We have so many beautiful memories of Rishi, that writing about them could fill volumes. We remember fondly the ten years that Arun, Anita, Roshan and Rishi spent with us in Bangalore. That was the time we had the pleasure of watching the small boys grow up into young accomplished teenagers. Rishi was so full of fun and also so talented. We knew he would blossom into a fine human being which he did, and we were so proud to be his grandparents. For a boy of his age Rishi was kindhearted to all people and animals, and willing to go to any length to help those in need.
Being so far away in India now, the highlight of our lives was the Sunday morning zoom call with all the family. Rishi used to keep us so entertained and joyful. Many events stand out in our lives - one was Rishi’s violin recital in Bangalore to raise funds for a charitable organization for orphaned children. Another was the amazing program and hilarious songs Rishi and the boys performed for us at our recent fiftieth anniversary.
But the numerous times when he would make intricately drawn cards with the most thoughtful messages, or the times he would chat with us in his humorous way, and make us laugh, are the memories that overwhelm our hearts with happiness.
Maybe God calls his dearest ones to heaven early. Rishi was God’s Gift to us for seventeen memorable years, and we cherish that.
Apoopan and Amooma | Grandparents Appu and Tara
We will always remember Rishi, who we watched grow from an always smiling drooling baby in diapers to a handsome, grinning, athletic young man who seemed to always be up to some mischief. Watching him grow through the years has been a truly rewarding experience. Even as a young toddler, we remember his adventurous spirit leading him to go exploring, coming down from their apartment and onto their Manhattan street clad only in his little diaper. This continued as he got older - with him always leading the way and encouraging his lil’ cousin brothers to follow him on many a fun jaunt, whether it was running down the beach or up a rock face.
Rishi’s self-assurance and many talents that he put to work in order to make the family smile or to help those less fortunate was an inspiration to all of us. He would always put our four-legged family members first, never forgetting to walk all our 4 dogs when we were together, gently coaxing Mihir and Ishaan to come along. We remember him hiking nimbly up Rocky Mountains, leaving us trailing behind, reaching the glacier lake just as the sun rose to light up the world. Rishi was the radiance that brightened our lives over the years. We will cherish our time spent together and our wonderful memories with Rishi.
Aparna & Sumeet Dagar | Aunt and Uncle
Rishi, you were a gift for seventeen beautiful years. We are grateful for what we had. May the joy of those years carry us through the life we have ahead.
Kamini & Rajiv Sawhney | Aunt and Uncle
Rishi was my cousin but also a brother to me. He would tease me all the time but he would also care about me at the same time when I needed him. When I struggled with some difficult math problems, he would patiently help me. He was very athletic and loved to run. I remember on our trip to Belize together how we played bean bag toss and he always beat me. Rishi loved to draw and he made up his own comic series, I remember reading and enjoying them. Those holidays when we hung around together at home, sometimes watching him play on his phone or do push-ups are days I will treasure.
Ishaan Dagar | Cousin
I will miss you Rishi! I will always carry with me, memories of the fun we had on family vacations and the time we spent at home together.
Mihir Dagar | Cousin
My most vivid, early memory of Rishi is of him saying, "hold my little hand." Then one of us would sleep on the edge of the bed and stick our hands through the bars of his crib so that he could tightly clutch our little finger as he slept.
Such a bonny, delightful baby he was, who always smiled or laughed -- except when hungry, as I learned to my chagrin. How terrified I was the night when Arun and Anita left me to look after little baby Rishi when they both had night duty in the hospital. Once the milk satisfied his tummy I knew he would miss his mama and papa, so I started regaling him with stories. I can remember him looking up at me, wide-eyed, as he seemed to hear my plea, big tears still glistening on his cheeks. Then he smiled and closed his eyes and fell asleep as I carried him. I felt such a rush of love... (and relief). That love only grew over the years.
Looking through my photos and remembering all the wonderful holidays we did together, a few things stand out. Treehouses and trees, trains, dogs, fields, rivers, gardens, singing, and making new discoveries.
When I visited the US a few years ago, Rishi had grown into a strapping young lad passionate about running. He was explaining his run timings when I asked him why he had chosen cross country running. I will always remember his answer. He said, "Because I can run with my friends. It's a team sport and we can chat and help each other as we run." Rishi’s talents and musicianship are well-known, but I want to highlight his compassion and friendships, the strong bonds he built with so many. Which is why we remember him today with so much love.
Wherever you are Rishi, I know your ‘little hand’ is being held securely.
Lalita Kamath (Lala) | Aunt and Godmother
I would like to celebrate Rishi’s brief span of 17 years and 9 months. I say celebrate, because he managed to cram far more into his cosmically ordained time on earth than most of us have managed in far lengthier spans. What brought us all so much joy in his presence was the enthusiasm with which he seized the day, whether it was his violin, or donning his chef’s toque to serve up fried cicadas for dinner.
Rishi was talented, bright, articulate, and while he could be moody on occasion, this rarely lasted and he was back to his bubbly self in a flash. While he was academically accomplished, his maverick streak was what provided pep and zing to his personality, whether it was the DIY home ear-piercing or getting Ramu the Ulsoor barber to give him a silver-streaked widow’s peak. But the quality for which he will be most fondly remembered by me is his gift for conflict resolution. He took upon himself the Sisyphean task of getting Summer & Gatsby to suppress their natural instinct to fight like cats and dogs. He did his homework, ably assisted in his research by his brother, Roshan, and then spent considerable time and energy, plus a few scratches, in getting these sworn enemies into a mutual comfort zone. Voila, when the breakthrough finally happened and the two became fast friends (well documented at this site), Rishi’s joy knew no bounds.
There is a line on mortality in a Fiona Spence song which goes, “I have only one thing to do, And that’s to be the wave that I am, and then sink back into the ocean…” So, while all of us who loved him may feel that 17 is too short, let us rejoice in the fact that they were 17 Rishi years, filled with stimulating cross-country runs celebrating nature, long hours of practice and performance on one of the most demanding musical instruments, and basically, spreading laughter and joy. The Aborigines believe that for a brief period after a loved one’s passing, the word, “kumantjayi” is a fitting substitute for the first name, to soothe the grief of their passing.
May eagles power you, Kumantjayi Shet.
Ajit Saldanha | Uncle and Godfather
Rishi was a sweet and one-of-a kind student that I had the pleasure of teaching for four years as a violin student at Peabody Preparatory. Although he has not been my student for a couple of years I think of him often. It was always a fight as to what got more of his attention when he was a student… violin or running.
When Rishi came to me and explained that he wanted to do a concert to raise money for a charity in Bangalore I was quite surprised. No other student of mine had ever done something like this. The preparation took approximately a year. It involved selecting the music so that it flowed together and had appropriate contrast, and then preparing it which was no mean feat. He sweated that Spring working on more than 10 pieces of music. There were times where he was frustrated but he persevered and put in so much effort. He even performed in local retirement communities to test out the music for his concert. He created a program for the concert and researched all of the composers. I was so moved by how he gave back to the world at such a young age and he was looked up to by my younger students as well as being admired by parents in my studio. More than one parent said to me “How can I get my child to do that?”.
Sometimes lessons weren’t all seriousness. In one lesson Rishi was getting animated about something and unexpectedly flung his violin up in the air and it crashed to the floor, luckily only sustaining very little damage. I was agape in horror as I saw his violin fly through the air. We had a good laugh at what had almost happened! We talked about his running and politics and I was fascinated by the life he had seen in Sweden and India. He had lots of opinions and we had many interesting conversations. Although he wasn’t taking lessons anymore Rishi thoughtfully emailed me during the pandemic to ask how my teaching was going and to tell me of his new puppy Summer. It was these little touches that made him special.
Rishi, you were a promising man and not just in music. You will always be remembered.
Louise Hildreth-Grasso | Violin & Viola faculty, Johns Hopkins Peabody Preparatory
Rishi, you are an inspiration to all our boys and girls at Sneha Care and Snehagram. I have been so privileged to be part of your wonderful family and admired the beautiful life you lived.
When you came over to Bangalore in 2018 to perform the String Theory Concert (link) to support and empower our youth to build their lives, you were not only raising funds, but also their spirits - to build their lives with such dedication and commitment to what you were passionate about - living life to the full. Even as a teenager you were focusing on what is important in life.
We all miss you dear Rishi, but you continue to inspire all of us and will live on in our memories.
Father Mathew Perumpil| Snehagram
It is still very vivid the day I met Rishi; I was 9 years old and he was 6 years old. Being in a hostel I was blessed to stay at Roshan and Rishi’s home in Bangalore for a weekend. When I entered the house, I was quiet and sat in a corner on the sofa. By 5pm I heard cheers and shouting of two boys, and they were Roshan and Rishi. The moment Rishi saw me, he greeted me and said: “come on let's go and play”. This boy who was younger than me made feel so close, that I really didn’t want to leave his side the complete weekend. I had never gone to my home as I was an orphan, but those two days were special. I had two brothers who loved me and made me part of their sweet family.
Rishi is so talented in music. The most heart-touching part is that, although so young, Rishi played a concert to raise funds for our home. We were honored to have Rishi in our lives, helping us shine brighter with his hard work. I was inspired by seeing his love of sports and especially running. Being a runner myself I know the pain of practice, but Rishi was special and never gave up.
My memories with Rishi can’t ever be erased. I want to thank Roshan my brother for the privilege of knowing you both. Together we will keep Rishi’s flame burning bright.
Babu Seenappa | Friend
Rishi and I grew up spending holidays together. As a kid, he was a force, impossible to restrain. I remember we had this one sleepover at my house where we watched a horror movie (this in itself gave us a thrill because we weren't allowed that) and Rish of course had to add to the experience by yelling aaaaagh at all the tense moments.
The last time we met we had a sleepover at my place, and for old times' sake, we played Psych, Heads up, and even went bowling. He had grown up so much I couldn't help but marvel at what a badass he'd become with an impeccable dress sense complete with a snazzy ear piercing. But a cool exterior was not all he stood for. His beautiful violin performance at his grandparents' anniversary party and his gentle way of including his younger cousins in our big cousin shenanigans made me so proud of the phenomenal man he was growing up to be.
The world has lost a kind, talented, stunning gem of a person and we have lost a dear cousin and friend.
Esha Nobbay | Cousin
A cute smile, a twinkle in his eye, and a mischievous spirit were Rishi's hallmarks. The cousins would meet often; playing, fighting, and inventing new games. One of these games was to run through our front door, up the outside stairs, through the terrace, into Varun's room and down the inside stairs, screaming excitedly at the top of the voices. I always had my heart in my mouth, but they just enjoyed each others' company and had fun.
A beautiful, happy child, with Arun's easygoing, fun loving nature and wry sense of humour and Anita's earnestness, softness and kindness, Rishi grew into a handsome, talented young man with a strong social consciousness which was evidenced by his hard work in performing a concert, the proceeds of which he donated to Snehagram, an orphanage for HIV children.
They say God takes those he loves young, but I believe that each of us comes to this world with a purpose. Rishi in his short span of 17 years achieved more than most of us do in a long life time. He completed what he was sent to do and has moved on.
Arun, Anita, and Roshan - even though you do not see or touch him, know that he is always watching over you. Talk to him, talk of him and remember him with joy for you were blessed with - a great prize who will live in your hearts forever.
Ela Nobbay | Aunt
Rishi did a fund-raiser concert at the Bangalore School of Music in 2018.
His heart for people less fortunate, his love for music, and his desire to keep blessing people were so evident. He did more in his 17 years than most people do in a lifetime.
Rishi, you've been an inspiration and your legacy will live on.
Becky Colaco | Fellow Musician
Senior Teacher, Bangalore School of Music
From the first day I met Rishi I knew that he was focused on his academics and extra curriculars. Rishi was a student who wanted to make sure that he was taking the most competitive course load that he could so that colleges would accept him. Rishi was also active in three sports and was determined to perform at his best. Rishi shared with me his success in the Mile Run his sophomore year. He finished fifth in the state of Maryland.
Rishi shared with me his love for the violin and how he organized a fundraiser in India for HIV youth. Rishi wanted to be a veterinarian and had completed an internship at The Maryland Zoo. Rishi was a determined young man who wanted to set himself up for success. He was a good example to his peers. I felt privileged to have him come to me for advice and help.
Philip Vangeli, School Counselor | River Hill High School
Rishi was an awesome student in AP Microeconomics. At the beginning of our class, I asked the students to tell me whatever they think I should know. Rishi told me that he loved his family, running, and playing the violin. When I told him that my son was also a violinist, we spent time after class talking about playing the violin.
Rishi was a kind-hearted young man who loved his family very much. I am honored that I got a chance to teach this amazing young man.
Jessica Nichols Teacher | River Hill High School
I woke up this morning with a memory in my head, clear as crystal: I had invited you all to come to Stene for the 'release of the lambs' - the day when the lambs are let out for the first summer day after their whole lives in the barn.
Staffan let the lambs out from the barn, led by their mothers. They looked around, not knowing first what to do, then started to follow their mothers and slowly discovered that they could run. And then they jumped and ran, mad with joy over their newly found freedom. And who ran with them? Of course, Rishi and Roshan!
No, Staffan yelled, don't chase them, don't!!
I guess Roshan heard and obeyed, but Rishi didn't, he continued running not after but WITH the lambs, like them, mad with the joy of running!
You are with us in our thoughts, Rishi’s Swedish family and friends, we deeply share your grief and will always remember your wonderful son and brother.
Annika Johansson | Rishi’s ‘Swedish’ Grandmother
Rishi was kind, thoughtful, cool, confident and special, all wrapped into one. As I look back at the precious times we spent together as kids, I can't help but cherish the memories we made climbing up trees and walls, playing hide-and-seek, our sleepovers that would he filled with scary movies, and and hours spent playing dark room, and most importantly his famous tree house. We would invent our own games on the spot and spend hours screaming and shouting at the top of our lungs. Rishi was truly a star. I will miss him and always remember the fun times.
Nithya Kamath | Cousin
I was completely in awe of Rishi. We remembered him as a chubby child with a bush for hair. When we saw him in 2019, we suddenly saw a tall, muscular and handsome figure with a ear-piercing and short well groomed hair. Rishi initially was rather quiet but after sometime, we finally started seeing the real Rishi, kind, funny and talented. Every memory will be cherished forever. Rishi, you will be missed by everyone who knew you and your legacy will live on in the Pinto clan for generations to come.
Sahil Kamath | Cousin
I remember so many years ago (in Sishu Griha School Bangalore) how I spent each morning before Montessori reading a book on dinosaurs with my mom outside the classroom. At the end of each chapter, we would take one of the stickers in the book and stick it in its designated spot. Then, one day, a fellow classmate came up to my mom and me. He introduced himself as Rishi Shet and said that he too would like to listen and stick one sticker himself. And soon, it became a tradition for both of us to spend some time before class learning about dinosaurs, and so began our friendship.
Since then, Rishi and I were family friends, and it breaks my heart having to write a memoir for him. Unfortunately, we lost contact after he shifted to the US, but my memories of him will never fade. I can recall countless nights I have spent in his house, under the care of his beautiful parents (Anita Aunty and Arun Uncle), his great grandmother, and his brother, Roshan. We had family dinners, played hide and seek with his dog Jazz, and would spend hours up in his treehouse or on his trampoline just enjoying each other's company.
Rishi was a powerhouse of talent, and it hurts that I will never be able to bask in his infectious joy that so powerfully radiated every time he smiled. I would give anything to race him again on cycles on the road outside his old house at St John's Quarters in Bangalore, India. From our Brazilian dance to us determined to create our own language, many of my most treasured memories were because of him. When I look back, I will remember him for being a supportive friend, one with whom I knew to be always cheerful. He remains a big part of my childhood, and I am grateful I had the opportunity to know him.
Ishan Shanavas | Classmate
Our precious boy, we love you. You will always live in our hearts, with cherished, happy memories of you and remain forever young. Rest gently dear soul with the angels of our family who have preceded you.
John & Mira Pinto | Grand Uncle & Grand Aunt
I remember our trip to Udaipur after Kamu & Rajiv's fabulous 25th wedding anniversary celebrations. Rishi sang the Beatles' songs one after another correcting Arun if he got the words or the order of verses wrong. His face reflecting the intensity of his joy, every note-perfect. He put 120 percent of himself into it, as with everything else. A shining star!
Louise Pinto | Aunt
Rishi was one of those truly special people who really cared. He burst into our lives the summer of 2004, the littlest in our tribe, and has delighted, inspired and entertained us with his talent, style, warmth and infectious smile ever since!
We have fond memories of being coaxed into letting him (and Roshan) gobble more jelly beans than he was allowed just so he could “try all the colors”. His expressions after were priceless! In his later years those very same jelly beans came back for episode 2, where Rishi would help our mom breeze through Candy Crush by finding hacks to get more lives in the game.
Several years ago when we were in Kabini, “Litchi Saab” (our nickname for Rishi given his love for lychees), had us in splits when he befriended a local shepherd and wildly chased his little goats around trying to hug them.
Rishi, may your life always be defined by the way you lived, your hair billow as you run beyond the everlasting hills, and the mischievous silver streak glisten where the winds are cool and the sights are glorious. As the elegant tunes from your violin performances linger on in our minds, we are grateful to have enjoyed these precious years with you, and we’ll cling to the memories we shared in the hope that they help us move forward.
Anila, Kamila and Nihal Saldanha | Cousins
From the time you were born, we have known you, being your dear parents' old college friends. You always have a sparkle in your eye, curious and naughty and we have seen you blossom into a teenager with so much to give not just to your family but to others through all your endeavours.
Dhruv always looked forward to your fun Sunday afternoons in the Koramangala home where you boys were up to so much! You will be the brightest star in the galaxy and when we look up we'll know it is you....sparkling away....forever. We love you.
Shibani Aunty, Raj Uncle and Dhruv | Family friends
I have two very distinct memories of Rishi. The first was four years ago when he was only 13 and Roshan 15, and I was in Baltimore. The boys asked if they could interview me, as I was a kidney donor. When I arrived, they had a tape recorder set and a list of questions...for the next hour, I sat across from them as they took diligent notes of everything I said. The theme was organ donation and by the time they were done both Anita and I had tears rolling down our cheeks. Their thought-provoking questions and their acute interest in the emotional aspects of organ donation, for such young children, were unbelievable.
The second was Rishi's concert in aid of Snehagram. He organised the concert, performed in it and collected money for his favorite charity, which in itself was a feat. I being far away could not attend, but did contribute to the fundraiser. When it was over, I got my receipt and official thank you note and was very pleased. When Rishi got back to the US, he sent me a personal thank you note. His attention to detail was fantastic.
We will miss you Rishi. Your bright, mischievous smile, your warm caring heart and the love you brought to all around you.
Suneethi Nazareth | Aunt
I saw you last as a strapping young lad, but your smile that began in your eyes and then took over your whole face, that will be how I will always remember you, Rishi. You made my son Smaran so happy... for that uncle and I owe you big time. I missed hearing you play the violin on two occasions, so keep that violin ready angel, I will extract a performance from you when we meet again.
Srikanth Uncle and Bubli Aunty & Smaran | Rishi's childhood friend
I don’t have many memories with Rishi, but the ones I do have are bathed in kindness and joy.
I knew Rishi because of River Hill cross country and track. Before the pandemic when he and Awais didn’t feel like going crazy fast with the guys, they’d join me, a captain of the girl’s team, for a run. I’m a talker, so of course, I’d ask him about his day and continue to progressively more intrusive questions because it's a fun way to pass the time. The three of us had a dynamic where Awais and I led upfront with the main conversation and Rishi added small comments from behind. His silence was intentional, like he was finding the funniest or dumbest thing to say all while looking around at the world in detail.
I wish I could thank Rishi for sharing a small part of his life with me even if it was mostly random Snapchat streaks and quiet E runs. His fun presence balanced out my sophomore try-hard personality and formed memories that highlight the importance of team bonding/community relationships. Rishi's fellow River Hill cross country and track friends will forever cherish our memories with him.
Chloe McGeehan | River Hill High School teammate and friend
It was when Dr. Nair Uncle and Tara Aunty flew to Singapore with Rishi and Roshan for holidays, that I met them for the first time. Though the trip was short, we made some sweet memories - buying a bunch of candy, swimming, and getting locked out of our house, arguing about whose turn it was next to play the ‘helicopter game’ on the iPad.
After that trip, I met Rishi at the musical fundraiser in Bangalore, and at home. I think that such are these special people, whom you meet only a couple of times, but they live fresh as ever in your memory and in your heart. As is written in the introduction of this web page, Rishi was a rational young man and always kept people around him happy, so I don’t think Rishi would be content to see us sad!
Rishi, it was great knowing you. We may never get over missing you, but we promise to continue smiling in virtue of your legacy.
Sthapitha Somanna | Family friend
I first met Rishi and Roshan on their short trip to Singapore with their grandparents. Although short, we went through the trip as people who had known each other for years. It was this innocence that allowed us to create a bond that would exist through all realities of time and space. Many years later I had the opportunity to meet Rishi again. When he was there on stage playing at a fund raiser, I couldn't help but wonder how far he had come since I last spent time with him. He had changed, he had grown positively from the little boy I had known to a young man who wanted to make a difference.
In life you have the chance to meet thousands of people, but only the blessed get the opportunity to meet a legend, I was lucky to meet a legend like Rishi. His legacy and the path he chose will not end here - it will be carried on, inspiring all the people who were around him. Rishi has set a bar so high, and as a tribute I will try and reach it.
Even if you aren’t here, Rishi, your name and spirit will always be in the wind guiding people of today to a better tomorrow.
Samarth Somanna | Family friend
Thinking about the memories that my sister and I have had with both Rishi and Roshan have always brought a smile to my face. I will never forget our sleepovers – the top-class secret forts that we made in your bedroom with an attached security system involving a camera and a remote-controlled car. We were on top of the world, we were secret agents. One summer, Rishi, Nona and I went for dance classes, and Rishi would come over every morning for the class and then spend the rest of the day with us. The three of us would play this farm game on Mai’s PC - everyday we'd plant some crops and tend to our animals like they were our very own children. I'm going to find this account and make it the best ever farm, something Rishi would be proud of. The two of us would then play cricket for hours after that. Countless holidays and endless happiness.
The last time I saw Rishi he'd grown up so much, and had become the coolest kid I have ever met, but still the same funny and sparky Rishi that we loved and grew up with.
You will always be in my heart and I will cherish each and every memory I have with you, I love you Rishi. And I love you Roshan, Aunty Anita and Uncle Arun, you guys are the some of the most brilliant, caring and loving people I know, sending all my love to you.
Vikram Fernandes | Cousin
Some of my best memories are with all of my cousins, with Rishi. I remember this one particular day we were putting on a little play called ‘The Master and the Servant’ for all the adults in our family. At the end, much to everyone's amusement, Rishi and I passed around an old hat, because we felt that these shows could no longer be viewed for free. We were absolutely thrilled with a pile of coins that we collected.
Rishi was a natural. He was bright, bubbly, intelligent and most definitely a little mischievous - or a lot, depending on the situation. And this is exactly how I will remember him in the years to come. I miss him and I wish we'd all had more time together, but I'm so thankful that we had the most fun in the time we did have.
Jyotsna Fernandes | Cousin
So many vivid memories cross my mind when I think of Rishi. All of those delightful holidays together, all the kids playing, eating, swimming, laughing and singing together, all the sleepy heads in one long row in the room or verandah at night.
I remember Rajasthan and the beautiful white sand dune under the stars – which we named 'Rish-dune', because Rishi discovered it first. We claimed it for our own personal sand dune and everyone scrambled to climb the silky white sand to the top in the dazzling white moonlight.
When we visited Arun and Anita in Sweden, we saw a more grown-up Rishi. He nonchalantly navigated the town, in and out of the trains, and was our guide on our daily excursions. And in Bangalore in 2019 December, we suddenly saw a grown-up Rishi, stylish, suave, mature – with just a hint of the mischievous child he had been.
Rishi – I won’t say good-bye – but only au revoir – because I know we will meet again soon on the other side where you will be climbing that white sand dune again and laughing as you reach the top.
Arati Fernandes | Aunt
In 2016 the Shet’s moved into our neighborhood and introduced us to this shy lovable young kid. Over the years we witnessed Rishi grow up into a handsome athletic young man. His achievements in violin recitals, art, and track & field were impressive. He deeply loved and cared for his family, especially his mother and great grandmother.
Whenever Rishi visited us, we would have wonderful conversations with no inhibitions or boundaries, he loved Savi aunty’s cooking. When I decided to improve my fitness, I approached Rishi for help, and without hesitation he became my personal trainer. He would research how to train a 60+ year old without injuring him, and show me the steps. His dedication to this task immensely impressed and encouraged me.
Rishi, you have left an indelible impression on us, you will always remain deeply etched in our hearts, we love and miss you.
Aunty Savi and Uncle Chris | Neighbors and family friends
Having to write a message for Rishi breaks our heart. We have so much to say but at the same time we’re at loss of words. Arun Uncle, Anita Aunty, Roshan and Rishi have been our family friends since Rishi and Sheen were little toddlers. That’s how well we knew Rishi.
We last met Rishi in December 2019 when Uncle, Aunty, Rishi and Roshan had come home and little did we know that’s the last time we would see him. Now, it’s the wonderful memories and joyful experiences we’ve shared that we will hold onto for the rest of our lives. Without thinking twice, we would describe Rishi as the most ideal human being. He was kind, funny, friendly, talented, polite, athletic and more than anything he had pure heart - he wanted nothing but for everyone to be happy. Out of all our memories together, making cotton candy, playing dark room, eating donuts and watching movies, birthday parties, shrieking on the Wonderla rides, our sleepovers, playing in your tree house, jumping on the trampoline, running around in the tennis court with Jazz and Jingle and the deep conversations Rishi and Sheen had on the bunk-bed while Roshan and Shivalik were asleep at 4 am are a few of our many favorites which we will cherish forever.
The world lost a champion and we miss you so much, Rishi.
Sheen and Shivalik Bhan | Family Friends
Rishi, we heard you play the violin in Bangalore and what a talented musician you were at just 14. We were not just awed by your music but were amazed at the empathy and concern you showed for the most vulnerable and needy children in Bangalore by organising a beautiful concert and raising funds. We are grateful to have interacted with Rishi and hear his lovely music. Love you all.
Bindu Aunty, Kuldeep Uncle, Viraaj and Vaibhav | Anita's school friend
Rishi was a big inspiration for me. When I was 10 years old my mother told me about a concert that Rishi was doing in Bangalore to raise funds for children. I thought it was amazing that somebody as young as Rishi was already caring for other people. Prior to this I had never done anything for anyone, so I decided to donate to Rishi's cause. Perhaps more importantly, this later inspired me to start my own project of conservation of African wildlife. I am very grateful Rishi inspired me when he did, because without him, I may have never thought of giving back to the planet.
I visited Rishi in Washington in the summer of 2018. I thought it was amazing how he led such a balanced and high-achieving life. He was on the track and field team, he played violin, and was a lot of fun. Even though he was much older than me, he still made an effort to take an interest in my life. I drew this sketch to remember him. Rishi and his legacy will live on.
Ayan Kamath Mehra | Cousin
Rishi has packed more in 17 years than all of us do in a lifetime. In particular, he's done the two things I've always dreamt about and will continue dreaming about - being a cross country champion and a classical virtuoso at the same time. His impish grin reminds me of his father in school. I think we'd have got on like a house on fire and he'd have taught me tricks in running. And he's an artist too. My entire family and my mother in particular send a warm embrace to Arun, Anita and Roshan. You are not alone, dear friends.
Ravishanker S | Arun's classmate and friend
Oh Rishi! My brother. My vivid memories with you are the treasures of my life. How incomplete my childhood would be, without your mesmerizing aura. The stories we read, when your merry laughter would infuse our home. The ingenious games we played in the serene Periyar river. Along with Roshan, we were the three musketeers seeking mischief and adventure.
Whether we played cricket or board games, you played every move with supreme zeal. Yes, that’s what makes you a prodigy, in any venture you undertake, from running shoes to a violin bow. As I talk to you, I can see you laughing at me, just the way you did, when a mango hit my temple out of nowhere (although I know where it came from). Cheers to everything we’ve been through.
My brother, you will always be there with me. Until we meet again for a swift pillow fight, I send you showers of love from a tiny blue planet in the Milky Way.
Govind Vijayakrishnan | Cousin
We have so many wonderful memories with Rishi & family. It was a joy to be around him and see his handsome, smiling face. Always engaging the kids and us in his chatty way.
Listening to Rishi play the violin was mesmerizing. We were impressed by Rishi & Roshan’s effort of successfully organizing and Rishi performing at the String Theory Concert in Bangalore to empower the youth there to build their lives. Empathy towards the under-privileged kids is a rarity among teens, but Rishi was an exception.
Someday we'll all be together again when we cross over to the other side. This is only a brief parting in the larger scheme of life. We love, cherish and miss you a lot, Rishi.
Rankin, Om, Eva, Deepak and Genny | Family friends
I remember so vividly 17 years ago wishing off Anita and Arun at the Amtrak Station with little newborn Rishi in Anita's arms as they boarded the train from St. Paul, Minnesota for their next stop in New York. Over the years we have watched Rishi grow up into a strapping young man. We had the good fortune of meeting often and seeing Rishi - sing carnatic music, play the violin and tell us about his running, discuss careers and politics around the dining table. We miss the live-out loud, charmingly irreverent Rishi, and fondly cherish the memories we had with him as gifts he gave us.
When we look up at the night sky on a clear night, he is that shining star in the sky grinning at us. God bless you, boy.
Rajesh, Preethy, Diya, Nicki | Friends
As friends of the family we echo what many have said. This young man was outstanding in everything he did. He was an accomplished person, but his accomplishments were made extra special by the fact that Rishi was a human being with care and concern for all.
Wouldn't it be fortunate if there were multitudes of Rishi in the world today, and in the future. This role model will long be remembered by all that came in contact with him.
Edward and Irene Kaplan | Anita's mentor and friends of the family
Rishi was around 3 years old when Arun and Anita moved next door to us at the St Johns quarters. He was a loving and kind-hearted kid. His love for their dog Jazz was something that I remember quite well. He would take Jazz for a run early morning, and then freshen up to go to school.
When we were getting ready to move out, Rishi was quite sad, and he would show up at our door on his bicycle to play with our son Yohann who was 7 years older than him, and would go barging into Yohann's room, jump on him and say, come, let's play. After playing the boys would get hungry and Rishi would come up to me and ask if there was any cake to eat. I would have just finished baking a batch of cake, and he would happily eat it and them say bye to us and head back home on his bicycle.
Shoba Kurian | Neighbor, Bangalore
Rishi, I did not know you personally. But I did know your grandad and my sister knew your parents from St John’s Medical College. We both supported similar causes, I identify with the Snehagram children too as you did, and have run with them many times. I ran a 10K in Bengaluru in memory of you yesterday. You will live on forever in the hearts of those like me who - your brilliant life inspires us to go on, one day at a time. Rest in Peace, Rishi, you have fought the good fight, you have finished the race.
Tom Thomas | Friend of Rishi's Grandad
Rishi was thoughtful, artistic and wonderful with children and animals.
I will never forget the beautiful floral decoration he created when we celebrated Onam together.
Rishi once treated us to an after-dinner music session at home when he played his violin. In addition to his many talents, his quiet confidence and love for animals impressed me a great deal.
His beautiful soul will continue to inspire us and will never be forgotten.
Preeti John | Friend of Anita and Arun
I believe that the amazing Rishi is up there in heaven, playing his violin, running as a free spirit.
Ruchi Chauhan | Arun's colleague
Rishi Children’s Fund
Enabling orphan and vulnerable children to lead healthy enriched lives