Stellar Chariot

By Arun Neelakandan

Dear Nina

Dear Nina,

You gotta be shitting me. How the fuck can you be gone? I still don’t believe it. This has got to be a cruel, cruel joke. Someone please say it’s a joke…

I don’t think any words of mine can do justice.

Here I am, breathing in air. I feel guilty that you are no longer alive as I continue to live, as the world continues to operate in seeming oblivion, when such a lovely person as yourself is no longer with us. It makes me sick. You had so much more to give and so much life ahead of you.

You were awesome. A real cool cat. And this ain’t some platitude or cliche I’m just throwing out there — you were always out doing cool things with that radiant, smiling personality of yours. Oh man, that warm, authentic smile that creased the corner of your eyes. You seriously were awesome: going on adventures, concerts, conferences, sharing beautiful music and links, making people smile and genuinely caring about others. I had a tremendous amount of respect for you: you were the president of Macquarie University Computing Society (MUCS), you were a person of integrity — a rare find — you supported charities, you took care of your body, you were a vegetarian, you were patient, understanding and compassionate. Plus you had a brilliant sense of humour — uncovering the likes of The Oatmeal and The Darkness videos. You did things because you believed them to be just and you were genuinely interested in what you were doing. You did not buckle to society’s pressures.

Just the other day I saw some old photos of you popping up on my Facebook news feed and I thought what a wonderful person you are and admired you. I realise now why it popped up in my news feed — because some of your friends were going through old photos post this tragic event.

I had plans to do the City2Surf next year with you and possibly travel together (and to think I considered joining you on this trip to Nepal…) Gah! I just can’t believe it.

You were a model person — truly and sincerely — you were a model person.

I can shed a million tears and wish for you to come back all I want, but it’s a futile effort. I do hope that I stay alive until a time machine is invented so we can meet again. It is surreal to think a person can disappear so instantaneously. But you know what? You lived your life wholeheartedly and thoroughly. I shall try to do the same friend, I shall try to do the same.

Life is fucking volatile. This tragedy has demonstrated it so plainly and viscerally. We see death everywhere — in movies, in books, in music — but we don’t internalise the fact enough.

To all those that are reading this: go forth and be awesome like Nina before you’re dead. Get all your shit in order and do what you want to do. Be responsible, take care, but do shit.

My thoughts and my deepest, deepest condolences to everyone who knew you — particularly your family and Matt. Matt…I’m so sorry dude, so sorry.

You will be sorely missed dear friend. You have enriched so many lives. Rest in peace friend, rest in peace.