I Just Want To Be Me

21 November is Aru’s birthday. She would have been 27 today.

I want to share one of her poems today. She wrote this on 28 Jul 2006 at the “SEEK 2006” Creative Writing Contest. 2 songs were played, she had to choose one, take the theme from it and write the poem.

I Just Want To Be Me

Every person is born with a dream
But realize it, few can
For everyone gives up his dream
And takes on that of another man.

You mould your life, your work, your dream
You mould it to fit another man
You do not give yourself a chance
To stretch your wings, to show you can.

Why are you hiding yourself behind a mask?
A mask just like the others are wearing?
Why are you leaping around like a puppet
To a tune to which others are dancing?

Why can’t you see, hear, feel
Why can’t you experience things the way you want to?
Why must you always go with the world,
Flow with the tide when not wanting to?

I can’t do that, I can’t kill myself
Slowly, hour by hour, day by day
Caged in a prison I have created
Trying to keep those dreams, now monsters, at bay.

Because I don’t want to be what others make me
I don’t want to be anything other than what I want to be
I don’t want to be anything other than what I’m trying to be lately
I just want to be me.

[2nd and 3rd line from the last stanza were taken from the song]

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Arundhati – The Morning Star

In February, this year,  we brought out a book. This is a selection of Aru’s thoughts and ideas reflected in her stories, poems, scripts, and sketches. It has a few tributes from the people she touched. A tiny part that we share, and, in doing so, hope to keep her memory alive and give you a glimpse into our morning star. The picture above is the cover page designed by Ms. Manjiri Sabnis.
Do read an article in SiyaWoman about Aru and her foundation.
Aru’s writings will soon be published every Friday on this site.   A big thank you to Lakshmi Ananthamurthy and Namita of SiyaWoman for your encouragement.
Update :  Selected writings from Aru’s book can be seen here on SiyaWoman
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Thank you for your support and kindness.
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Thank You, Dr. Kelini Saolapurkar

Earlier this year, Kelini Saolapurkar graduated with flying colours from the MVJ Medical College. She won a gold medal in Forensic Medicine accompanied by a prize of Rs 10,000.

In a magnanimous gesture, Dr. Kelini has donated her prize money to The Arundhati Foundation.

Here is a little note that she wrote to share her sentiments


Aru and I are family friends.  From childhood, although we never got much time to spend with each other, we still managed to make some sweet memories..

Although she was only 2 years older to me, there was a different calmness she used to exude. Her ways, and the things she used to talk about always made her seem way more elder, for me.

Back in our childhood, when we were barely teenagers, both our families went for a short trip, and the care and affection she showed to her little brother caught my eye. So much compassion for a girl barely 13 years back then …

When we both started MBBS, we got in touch and got opportunities to make more memories .. I happened to join my course a month later due to counselling schedules and it was she who guided me in my first few days in this profession, where I had no idea how to go about covering the backlog of the days I had lost.

She seemed so perfectly calm about the way she guided and dealt with things, I used to wonder how she managed so much without getting into a panic !!

She not only helped me, she also helped my friend Sanjana through MBBS while they studied in the same college.
Although we got busy in our own lives, these few instances had sowed seeds of deep respect in my heart for her..

I still have the books she gave me and I remember her every now and then.

For being the one who helped me thru my first few days in medicine, she was like my launch pad launching me into MBBS and inspiring me to work hard persistently and still stay humble as ever !

She was one of the first few people who called me “Kelu”, and I called her “Aru”.
We were Aru and Kelu for each other and so we shall always remain.


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Aru's Sketch For Mumbai

Remembering Mumbai 26/11

Sharing a sketch Aru had done when Bombay( Mumbai) was under seige. A time when terrorists went about shooting innocent people..holding a city and a country to ransom.
Brave police and a young Major lost their lives along with innocent people.
I feel that Aru’s sensitive depiction shows her talent as artist and the gentle , caring person that she … . Yes, she is ..
I have been searching for this picture for almost a year. Curiously, I found it today. What a coincidence!
Medium: Charcoal…she loved using charcoal.

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Captain of voyagers

A note from Amrita Maheshwari

Aru, Captain of the Voyager House!

I’m glad I could capture this moment.. We love you for the girl you were…simple, humble and extremely loving with a beautiful smile on your face which would cheer up everyone around you!

Even today when I eat Shrikhand, you are the first person I think of since you always ate all the shrikhand in my dabba!

I miss dancing with you, our antakshari competitions….you sang “chura liya hai tumne…” so beautifully….There are so many good things about you… I can go on and on….

You made each of us proud in many different ways with everything you did ! We love you and miss you a lot Aru!

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A letter to Aru from her friend Kiruthiga

Dearest Aru,
You are being remembered today, by many many people whom you touched…
People who you care about, people who care about you and those people who were not lucky enough to have met you when you were here..
In those lives that you brought changes for the good..
Do you know what you ‘are’?
“Hard working, sincere, simple and great”
“A multi-talented girl, a dancer, a poet, an artist and a gold medallist”
One of my friend says, ‘I have never met a person like her in my life, such talent, yet so humble and sweet’
A prof says, “How I wish I had spoken to her atleast once, I feel so bad I couldn’t”
“She always had that keen sharp look in her eyes, sparkling.. wanting to know and willing to work”
“Dr Arundhati never treated us as technicians (technologists), She was never bossy”
“Oh she would just run for the classes.., skipped lunch every day, God knows where she has got the energy from”
“Sweet little Angel she was, with a smiling face always”
“Down to earth, ready to help, always, no matter what/when”
“Silent and smart”
“A great teacher, an inspirer”
‘I have known her for a very short time, but the impact she has created in my life is huge’
“At 23, she did so much that I feel ashamed of myself, having not done anything”
“I have not seen her, I don’t know her, but from what others tell about her, I understand she was a great soul and I respect her for that”
‘‘Aru will never be forgotten………….’’
‘Aaiee’ says, “ I MISS YOU MY DEAR CHILD………”
Please come back Aru, wherever you have gone to..
Pack up and just come back, it is a year now….and don’t you think it is time to get back home?
We miss you….Aru..
Love you lot

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Aru in a playful moment

It’s been a year …

So it’s been a year since our Aru has left us…a year of pain, emptiness and longing. A year of going from one moment to the next in a vacuum.

There have been a few people who have really walked the difficult path with us. To them, we owe our gratitude. And then there are others who have told us how she has changed them in many different ways to make them better people.

Her friend Jasiya tells me that she feels blessed to have her in her life because she learnt a few things from her. Not to waste food, to switch off all the lights and fan before leaving a room and be extra protective about people one cares about. She says that Aru is a legend and legends never die.
Keertana and Shilpa and Monisha miss her a lot.
Payal Urs remembers her as the only person who used an ink pen and says she learnt a lot from her .
Mahdiyya related fond memories which showed how much she cares about Aru..
These and many such stories make us feel proud that our daughter indeed touched the lives of many people around her..

When Aru joined Sdumc and started living away from home. She missed us so much and so I told her to always watch the moon as we would be watching it too. And it would connect her to us…
I watch the moon everyday and I know that the moon sees her too..

I end this with a quote which Aru loved

I see the moon and the moon sees me,
And the moon sees the somebody I want to see,
God bless the moon and God bless me ,
And God bless the somebody I want to see!

Thank you Aru for choosing baba and me to be your parents
Thank you for giving us a precious 23 years
You were, you are and will always be our pride, inspiration and joy.
Our universe and our heart beats.

Lots and lots of love my dear
Aaiee and Baba

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Aru Continues To Inspire

In her short life, Aru has inspired each one of us to do our deeds to the best of our capacity. She was so unique in so many ways. Whether it was dancing, reading, studying or a mundane thing like polishing her shoes. She did everything with utmost dedication.
No chore was small enough or less important..

Close to her first death Anniversary, her paternal grandfather Mr A.s Tambwekar has brought out his fourth technical book for marine engineers. Nana, as he was fondly refered to by Aru and all of us will turn 79 this December.

He has dedicated this effort to his grand daughter. This post is not to promote the book but to bring out the fact that nobody whose life was touched by my child is left unaffected. At an age where most people ‘ retire’ Aru’s grandparents who eagerly looked forward to bringing home a grand son in law have re -dedicated themselves to her memory. Working towards something that meant a lot to her. Whether it is writing a book, looking after patients or first aid lectures. They are out there doing whatever they can. Her maternal grandmother is out giving lectures on First Aid at safety training institute, her maternal grandfather is involved in patient care .

Today’s post is honoring Aru’s grandparents Dr Ramesh and Dr Ratnaprabha Dhume , Mr Achyut and Mrs Anita Tambwekar.

Their beloved grand child continues to inspire them from the blue beyond.
We miss you dear child…but we will try and see that your goodness lives on by doing whatever little we can.

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This was written by Aru’s paternal grandfather – Achyut S. Tambwekar.

When Aru was born, he wanted to name her Soudamini, i.e. lightning. He reflects on this, saying “she shined, and vanished, leaving all of us behind”.

The poem evokes strong emotions in us. Nana wrote this soon after Aru passed away. It is only now that we have gathered the courage to share this broadly.

The word नेति means ‘Not only this, there is still a lot more to say’.




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Sriya Vishalakshy’s tribute to Aru

In continuing with the series on tribute to Arundhati, I share today this lovely letter written by Sriya to me on Aru’s birthday. This letter gives a glimpse to the lovely person that Aru was

Sriya and Aru literally grew up together at National Public School, Indiranagar.

Sriya writes, and I quote


“I wanted to write about Aru on her birthday but I am not confident about my English writing skills so I am sending this as a message…She was awesome in everything she did. I used to have so many names for her….’Thumbalina, Sita mata, delicate darling..

When the entire school was using ballpoint pens, gel pens, Aru was the only one who still used to bring ink pen with a rag! After every exam her fingers used to have ink on them and I used to ask her to use a ball point pen atleast now. But no! she always had her own style.

We used to sit next to each other in class for as long as I can remember,and sports was her only weakpoint. Everytime she passed the ball to the next person, she always used to move to the right.

I remember fighting with the teachers for not giving her the badge for the English Association Vice President because she deserved it the most. I was boiling and yelling while she was so calm and said, ” Its OKAY! Whats there?” I was so shocked at her calmness and that is when I named her ‘Sita mata’

Her uniform used to be wrinkle -free even after an entire day at school, so I usd to ask her, “Hey ARU! does your mum come during lunch -break and secretely iron your clothes? Cause it is impossible not to have a wrinkle on them” She always smiled even though I used to irritate her so much!

During the 10th Standard, I was the one who was unruly , loud, not at all disciplined. Which was the exact opposite of how Aru was…so invariably , the teachers made me and her sit together so that I could learn a thing or two from her. She was so delicate that even if you held her hand tight, it would go red. And her RECORD notes! Oh my God! Those were the best I have seen in my life!

The only time I remember her not getting a book was when she was absent on one day and packed the wrong time-table.

Never have I seen ARU borrow anything from anyone..but she ALWAYS gave what she had…from LOVE to a LAB COAT!

Always before time for everything…such a perfect record!

YES! I had given her a candle to celebrate her first date..because I knew that the guy who would date her would be a LUCKY LUCKY man ..since its the first date he wouldn’t know much but still I always wanted that one moment be as special as possible for her because she deserved to be loved extra0rdinarily.

Sometimes , her little things come crashing down upon me when I am at a signal…a simple ink pen at a store…

I am not that good at writing…I used to ask  her to check if the punctuations and everything else was correct. But for her, I am willing to go beyond my weakness and write that perfect paragraph for the perfect girl.

She was special and will always continue to be special….”


My dearest Sriya, I weep today, reading your sincere , simple, touching letter written from the heart…I am not as good as our Aru in English or poetry…but like Aru, feelings matter to me way beyond anything else.


It is a treasured relic for her and us, her parents….it lies half used ….half burnt so symbolic of a beautiful life snuffed before time..

Thank you dear SRIYA for your love, words and the candle……


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