGS ARE SO CLOSE THAT THEY CHOOSE TO LIVE TOGETHER?? Love it, ya little weirdos.) Meha meets the tall, dark and handsome love of her life [enter Hardeep], and they get married surrounded by friends and of course family. It is there at the wedding, I believe, that Meha said “ok bro, Hardeep’s in, you’re out. I’ll give you 2 weeks to move your stuff…,” Tough love, Meha; tough love.
Kavi, heart-broken and confused, then turned to me, who had been lazily and unsuccessfully apartment searching in NYC for literally over a year, asked if I wanted to be the third wheel to a Kavi-David Riva bromance. I was honored, and of course accepted. Days went on, movie script pages were written, and then, Kavi met the love of his life. [Enter Kelly].
My first impression on Kelly was epic, and I’m sure it’s one of the reason we are still friends now. [Insert flashback; details I’ll only provide only in person.] Kelly is one of the smartest, prettiest, and tallest people ever. EVER. Apart from benefiting from her amazing personality, there were other perks to having Kelly around. Every time Kelly would visit, an Amazon box would appear at our apartment.
Kavi: “Oh Kelly mentioned she likes her coffee from a French press,” [French press appears 3-5 business days later.] Kavi: “Kelly has a lot of studying to do, and our kitchen chairs are too uncomfortable for her.” [New kitchen chair appears 3-5 business days later.] Kavi: “I need to test out this breakfast dish to make for Kelly when she visits; let me know what you think.” [Kristie, mumbling through mouth full: “dfelishious”]
Can’t lie, I loved living in the wake of a Kelly-visit!! But that’s just the kind of guy Kavi is. He is too generous to put into words, always thinking about everyone around him. He is inspirational even still, for all of us to introduce a “healthy amount of YOLO” into our lives, just like he did 🙂
I visited New York again a couple of summers later, this time with both of my parents. Kavi brought me to an Indian place for lunch on Murray Hill (he informed me it’s actually Curry Hill), and then we went to peruse Strand Book Store. I was holding a pile of books that I wanted to buy when I got a phone call from an unknown number. The news: you’re accepted to medical school. I was floored.
(Slightly pertinent background here: I had applied to medical school because it was ~the plan~ and my father’s dream for me, but I didn’t think it was the career I wanted, and after not hearing back from schools for so long, I assumed I conveniently didn’t get in)
And there was Kavi. After making sure nothing tragic had happened, he calmed me down and helped me think rationally. We discussed options, the gravity of the decision, and ultimately how to tell my parents that I wasn’t going to accept the offer. This decision was one of those forks in the road of life, and Kavi helped me navigate through it.
On the way out of Strand, I had to pare down my book selections. I put back a copy of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children – “Oh of course the brown man’s the first to go.”
For my entire life, I’ve always known him as Kavi. But when I met him again in NYC after 6 years, he told me that he was trying to get people to call him “Shekhar” again. At which point, I said “but on facebook what’s your name?” and of course, it has and always will be “Kavi.” So, his plan failed, and I’ll always know him as my big brother, Kavi Shekhar Pandey.
ABSOLUTELY MAGNIFICENT! Could never tell if he was giddy or mischievous or some really intriguing combination of both. … Actually, definitely usually both.
He had the most contagious, full hearted, throw-your-head-back laugh that you couldn’t help but laugh along with! Majestic doesn’t even begin to cover it.
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.
Kavi may be the single most generous, warm, and welcoming person I’ve ever met. He had such a huge presence and made the people around him feel truly loved — the giggle helps but it’s so much more than that 🙂
By far one of my most favorite memories is from Hindi class. We would all go through the Hindi alphabet…A se Aam, etc and when we got to “Na” – we would say “Na se NUL” and then run to the nearest bathroom and turn on the faucet (NUL=faucet). We thought it was the coolest thing ever and we would giggle like two year olds – naturally Shekhar’s giggle was the loudest and most infectious. Then we would return to the dining table to continue the alphabet.
I don’t know if I would call it a giggle really, but I swear he had a laugh that was wider than his wing span. It’s contagious like his sense of humor.
One night at ShinAnkleShoe’s house, I told him his new grey hairs made him look distinguished – he startled me by how suddenly and fully he BURST into laughter. And then we kept laughing about how that’s the only time “distinguished” is ever used as an adjective. (I’ve since tried sharing that sentiment with others; it’s never gone over quite the same.)
After Kavi accepted his offer from Accenture, we went out to Charley’s to celebrate at the end of one of our Daily nightsides. First Kavi insisted on buying me a fishbowl, arguing that he had to pay because he was an employed consultant now. Then he bought us some more drinks. And some food. And then we started chatting with some of the people around us at the bar, and Kavi insisted on buying drinks for them, too, so they could celebrate with us. And then some more people. And I think at one point we ran into Jake Smilovitz and Kavi bought him a drink, too. I think by the end of the night, half of Charley’s was with us celebrating employment and celebrating life. If I remember correctly, when the bill came it was near $150, which, if you’re familiar with Ann Arbor bar life circa 2012 (or was it late 2011?) is no small feat. And we thought it was the funniest thing, because we walked in this bar just two friends having a quick celebratory drink, and it somehow turned into a community party. But that’s what Kavi did.
My favorite story of Kavi happened in Mrs. Antilla’s English class. We were told to consider the ethical paradox described in the classic thought experiment called “The Trolley Problem.”
The story is you happen upon a train track to which five people have been tied down to. A train is coming and will certainly kill all five people. There is no time to attempt to untie them. However, you are standing by a switch – a switch that will change the path of the train onto another track avoiding the five people who would otherwise die. The catch is that on the other track there is one person who is tied down.
Mrs. Antilla gravely looked around the room and asked, “So… is the correct decision to pull the switch, killing the one person who otherwise would have lived were it not for your intervention? Or should you leave yourself out of the equation entirely, allowing the tragedy to unfold as it would have had you not been around at all, ending with the death of five innocent people?”
“Kavi, what do you think?”
Kavi, nonplussed by the moral gravity of this tragic scenario leaned back on his chair, shrugged his shoulders and curtly responded, “Eh. Depends if they’re white.”
This man. This man, when I was starving actor status and was a lead in a Sundance Film Festival movie, but couldn’t afford to fly from London where I was studying to attend the festival. This man paid for a hotel for the two of us, and even helped with other expenses, and we had the grandest most amazing time together. But I still took it for granted. Only in retrospect do I realize how unique he was, that I had a BROTHER who was more excited than ME about something I had done. More excited about my accomplishments than myself. And he enabled me to go, and we partied and watched films and got into mischief, and he was by my side through all the firsts for a young actor. My biggest fan, a partner in crime.
Don’t get me wrong though. He had ulterior motives. A huge Indiana Jones and Star Wars fan, he was obsessed with Harrison Ford. Well, Harrison Ford’s daughter Georgia was in my film. And he was dying to meet her. And she did not disappoint! After an amazing, weekend, on our last night, we all partied together and took an Uber back to the hotel. And I’ve never seen someone so happy, because lovely Georgia gave Shekhar a kiss on the cheek goodnight, and the man was on Cloud 9.
He was a budding writer and we hoped his films would take us back to Sundance someday. Hopefully this scholarship will pass that, and other dreams, down to someone else.
Once, Scuttlebutt, Kavi, and I were walking out of Amir’s on State Street during our nightside. Kavi held a towering cup of yogurt with every topping imaginable (mostly cookies and chocolate). Mid-step, we heard a piercing scream. A figure dressed in black shoved past us, sprinting down the street. We turned around, confused. A young boy stood in shock in the middle of the sidewalk. “That guy stole my backpack!”
Without asking questions, Kavi took off, dropping his yogurt on the ground. He sprinted after the culprit holding the backpack, gaining on him. I had never seen him move so quickly. The thief and Kavi rounded the corner of East Liberty, and the thief turned around, panicked, and threw the backpack at Kavi’s feet and sped away. It was incredible.
Kavi scooped up the backpack, and handed it back to the trembling freshmen to whom it belonged, waving off any thanks. Every person on State Street who had witnessed the event had stopped in his or her tracks and applauded. Cars began honking in celebration at the intersection. Kavi walked back to us as if nothing had happened. “I’m gonna go get another fro-yo. You guys want anything?”
Scuttlebutt and I looked at him, and then at each other, speechless. We called him the Dark Knight for the rest of the evening, telling the entire newsroom the story as soon as we got back. It was epic.
When friends I knew, new friends, people that I had begun to love and cherish would hear me speak about Kavi, they’d usually quite quickly realize this is someone whom they’d learn a great much about before ever meeting him. “You don’t have to preface the story with “my friend, Kavi…. we know who he is. We practically know him from all the things you’ve told us” they’d proclaim. It’s true. I’d gush about him. I’d gush and I’d gush. But those moments when I got to watch people meet Kavi for the first time were some of the most delightful. Because no matter how much I hyped the man, he always blew people away. The way Kavi made others feel when around him is a feat unto itself. I recall dearly Kavi and Kevin Niemela meeting for the first time and upon seeing their friendship blossom I was filled with such adoration. Kavi spread love and joy so readily.
My girlfriends through the years have been seriously worried and insecure because of the level of love I spoke about Kavi Pandey. They were afraid, they said, that I would never love them like I loved him. I was without words of comfort in these moments, moments that often led to divisions and eventual breakups. The truth is they have always been right. He is a love supreme.
Well, I’m crying now. Love you all.
The one memorable moment that I still randomly think about (pretty much every other month) is when Mission Impossible 2 came out in theaters. And we found a sand pit – which, if my memory serves me correctly, Houghton is not known to have many – and tried to scoop a bb gun with our foot. (https://youtu.be/9Lu4jwOo3no). I just remember the cyclical thoughts of “this is awesome” and “we’re children but still way too old for this” going back and forth through my mind. And I know Kavi thought the same. Except we werent synchronized, so when one of us felt its futility the other kept insisting we continue. We did that for hours. Literally. And I’m pretty sure he brought his IMF briefcase to add to our emotional intensity.
IMF = Impossible Mission Force. Although my parents thought it meant international monetary fund and asked why I wasn’t as much of a genius as Kavi. In fourth grade. During our halloween days.
March 11, 2016, at a bar in Brooklyn celebrating David’s birthday (which Kavi and I originally tried to secretly plan for a day David was busy, whoops). Kavi drank a beer a complete stranger left behind, brought cupcakes that he shared with everyone at the bar, and tried to get an Uber for two of my friends when they missed their bus (but his phone had no service, and he was devestated that he couldn’t help). He also gave the barback and bartender his famous mega-tip. As everyone left, Kavi ended the night sitting quietly with his hands near his face, palms apart and fingertips together; a way to feel his heartbeat and calm down, something that he learned from his grandfather. It was all of the best of Kavi on our last night out together.
He was a classic man. The kind of man who preferred to lay on the floor than lounge on a couch.
I never felt anxious around Kavi. While some might advise to exercise caution, Kavi would encourage you to go full steam ahead. He was kind, fun to be around, and generous with drinks. I always remember him grinning. His grin was welcoming and could fill a room.
My clearest memory of us spending time together was a crisp Saturday during my first autumn in New York. We met up for some time and walked around Alphabet City and the East Village, talking (and disagreeing) about movies and comedy. He told me about a comedy club near his place where he saw a number of good shows, and we made plans to go together. I helped him pick out a leather jacket for him at a nearby resale store—I remember it was a worn, soft brown, and I caught him checking himself out in the mirror with a tough-guy face.
All the little details of our time together have faded away (I think I’m starting to feel the wear-and-tear of an aging brain nowadays) but despite that, I can clearly remember feeling an ease, a warmth, when spending time talking to Kavi Shekhar. In the end, I don’t remember if he bought that jacket, or which comedians or movies we argued about, but that doesn’t seem to matter. Over the years, we had developed a friendship that transcended those things—one built over years of family gatherings, wild parties, and, mostly, the times in between—the quiet moments of friendship that sustain you for a lifetime, when you can stand next to each other waiting for the M15 bus without saying much, not knowing when you’ll see each other again exactly. Those are the moments in which you can truly just exist, with all of the familiarity of your past but none of the weight of it, and understand something about each other’s hearts. That was something that felt effortless with Kavi, and I’ll miss it dearly.
I remember one time after a Band Concert or something we were having food and [name redacted] was talking trash. Well Kavi called him out, [name redacted] freaked out and tried to tackle/restrain him. Kavi straight up Rafiki (from the Lion King of course) punched [name redacted] in the nose to get him off. If only “Let’s go to central park” had been there, he would have been so proud.
Always had a smile on his face, brought a great energy and warmth.
Growing up, even though I was “Meha’s friend,” I always seemed to have more similar tastes (in movies and such) to Kavi. Two things that stick out in my memory: 1) when we were all still in elementary school he tried to stump me on a BrainQuest or similar game with a question he was convinced I’d get wrong–I don’t remember the question but the answer was The Enterprise (from Star Trek) and he was baffled at my ability to get it right; 2) in middle school (we must have been in 8th grade and he in 6th), we were both really excited about the movie “Undercover Brother.” Our excitement became a sort of competition, and we ended up seeing the movie at the same time, me/Meha and our friends, and Kavi and his friends. We were the only people in the theater, and naturally pretty raucous…we almost got kicked out! (Who would kick out a bunch of sweet middle schoolers?!)
In our adult life, I had brunch with Kavi (and Jacki Anderson!) while visiting Ann Arbor. It was at this brunch that Kavi first realized how much we had in common. I ordered first, and he totally copied me, down to the chocolate milk! He almost chickened out of his order, because it was too weird…and apparently debated whether he could at least make the sacrifice and opt for regular milk, but who can do that? ❤
Shekhar, Arnav and I would sit around and shoot ideas back and forth about what he should write his first legit screenplay about. We had a ridiculous idea about drones far before we knew they’d be all over the place. We never really went any further with it and I didn’t expect to hear anything else on the topic. Nearly two years later I saw an innocuous email from him and realized it was the completed screenplay. It was awesome.
Some of my favorite memories would probably be from the birthday parties when we were in elementary/middle school. All night video gaming, being crazy, and being told to quiet down by Kavi’s parents. Those were great times.
The last time I saw Kavi was in Chicago. He texted me, “I need a drink” with a baby bottle emoticon. We went out on a weeknight to the Gold Star and The Owl. He bought High Life and whiskey and we talked about work and love lives and making movies. We dreamed about working together on something and I pitched my documentary ideas to him, which I think he was tickled to hear about. Kavi was excited to talk about movies, but he was even more excited to tell me about his girlfriend and how they met. He talked hopefully about the future and about family. He even encouraged me to try harder at my own romantic life. Kavi and I have spent several late nights out drinking, but this was not one of them. He had to work early and I had school the next day, so we called it quits at about 10pm. The last text messages he sent me were hearts and XO’s. The conversation could be described as the following: Nostalgic, romantic, hopeful, profane, salacious, drunken and even gossipy. Seeing him one last time was a great gift, and I fill forever cherish the time we spent together.
I remember his laugh being like a reverse wind up toy. Gets more intense before it abruptly ends.
Great dude to get to know. Had fun hanging with him at Meha’s place in Philly and their joint sibling pad in New York. Shekhar seemed to have a laid back spirit – generous, helpful, charismatic. I remember joking around when we helped Meha move one time in Philly. And another time when rishilantern, Shekhar and I had a deep conversation about politics and life in New York.
My favorite thing actually was when he read something he liked, he would either throw down the paper in mock protest and walk away in dramatic silence, or he would yell a loud “God DAMN!” It was enough to make anyone feel incredibly confident. Kavi knew how to flatter his friends.
Kavi always seemed on-the-go, and sometimes hard-to-reach, but that was part of the energetic whirl he could catch you up in—like he was always running off to the next great thing, and would take you with him if he could. Yet, you always felt connected to him, like you were both in on the same inside joke—and that he would get back to you when he had a moment free.
His giggle could vibrate Dr. Manhattan’s molecules apart. It could satiate Galactus’ voracious appetite. It could stop the bullets that killed Martha and Thomas Wayne. That’s how majestic.
Words are insufficient, but if I had to, I’d liken his laugh to a band of jolly cherubs.
If Kavi was giggling, the room couldn’t help but beam with love around him.
He was so giving all the time. Whenever he visited us he would always try to give us money for dinner. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. He would actually hide money around our house since we wouldn’t take it. A few days after he visited we would be cleaning out a cabinet and find a 20 or something.
This isn’t a story, but an observation. I always heard about Kavi from Meha. Whether it was his birthday, something he was doing on campus, sharing that red car with him, etc., Meha always talked about her “bro”. In India, Kavi always talked about Meha. Meha would want this, Meha did this, I knew Meha would always end up with a tall Punjabi, Meha loves this music, etc. It was really admirable how much they knew about one another and cared for one another. Their relationship often inspires me to be a better sister. I felt so lucky to meet Meha. And then I felt so lucky to meet Kavi. And I definitely was lucky to see the Meha/Kavi sibling relationship. (I know the focus is on Kavi, but I also have to say that I am so grateful that I was able to meet Hardeep, Ravi and Aparna too. I am a BIG fan of the Pandey/Chiraya clan.)
We went to see Guardians of the Galaxy and I had very little knowledge of what the movie was about. When I got to the theater Kavi and White Paper were holding action figures of the movie characters and Kavi was speaking in different accents of his character. He was totally into it and got every one around him hyped to his point. Idk how to explain the joy and love of life he exuded in those moments.
Seriously, though, Kavi was an amazing friend. He was once really there for me during a time that he didn’t need to be, but he was. He was a good listener and offered thoughtful advice. Anyone who was friends with him was lucky to have had his friendship. He was generous. He was a good listener. He was an excellent storyteller.
Kavi was the first person I met before attending Michigan for undergrad. We met the summer before starting school while I was visiting family in Houghton where our serendipitous friendship unfolded (Kavi was actually forced to hang out with me by both our moms). He brought me to his friends house and introduced me to guitar hero and took me to the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight. He was outgoing and kind and made me feel far less terrified to move to a state where I knew very few people. Upon arrival to Ann Arbor I started to rely on his crazy genius brain to help me survive learning C++ in engineering 101 and he graciously kept me afloat. He met my gaggle of brown girls (AKA my roommates and bffs) and instantly developed friendships with all of them individually. He could become close to anyone and I sincerely admire that about him. My roommates and I especially loved keeping tabs on Kavi’s love life-primarily because it was farrrrrrr more entertaining than any of ours. When I say entertaining I really mean-extreme? sincere? overthetopcrazy? When he loved someone he reallllly loved them. There really was no in between. Drama always ensued and there were many many many giggles. He blushed like a newborn baby and it was glorious. LOVE YOU FOREVER
The first time I ever saw Kavi was when he came to orientation for Accenture. He was about an hour late due to “traffic” and freaking out. He could not get over being late, but I’m glad he was because It was the icebreaker that connected our group of analysts that started together. By the end of orientation in St. Charles/Chicago, which was 4 weeks later, Kavi was one of my closest friends. We loved comedy, movies, our siblings, and drinking. I was his wing woman, he was my protector. He made me feel safe and always looked out for me.
He once rolled head-first out of my van’s passenger door in drunken pursuit of a girl. His pursuit was not fruitful.
Back in 2011, when the last Blockbuster stores were closing, Kavi and I took a little field trip off campus to buy title cards — you know those fake DVD covers they had for each movie? They were selling them at something like 5 for $1. We picked up some favorites (LOST, 30 Rock, The Social Network) and then started collecting the most random, stupid, off-brand movie titles we could find. I distinctly remember a documentary *about* ‘Twilight’ and ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua.’ After we were done working that night, we drove to North Campus to leave one of these covers at the dorm of Short Round. We got his address from the Umich Directory (thanks, go blue!) and waited for someone to let us into freaking Baits II, slid a cover (‘The Wicker Man,’ starring Nicholas Cage) under the door and then bolted for our lives. We kept sending and slipping covers to Short Round for years, and I started mailing them to Kavi after he graduated, even slipped one into his couch once. The good ones are still on display in my apartment and I think of him whenever I see them.
It was a giggle which was always accompanied by a shooting star. Was something only the great magi could describe in scripture.
For years I believed that feeding Kavi cake on his birthday was an Indian tradition. I realized this mistake when I tried to feed another Indian person on his birthday, only to receive odd glances from everyone involved. When I told Kavi about the incident he just laughed and said, “it’s not an Indian thing, it’s just me!”
I’ll never forget all those wonderful birthday moments!
Kavi once sat me down on a bench and told me that I was sitting in the exact spot that Clive Owen had sat a week earlier. He then took me on a 45 minute tour of U of M’s campus to retrace the steps of Clive Owen the previous week. …The steps that Kavi could only know because he had casually stalked Clive Owen for an afternoon. … Or an entire day? The details of the stalking were hard to get out of him. There was a lot of giggling.
I was invited to join the “Houghton’s Heroes” fantasy football league in the summer of 2011. Before Kavi would let me join the league he made me pass a football trivia exam he had prepared to ensure I liked football enough to take it seriously over beers at the KBC. It was easily the most I’ve ever had on the line during an exam, but with tremendous courage I somehow overcame the odds and passed, gaining acceptance to the league and impressing the fantasy football behemoth along the way.
So yeah, that middle school dance when every boy was standing in a circle obviously avoiding my gaze, Kavi was so kind as to entertain my request to dance. He was the first boy I ever danced with. Every time I hear “Amazed” by Lonestar, I always think of him. That probably makes him cringe that some awful 90’s song is what consistently prompts a clear memory of his 7th grade self. His exemplary character started young and never waned. I have so many fond memories but this is probably one of my favorite (and his least), and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It was early in my grad school days that I started hanging out with him to share what little programming methodologies I knew. It was the summer of 2004, I think. He’d show up on time, do things very well (and if he made a mistake — like, misspelled a word, he’d erase the whole word and re-type it correctly every time), and on days he couldn’t make it, he’d send me a note ahead of time.
If not for those interactions (specifically, when we writing some code for computing square root of a number), it’d have taken a lot longer for me realize that including <math.h> in a C program by itself didn’t provide necessary mathematical functions – the compilation needed a -lm flag.
And when I moved on to New Jersey after I graduated, I had chance to watch a Yankees-Red Sox baseball game with him and dad in the Old Yankee Stadium. We went into the city early and walked around – he showed me the Seinfeld coffee shop. And when I moved back to the Yoop, he and his cousin once came over to watch Giants-Saints game on TV, and ate Maggi noodles! Giants didn’t do very well (it was the season Saints won the Super Bowl) and he wasn’t too happy that day. He LOVED New York and the Giants and Yankees. And never once he mentioned the fact that his Giants had ended my Patriots’ run for perfection in 2007 🙂
It was a particularly raging Kanye-themed house party in Ann Arbor. One of our friends — identities hidden to protect the innocent — had brought a girl none of us knew that well and, when we weren’t looking, they commandeered the couch by the dance floor and started making out. And kept going. And going. “I’ve got an idea,” Kavi said. He went into the kitchen and raided a bag of microwave popcorn from the pantry, heated it up, then brought the bag next to the happy couple and had me take pictures of him munching on popcorn, watching the show, with this giant, crazy grin on his face. They smelled the deliciousness and tore away from each other long enough to see what we were doing. Very quickly the party became a massive popcorn fight. We were still finding kernels days later.
When I joined the Michigan Daily, I was the third Indian person on the Arts staff. Kavi immediately took me under his wing, offering career advice and a never-ending list of TV and movie recommendations. He suggested I apply for editorship and with his help, I got the position. For one night a week, we spent our entire evening working at the Daily, and we dubbed it The Dark Night.
Dark Nights often began with chai from the cafe up the street and included dinner at Raja Rani, which Kavi loved because they had Peshwari naan and Kingfisher beer, (I make a point to always order it now if it’s on the menu). Whenever I needed edits, I went to Kavi, to his favorite corner of the newsroom where we’d talk about TV and campus life and dumb inside jokes while he occasionally underlined some sentences of my articles. We’d send each other unfinished articles a lot of the time as a sounding board (he hated if anything was “good” or “great” — it had to be “face-melting”), and blasted Bollywood music for hours (sorry, Scuttlebutt).
Also, Kavi devised a system of ‘Brown Points,’ presumably to eventually crown one of us the Daily’s most loud and proud Indian employee. The points system was definitely rigged in his favor, but it brought out a hilarious competitive streak in us, like when he brought Frooti in on a Tuesday night.
Years later, I still hear songs or references that I can trace back to the Dark Nights. I basically work at the Daily for grown-ups now, and it would have been impossible without Kavi’s guidance, friendship, and humor.
His giggle was the stuff of unicorns and fairy dust. Except. Somehow. Better?!
Gentle giant with the widest smile and biggest heart.
I remember going over to his house as a kid after school and the first thing we would do is go into his pantry. It was a WALK-IN pantry that had all the snacks and goodies you could imagine. Our usual snacks of choice? Some days it was Oreos and milk. Other days, it was Fruit by the Foot and Doritos. Once we felt re-energized by our snacks, we would go have fun. Some days, it was the Super Nintendo and Donkey Kong. As we got older we would go down the hall to the computer room and play Where in the World is Carmen San Diego or Jump Start 4th grade.
As we got older we made new friends and our friend group increased in size and everything we did, we did as a group. Sleepovers, game nights, and movie nights were common within our group of friends. Once I moved into my new house behind Shopko in middle school, I remember inviting Kavi and all my friends over for sleepovers and game nights all the time.
But, despite all the great memories, my fondest memories of Kavi will always be when we were young kids; when we were in kindergarten and elementary school, playing Donkey Kong, wrestling in the living room, and eating Oreos with milk. Because those are the memories of Kavi that I share with no one else and those experiences are unique to only him and I.
Kavi and I grew up eventually, as we all do. We went to high school, graduated college, and met countless of friends and peers along the way.
But there was once a time, in the very beginning, when it was just him and I. And it is that time that I will always cherish the most.
He wholeheartedly filled up the room!
Kavi was the DJ for Sangeet so I sent him our mix. Not knowing if he would be really excited/confused about it, I gave him a description of why I picked each song and I reminded him a few too many times that this was a surprise and to be sure not to tell Meha ANYTHING. He didn’t respond immediately, but when he did, his email just said– “What do you think I am? A NARC?!” It made me laugh, and taught me to chill out a little.
But just a little… Never having gone to a Sangeet, I figured that anyone who danced practiced the dance months in advance. So, naturally, I had our India crew practicing the routine on the long bus rides from city to city. It was quite a sight when the bus with “TOURIST” on the front drove by and the American passengers were all busting out some Bollywood moves. When we got to Chandigarh, I was flattered when Kavi asked me to be in the brothers dance. And then I learned that Kavi was still figuring out his choreography and I needed to make up my own for my part. And, because he was running so much of the coordination of the wedding, we practiced the routine together ONE TIME! The only reason I somehow was okay with this is because of Kavi. He said it was fine, and I believed him even though I was way out of my comfort zone.
He was really the best. The most sincere human I met at the University of Michigan who I could pick up with no matter how much time had passed between meetings. We giggled a lot together and I think of him often.
Outta this world!
I didn’t know Kavi for very long, but what I can say is that no matter the person, the place, the situation, he always was welcoming, friendly and in a good mood. There was never a dull moment and you always went away with a lasting impression of him that everyone agrees is the best among anyone.
He smiled a lot especially during band.
His laugh was as contagious as chickenpox.
So this was when Shekhar bahai came to visit us in our old home, which was a flat in Ancaster way, he must have been 15-16 at the time. He was kind enough to lend me his Gameboy to play his spider man game on. Me being me, I somehow managed to delete his saved game. On hearing about this from Tauji he was absolutely horrified, I’m talking about being shattered to his core. But on seeing me walk into the room, he assumed an immediate calm and in a sudden change of mood, happily accepted my unconditional apology. So even though he must have been horrified internally at what had happened, he didn’t want to make me upset. And I think that said a lot about how caring he was. 🙂
His giggle was like none other. I will never forget it. It was elusive (at least to me, although, maybe he didn’t find me all that funny), so when it was achieved, it was magnificent.
One of my favorite memories of Kavi was when he and I went to watch Indiana Jones 4 before a graduation party at the school. We knew we would be late, but we went anyway because it was the first day the movie came out. When we finally strolled into the lunch room it turned out Kavi was late giving a speech to everyone since he was valedictorian. It seemed like some of the teachers were annoyed, but we laughed it off. Who cared we were graduating? We just saw Indiana Jones be a badass.
His laugh was so majestic that I can still hear it loud and clear. Kavi and I spent seemingly endless hours working together at the Daily, so we had to temper our giggling but also tried to make each other laugh constantly. I knew I was successful if he had to get up from his computer and take a lap — it was a huge victory. I hold his poop jokes in highest esteem, as he was one of the few who truly understood this art form.
It’s hard to choose a single story. Plus, his parents could see this, and there’re things I wouldn’t want mine to know if the tables were turned – edit this as you’d feel appropriate. In the aggregate, let’s just say awesome, sometimes serendipitous things happened when you were around him.
There was Chicago, where I was a younger-than-usual intern with a bad fake ID (statue of limitations has to be up by now) that ended up working nowhere except the grocery store liquor aisle. And yet, my first week in the city, when I ditched the rest of my intern class to hang out because he was in town for Accenture training, it worked in line at Rockit Bar on West Hubbard.
There was Kabin bar, where we went for a comedy show. He was between apartments and crashing with a friend in Brookyln, so he had to leave early, but when Hannibal Burress showed up on stage for a surprise set, he blew off the curfew. He crashed on my couch, and in exchange, we both enjoyed a bit about Bill Cosby that’d blow up the Internet two weeks later.
But most importantly to me, there was my first real house party, which he invited me to (who does that? Invite a gawky, awkward, wide-eyed freshman to a house party?). There, he introduced me to lifelong friends, and gave me front row (lawn?) seats to two of those friends drunk boxing each other on Washtenaw. He handed me a pair of boxing gloves a minute later, with which I sparred his much-taller, much-stronger roommate, and the next morning, the liquor he’d soaked me in handed me my first five-alarm hangover. What he really handed me was a taste of what college could be, and a sample of the joie de vivre with which he approached life.
I was in Brooklyn doing a very touristy – hit up the best view of the city you could find visit with a friend from Singapore. KSP and I were texting, and he wasn’t sure if the party would make it but he still cared enough to stop by and say WHAT UP. We chatted and chilled for 15 minutes, introduced him to my friend, etc. It was nice, just what friendships should be about. No obligation, no expectation, just pure interaction 🙂 I miss you man
He gave the best hugs. He enveloped you in a way, which I loved because I’m 5’9 and never feel dainty or small. He was always so mentally present with everyone. He was always so down to do an activity or be spontaneous. His giggle was majestic, it was so fucking endearing.
In the glorious days of pre-school or Kindergarten was when I met Kavi. We ran many relay races and competed in many wrestling matches in his living room. We spent many hours after school trying to beat Donkey Kong Country on his Super Nintendo, and when we did, he got Donkey Kong Country 2 for us to try and beat. To this day, I am not sure if we actually beat that game. We hung out a lot in his basement playing with his action figures. Once his parents built the upstairs wing to the house, I remember watching many movies and having a lot of sleepovers. It was with Kavi that I first watched Shanghai Noon and Rush Hour and learned to appreciate the greatness that is Jackie Chan. Kavi’s love for movies started at a very young age and I told myself if there was one guy who would end up in movie production in Hollywood, it would be Kavi. How majestic was his giggle? His laugh could brighten anyone’s day; it was contagious and no matter how I was feeling at the time, it would never cease to make me smile and laugh along.
He had a chortle that would put any laugh track to shame!
Kavi was a hopeless romantic. Everything had a reason, an overarching plotline that might be discovered later. The last text I have from Kavi reads, “It’s cliché to say everything works out in the end but it really does.” Rereading that made me incredibly angry, but I think it’s a fitting last communication with him. I think it would appeal to his sense of drama and, like he so often was, it is hopeful.
His charisma could power the lights of an entire Diwali.
He was a very talented person. I saw him mostly in band and he was very reliable to show up for pep band at games and Bridgefest. He was very smart and always figured he would have a bright future after high school. I didn’t know him as well as others but I can say he was always nice to me.
The one time he got a Belvedere magnummn for his birthday, hid a pack of cigs in his dresser, mistook an Asian girl for another, and almost drove to Troy for the love of his life at 1am. All in one night. What a man.
Kavi was always friendly when I ran into him at gatherings Meha planned. But, I was very lucky to be able to get to know him much better in India. He was our guide throughout the whole wedding.
While I wasn’t particularly close with Kavi, seeing him was always a guaranteed pleasure. On the “handshakes initiated” to “chance encounter” ratio, he definitely ranks somewhere in my top five friends and acquaintances. Tremendously friendly, funny, honest, and respectful.
I’ve always wanted a brother. But growing up alongside two sisters, I figured I wasn’t missing out on much. Flash forward to the week of Meha and Hardeep’s wedding in Chandigarh. The way that Kavi went above and way, WAY beyond for his sister and future bro and law in executing the festivities truly blew me away. From memorizing innumerable song and dance numbers, to graciously playing host and helping me find my way amidst the hustle and bustle — Kavi was a true superhero. I could tell just from that week alone how he loved his family and friends so ferociously (intense word, I know!), with every fiber of his being. And I will never forget how be welcoming he made me feel, like I was part of the family.
You know how in Harry Potter, Sirius Black is described as having a laugh like a bark? The only nonfictional person I’ve ever thought that about was Kavi.
He was a bubbly guy, with a goofy sense of humor that he alone had the subtle confidence to pull off. He loved X-Men and Spielberg and that boxy red Scion he’d drive us to the theater in on the weekends. But he also loved his “Parks and Rec” novelty tee, and Bryan Greenberg’s NY-based “Entourage” knockoff, and mango Absolut, and owned them with all the energy and authenticity he’d throw behind Indiana Jones. He was never trying to make “fetch” happen. He just wanted the people he cared about to enjoy podcasts and speakeasies, coconut water, and “About Time,” and all the other things he’d nose out before everybody else. Even when it didn’t quite work, he’d still manage to sell it. “Butt soup” for example, became his catchphrase at Daily Arts, and I’m convinced that he’s the one person in the world who could’ve used it in front of that particular pack of judgmental hyenas without having his skin snarked off. I was the worst of them all, and yet, to this day, I can’t hear an off-hand reference to “butts” and not smile. And if those butts were ever soup-ed, I’d chug a lifetime supply for a chance to watch “Logan” with him.
When we first met in 2004, one of the first things he told me was that I liked really bad movies. While truthful, it was hard to hear, man, and I’ve been working on that ever since. But of all the movies we watched together, it’s a *really* bad movie that is one of my favorite memories. We were the only two people in the movie theater when we went to see The Spirit. Even the actors forgot to show up. And yet we had a marvelous time laughing, yelling, running up and down the aisle, and making the theater our own. We were freaking kings.
Although we ended up going to different schools, we grew closer in college. Freshman year, we started the blog Brown Paper, White Paper together, a reference to a song from one of our favorite TV shows, and, also, a reference to our skin colors. Guess which one was Kavi?
In his first post for BPWP, he stated that the best quote from any movie of 2008 was: “There’s nothing I like better than kicking your ass. Except maybe eggs.” The quote was by The Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson) in, you guessed it, The Spirit, arguably the worst film of 2008. But it was his favorite line because it made him giggle every damn time he said it. The man loved to giggle, and he loved to be entertained, and he loved to share that entertainment with others. It was an honor to start a mediocre blog with him because the fun we had writing it was anything but.
See you in another life, brotha.
I don’t remember which Black Friday it was, but Kavi and I decided to wake up early for it. So I slept over at his house with the plan to wake up around 5 am and hit the stores.
We started playing one of the Halo games. Probably 3. And as the night worn on, we debated whether to sleep or keep playing. And the debate played out repeatedly exactly the same. Kavi would look at me and say “dude we need to get some sleep” and I would look back and same to him “nah man one more game” and he would look at me and grin sheepishly “ok one more game” and that is how we played “one more game” for roughly 5 hours until the crack of dawn when we finally left to for Walmart.
I believe he bought the Soprano’s Season 1 on DVD. I didn’t buy anything at all.
Kavi (at his own house party) once mistook a new girlfriend of mine with my ex, and said “oh I met you before, when we were at blue lep last week!”. Of course this led to giggles from my friends, and a dirty look from her. Kavi said to me afterwards, “I’m sorry, but they looked the same”. Honestly, they couldn’t have looked any more different.
Haha he was an open book, we got along over the simple things in life, he was better than everyone, yet he put everyone else first, he let himself dream of wonderful things… he was super creative and it showed in his writing. He also loved this chili place in AA…. would talk to me for weeks and weeks about it… and he was right, it was Awesome!
He was my big bro. I looked up to him.
Also, at a very tender age (both mine and his), he gave me my first experience with potty jokes.
[No further context given]
A fond memory is playing Super Smash Bros nonstop!
I met Kavi while we were on training with Accenture in St. Charles. In the first weekend, a group of us went to Chicago.
My favourite memory of that trip was on the last day when I mentioned to Kavi that I saw a movie set somewhere downtown. Immediately, he knew it was because they were filming a Bollywood movie with one of his favourite actors (Sadly I can’t remember the dude’s name). We went around trying to find the set’s location but I couldn’t remember where it was. Instead of stalking the Bolllywood film set, Kavi ended up giving me a tour of the famous movie/tv scenes set in Chicago. We walked for so long and so far away that we almost missed the train back to St. Charles!
I had only known Kavi for a week, but the generosity and kindness he showed me is something I will always remember about him.
He showed me around campus before I started college at U of M, and was the big brother I never had growing up.
His giggle was blythesome and jovial.
Kavi was an intelligent and witty guy. Though I don’t recall witnessing his dance moves, I hear that he seriously knew how to “cut a rug.”
No specific story to share but I remember Kavi (my cousin) as one of the most fun loving and nicest human beings I have ever met. He always wore a smile and was so positive and joyful about everything. I suddenly felt happier when he was around me!! He is and will always be loved by me and anyone that knew him.
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.
It [Kavi’s laugh] wasn’t majestic, it was loud, rumbling, and all so lovely!
It’s not that big… my favorite memory was simply traveling with him. We had a few long trips for Senior Design. Kavi and I are both really into movies…so every week we would play guessing games on naming/actors/characters. We talked about producing movies and more. It was a lot of fun and I’m so thankful for the memories.
He had the most glorious and infectious giggle ever.
“Little lily baby, very very crazy, wearing ladies’ nighties, but forgetting he’s a man”. This had been our quirky little tease to each other since the time I started uttering words from my mouth.
Kavi was the master of lights and sound for high school plays. Behind the scenes or not, the show could not have gone on without him!
You can obviously tell he was trying so hard not to laugh when I took photos of him. It was pretty great.
When I met up with Kavi in New York City, he proceeded to show me some of his ‘haunts’. This was concluded with the consumption of copious amounts of pickle back shots at The Belfry.
From the moment I knew him he was this cool big brother of mine who was always aware of what I was fond of..like I still remember I must be around 9 years old and shekhar bhaiya was visiting our home in Korba. At that time of the year Godzilla (1998) was released and I was very fascinated by it because it was the first of it’s kind. So bhaiya had this cool t-shirt of godzilla which had a button on it and when pressed made this awesome sound of godzilla screaming and I got fascinated with it.
So I asked my mum and dad to buy such a t-shirt for me too but it was an exclusive godzilla merchandise, so unavailable in India. I was sad with this news but somehow shekhar bhaiya came to know about this and he offered me his t shirt. Not only that he also gave me a Spiderman T shirt. I was not only the most happy kid at that time but I also came to realize for the fact that I was the most privileged to have such a kind cool, awesome and caring elder brother. Because of his unexpected selfless gesture, I had this new found love and respect for him and that was my first impression for him which just kept on growing growing. I had those T shirts for years.
I feel privileged to be a part of an incredible life journey of an angel that walked the earth and blessed us with his presence, love, care and happiness leaving us with wonderful memories.
Captain Spaghetti was turning 21 and I wanted to be the one to buy her her first shot, but Kavi also wanted to be the one to get her first shot. Being reasonable adults, we raced to the bar and tried to get our shot orders in first, and we both raced back to Captain Spaghetti but a stranger had purchased her first legal shot and beaten us both. Kavi and I had bought each other a shot along with our friend’s in order to either rub victory in, or to feed the other’s sorrow.
Infectious and naughty like no one.
When we 18 we bought cigars and brought them into his house and decided to try and smoke them in his living room. We not only had a hell of a time figuring out they needed to be cut and lit a certain way, but then Kavi’s living room reeked of smoke afterwards and we were quite worried we would get in trouble with his parents. Later Kavi told us that his dad said that he needed a little bit of mischief in his life since he was so well behaved and successful in school and he was not punished.
A creative mastermind, movie brat, a great Indiana Jones fan, awesomely cool, passionate writer, adorable big brother.
Kavi and I would work together until 9pm at the Library (book, not food), and it got REALLY boring, if you can imagine. Kavi always kept it entertaining, however. He was always finding online movie quizzes that we would complete as a group. When we got tired of that, Kavi would always get into a debate on some random topic. He loved playing Devil’s Advocate. The most memorable debate was probably when Kavi announced that he fully supported the caste system. He was incredibly persuasive and articulate–he almost had the entire library staff convinced before he let on that he was joking. Time always flew on those shifts.
Percussion section, Houghton High School circa 2008. It’s nearing the end of band class, last playthrough of a song before the bell rings. Kavi, playing the snare, leans over and whispers to me at the base drum, “Let’s speed it up”. A giggle escapes his lips. Slowly he begins to increase tempo. I follow suit. Soon the trumpets, trombones, and tubas fall in line, beckoning the rest of the band. The band director looks up, wondering why everybody is playing faster. Panic enters her eyes as she realizes she has lost control. She elaborates her directorial movements in a last attempt to slow down the band but it is too late and she surrenders, matching the pace that Kavi sets. Sweat rolls down my aching back as the song nears its galloping end, my arms cannot endure this pace much longer. The final notes ring out and the crescendo is replaced with silence. The bell rings and Kavi smiles as a tired and confused band escapes into the hallway.
4This one time he tried to feed me cereal from across the room and missed every shot. Then for some reason he was under the bed or I was under the bed and he still tried to feed me cereal. It was hilarious.
He bloody stole my chappals!!!! I’m serious. Who would have thought that?
HA! Kavi Shekhar Pandey was a man of many giggles. But his monosyllabic burst of joy, “HA!”, rings loudly and fondly in my memory. Will miss it. Actually it was kind of annoying but now that he is Gandhi status, I will remember it fondly forever.
But the real deal isn’t Kavi’s laugh. It’s that he MADE us laugh. An avid comedy fan, and even amateur comedienne, Shekhar was a bright bright spark, a warm bear of a personality, he made you smile, have fun, enjoy yourself, no matter what the situation. He was a man of mirth, of intelligence, and of good cheer. And those are rare traits indeed.
About bhaiya’s giggle… we were playing that card game and we had loads of crazy times during that game and we literally laughed our asses off just because of shekhar bhaiya’s infectious laugh. Tears were literally rolling down our eyes from laughing that hard.
Oh my god. His giggle. You could always tell him apart in a crowd.
Since childhood, I saw him growing with thoughts, and though he lived most of his life in America, his trust and belief for Indian culture was really inspirational.
Definitely should have won best laugh in High School.
Oh he made fun of EVERY guy I ever dated- for their name. So many laughs.
Kavi’s giggle gave you as warm of a feeling as the touch of the sun’s rays after a long UP winter.
He was curious, which is a great thing to be.