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.