The independent news organization of Duke University

Letter: Remembering Raj: Talent, energy, compassion for all

letter to the editor

I want Raj to be remembered by the way he lived and not by the way he died. Raj was such an incredible person, and I am so thankful to have known him and I will always cherish the time we spent together. He was always better with words than me, so I'm trying to do him justice now. I will miss his laugh and his smile so much. His laugh would literally fill a room, and I couldn't help but smile when he did. No one had more energy than Raj and no one could hype a group up like him. He was the brightest person in every room. He was social and good with people, and he made everyone around him happier. 

He was incredibly talented at everything he did. He was the best dancer and would sing absurdly well when we were just driving around. He was so innovative and smart. He talked about his projects with such passion. I remember being in the library last minute studying for a midterm on a Saturday night. He came up behind me and surprised me. He sat down and worked, despite having both a mixer for his frat and a party for his friend's birthday that night. He didn't have to be working but he was so passionate about his project that he was doing to help the school, where he was making the chairs in WU and Perkins be motion-sensored, so you could see which chairs were taken. We worked quietly for about 20 minutes, and suddenly he burst into noise because he was so excited. I remember telling him to be quiet and he told me to get up and try the chair. 

We both celebrated when I sat down and saw the 0's on the screen turn to 1's. And that's who he was. He never stopped innovating and thinking about how he could make the world better, even on a Saturday night when he should have already left to go out. Raj was also so optimistic. For example, he would always try to get a spot in the Miracle Lot. He always went for it, even though I would tell him nothing would be open, and nothing was ever open. I never once saw him get a spot, but I also never once saw him give up on trying. 

There was another side to Raj. He was genuinely the sweetest, most caring person out there. When I would talk about him, I'd always describe him as a sweetheart. He would make my day with "I miss you" and random compliments. Sometimes he'd stop me in the middle of what I was saying just to say something incredibly wonderful, and I'd pretend to be annoyed that he wasn't listening, but he and I both knew how happy they would make me. He would ask me to slow dance when we were by ourselves and laying around, "just because." He was always there to listen and would want to know what was wrong. He was welcoming and friendly to everyone, even people who barely knew him. When we'd walk around, he would say hi to a different person like every five seconds. He was just so loved because everyone could tell how genuine and amazing of a person he was. 

I will miss him; we will all miss him. Even the dumb things he did, like leave his food half finished and put it in the fridge, only to never eat it, or put on Toes just to do the dance. Or, the "fights" we had about whether or not J. Cole was good. Or how he would always offer his sweatshirt or coat and say he wasn't cold when he was. Or the way he'd shout random things during our dances to hype everyone up. Or how he didn't wear socks on a daily basis, even though he had them. I would always ask why, but it just wasn't the look he said. 

Or how he would always make a noise when he was happy, like a little hum, and when he got really happy he would do a little shimmy. Or how we would always start a movie but actually never finished one together. I mean why didn't we just continue to watch the one from last time instead of starting over? I could go on and list all the little things that made Raj special and himself, but I'll stop myself before I embarrass him. 

Raj, I will never forget you. You deserved the world. Thank you for always taking care of me and everyone around you. We would've made the best memories, but luckily we already have some of the best memories. You made me so so happy, and your memories continue to make me happy. 

See you in chemistry. 

Sarah Chang is a Trinity first-year.


Share and discuss “Letter: Remembering Raj: Talent, energy, compassion for all” on social media.