January 12, 2013

In memoriam: Pritam Adhikari — he lived briefly, in vivid colors

The student and the professor: Bhutanese-born Pritam, a Hindu,
and Israeli-born, Dr. Yedidia Neumeir, an Orthodox Jew.
We can never know which goodbye is the last.
I am missing Pritam Adhikari whose brief life proved that a person can overcome almost all conventional odds in shaping a dream and taking every possible step to reach it. Just this week, Pritam was to have started classes at Georgia Tech following two years' studying at Oglethorpe University. He died last Saturday following a brief illness. He was 22.

Pritam, grew up in a refugee camp, in Nepal, his 100,000-person community victims of ethnic cleansing in Bhutan, their homeland. In the camp, playing with paper airplanes, Pritam's early childhood dream of becoming an aerospace engineer was born. In August 2008, his family joined the growing Bhutanese refugee community in Atlanta. Last Sunday, his parents and immediate and extended family, friends, and community — more than 1000 people mourned the courageous, brilliant, accomplished, and confident soul who was without a trace of arrogance.

In late 2010, when he was applying to colleges in the USA, he asked me to review his personal essay, a requirement for all applications, and to work with him to present a sharp, clear picture of his candidacy. Today, Pritam's essay has become a written legacy and testament that neither false privileges of income, skin color, gender, nationality, nor "status" of any kind will deter a young refugee with pluck, brains, focus, faith, and support and love of family, community, and allies worldwide.

Pritam, your life’s journey is a gift for eternity. And, I thank you, grateful that we met.

Pritam's personal essay

Related posts
An Appreciation: Pritam Adhikari
In Memory of a Wonderful Friend
The dream recedes unrealized
At Georgia Tech: You're never too young to learn


Susanne said...

So good that you have found ways to share his legacy! Lovely simple memorial. Thanks, Susanne

Paul said...

Read your posting about Pritam's death -- so sad, and obviously, unexpected. I remember how over-the-moon you were about this young man when you were developing the Georgia Tech blog post. Condolences.


Anonymous said...

I read this and then Pritam’s essay. All so eloquent. He was surely a wonderful young man, and a reminder of the blessings and curses of privilege (such as what I had at his age) and how far hope, determination and confidence can get you.

Anonymous said...

Such a sad loss. What a blessing that you knew him and had an opportunity to support the framework of his dream. I'm sure he was grateful for your help and friendship.