Remembering Saaniya Jairath, India, ’06
On March 12th, 2016, Saaniya Jairath, or Saanu to many of us, passed away after almost a yearlong battle with cancer. Saaniya graduated from UWC Mahindra College in 2006 and went on to study Economics at Carleton College graduating in 2010. While working at Ernst & Young in Minneapolis she completed her Master’s in Business Administration from The Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.
Born on the First of April, 1988 Saaniya captured the essence of April Fool’s Day – everyday! She was fun, lively, and never hesitant to call your bluff, the life of a party and had reserves of energy that could light up a city. Saaniya was one of the first few people I met at MUWCI. Our journey started at Orientation Week and rehearsals for the First Year Show. We were to jive to Jailhouse Rock for the amusement of our co years and Second Years. Rehearsals were hilarious for her and embarrassing for me. My two left feet and all-boys-boarding-school awkwardness added to the chaos. Saaniya would patiently take me through the steps over and over again till I got it right; the entire time controlling her laughter and the urge to make fun of me. I still have two left feet and the all-boys-boarding-school awkwardness has worn off substantially – or so I think. However, Saaniya will always be the first girl I ever danced with.
As teenagers we loved dearly and fought bitterly. Exactly a year from our Jailhouse jive we were drafted to dance in the Second Year show. On the first night of rehearsal our friends had sensed we were not on talking terms and decided not to pair us together. I had struggled throughout rehearsal with my assigned partner and refused to look in Saaniya’s direction to see how she was doing. After rehearsal I went up to her, it was apparent she had been watching my failed attempts. Without letting me get half a sentence in she said in a half-cheeky half matter-of-fact tone, “Hormuz, if you say you are sorry, I’ll be your partner for the show.”
Saaniya’s energy, enthusiasm and love for life were never lost on me. If there was one way to describe her, I’d say she always had a twinkle in her eyes. She loved her friends immensely and was extremely loyal. She had a way of brightening up your day from thousands of miles away. On a fundraising website set up in her memory, someone had left a quote that perfectly describes how Saaniya wanted to be remembered.
“Remember me with smiles and laughter, for that is how I’ll remember you all. If you can only remember me with tears, then don’t remember me at all.”
A couple of years ago, I visited Saaniya and her family in her hometown of Calcutta, an experience I’ll never forget. For as long as I live, Calcutta will always evoke the fondest memories of Saaniya. Showing me her favourite parts of the city meant a lot to her. She was caring and thoughtful in so many ways. Every day was meticulously planned so I’d enjoy being in her city.
There was never a dull moment when you were around Saaniya. No time for being sad, unhappy or ungrateful. She taught us to enjoy every minute. She taught one of us to jive and all of us to love life. So until we meet again in another life, keep watching over us, remind us to laugh at the smallest of things and save me a dance.
Memorial Fundraising Website: https://www.youcaring.com/saaniya-jairath-543254
(Written by: Hormuz Masani, India, ’06)