Remembering Minal Panchal


Minal Panchal, whose desire to become an architect like her late father, brought her to the picturesque campus of VirginiaTech. All was well till the morning of April 16th 2007 when she along with 30 other students and faculty, fell victim to the bullets fired by a fellow student. That’s when I like so many others around the world heard about Minal Panchal.

Google’s is a popular online community especially amongst Indians. Being an Indian myself, I had a strong hunch that Minal too would have an account on Orkut, which indeed was the case.

The scrap count was over 7000 when I first visited her profile, most of them from people offering condolences and prayers for her soul and the family she has left behind. This just a couple of hours after the media confirmed her passing. The entire world was queuing up to post their condolences, knowing that Minal would never get a chance to read any of them.

On revisiting her profile earlier today, I saw that people had never actually stopped posting, even 48 hours after her demise.

Like all humans, I too have a short memory. We remember tragedies only till the time the “next big story” captures the world’s attention. We then push the tragedy and anything related into the deep archives of our brains; only retrieving them on death anniversaries or birthdays.

But the departed’s family does have this luxury of once a year memoriams. My heart goes out to Meenal’s mother, who someday shall return to her family house in Mumbai where each brick of which will reverberate with Minal’s memories.

I pray to God that Cho Seung-Hui‘s parents are not made to suffer for what their son did on the fateful April morning.

Footnote: During the time I spent writing this post, Minal’s scrap count on Orkut has gone from 31,247 to 36,419 and increasing every minute!

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