Dearest Shailu Chithi,
You have had a profound impact on my life. You’ve inspired me, you’ve supported and guided me, you’ve energized me. On your special day, I want to say “THANK YOU!!!”
Thank you for being such an inspiration. I still remember our conversation when I was seven. I was cycling on the gravelly front yard of our house in Madras and you were talking to me about business school! You were telling me how there were these schools called Harvard and Stanford and how you wanted me to attend them. How I could do it – how I could be a leader and make an impact. What an adult conversation to have with a seven year old! It sounded very mysterious and alluring back then. But it left a lasting impression – especially coming from my super-cool aunt.
Thank you for our relationship. You always treated me as an adult. Whether I was seven or seventeen, you gave me the rights and the responsibilities of an adult. Our conversations were so entertaining – you’d ask my opinion on issues and actually listen. You’d challenge my assumptions and expand my world view.
Thank you for your generosity. You were selfless with your time – driving hours to pick me up when I landed on my first solo trip and when you took off from work and drove me to Boston for a weekend. You were so kind with your gifts – the Samsara you bought me was an incredible treat! I loved using that perfume. I still have the bottle. Oh, and that Express jacket that was so incredibly stylish (in black of course 🙂 – it hangs in my closet.
Thank you for your fierce, fierce love. A love that made you want to protect me, a love that made you push me, a love that made you passionately want the best for me.
On your birthday, I seek your blessings as always. And this year, for J and G as well.
You have had such an impact on my life and my choices. And what’s more, your passion and generosity impacted everyone you touched!
I miss you desperately. I love you very much.
In memory of my incredible aunt, Shailu Iyengar, 1955-1996.