Two weeks into her trip to the Philippines, Kalpna wrote the following to her close friend, Roan: I love how small cafes make attempts to create western food. Just like in India, its not quite right. The other day I ordered a veggie pizza and after 45 minutes I got half an English muffin with ketchup, mixed with a dash of sweet and sour for sauce, along with shredded carrots, and cheese for toppings.Kalpna Mistry was where she was supposed to be.Before this trip, and back in our Berkeley cottage, our cute, and rambunctious yellow Labrador named Gobi was busy keeping us sane during a year full of teaching-related stress. Kalpna was happy with the dog, but she was not a dog lover. She definitely was not thrilled with, in her words, constantly finding dog hair in her underpants, the incessant licking, or the tail whapping her glasses of water across the room. I would often confront Kalpna and say, “You say you love Gobi, but, prove it. Go hug her right now.” Kalpna would then look at me and retort, “Sid, you know when you’re not around, we slow dance.” With her quick wit, she was able to usurp my place as the dog lover.But, this is how she operated. No matter who or what was a part of my life or hers, it became something connected to her, something that she really cared about.Back again to our cottage…As many of us know, Kalpna was a bit of a clutter bug. I would have a daily swim through her stacks of papers, books, posters, and teacher supplies. I always told her that no matter what space she could find, she would always fill it up. There literally was no room big enough to hold her stuff in. But, truly, there was no room big enough to contain her heart. Even though it drove me nuts, she kept everything not for herself, but for the benefit of others.Kalpna just saw the world differently than most of us—each person, object, and moment represented some archetype to her. I always told her that she saw the world as one gigantic cartoon. I think this is why she was able to write the funny, yet true, captions and quips we all remember her by. In her cartoon world, this world, no idea was too crazy, or improbable. Her infinite ideas all made sense and all could work to make the world a better place.I wanted to end with some words of hers written three days before she died: Its been an exhaustingly fruitful year. Its hard being part of building a new program with finite resources when you are someone who can easily create a list of infinite ideas.Kalpna, you were ever the creative idealist. We will miss your half-full glass.
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