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Brown Students Share Reminiscences of Missing Student Sunil Tripathi

Thursday, April 25, 2013

 

Brown University student Sunil Tripathi, in a photo shared by his family. He has been missing since March 16, 2013.

When Brown University student Sunil Tripathi was discovered missing on the weekend of March 16, his family quickly and bravely reached out to the local community and the world at large via social media to help locate their missing son/brother. As the Providence Police, the FBI, and concerned friends and citizens continue to work on finding Sunil, GoLocal asked family and friends who know Sunil to share reminiscences, thoughts, and wishes for their missing classmate and friend. 

(Originally published April 1, 2013)

"Sunil is my son and as you can imagine this is an unbelievable unfortunate situation. He is a kind, very thoughtful, sensitive, gentle, and caring person. He is a deep thinker and gets along with everyone. He is shy and quiet and feels that one does not need to say a lot. I hope we find him soon." -Akhil Tripathi

"What draws me to Sunil as a friend is his thoughtfulness, and the care with which he considers his thoughts before he puts words to them. There is also an unspoken kindness about him; he really believes in doing things rather than just saying them when it comes to kindness, making him all the more sincere. When my sister came to visit for the first time from Pakistan Sunil helped me set up my dorm bed so that it became a bunk bed almost single handedly, and he was one of the few friends of mine who really took the time out to speak to my sister and make her feel at home and comfortable in a new place. Another time when I was living off-campus the electricity in my room alone blew out, and my housemates were not around. It had been raining for some time and there was rain water in the basement where the fuse box was, as well as complete darkness. A little (very) disheartened by the general state of affairs, I started talking to Sunil, and he walked over from his house on Wickenden to my house on Barnes, a roughly 40 minute walk, in the rain, to help me out. In the end, it only took the flick of a switch, which was extremely embarrassing for me at the time, but his kindness that day makes the night very memorable. 
When I thought I had a dire problem with my spinal cord he would tell me my back pack was just too heavy and I needed to carry fewer books; when we ate in the dining hall I would help him pick something crunchy to eat at the end to make the meal feel complete (usually ended up being cereal). I miss walking around campus with him teasing him about wearing his bike helmet even when he walked his bike. I've been so lucky to share some good years with Sunil, along with his other friends. Hope to see you again very soon, I'm not done teasing, or complaining about my back, or picking crunchy food for you. There are too many good years, conversations and moments yet to come." -Fatima Aqeel

"I've known Sunil since Freshman year. We were both in the same chemistry course back in the Fall of 2008. We developed a strong sense of camaraderie as lab partners. We would tip our hats to each other when our experiments went well and commiserate together when they went awry and forced us to stay late. After CHEM0330, Sunil and I continued to have lunch together at the Ratty over the next two years (we both had a tendency to have late lunches, usually around 3pm/4pm). We also shared an apartment in the Summer of 2011. Having known Sunil for years as a classmate, roommate, and friend, I can honestly say that he was one of the nicest individuals I've met at Brown. He has a great sense of humor and got along well with everyone. He loves to bike, play the sax, and talk about philosophy. We all hope that he is safe, wherever he is." -Vincent Pham

"I first met Sunil through my close friends in his year, many of whom had lived with him at some point. Before I met him, they described him to me as "Sunil, our friend who eats things very slowly" - and it's true that Sunil tended to do things slowly and quietly. But everything he did was so meticulous and careful that even though he was never the loudest person in the room, he was still such an important part of our group everywhere we went. He took jokes really well, was incredibly funny in his own private way, and I loved living close by him/seeing him often for the last two summers I stayed in Providence.

I took leave from Brown last year for personal reasons, around the same time he first left school, and we talked about the feelings of being lost and disillusioned with academics and life in general. He is gentle and humble and never asks for attention or praise, but deserves it regardless. There is, honestly, absolutely nothing to dislike about him." -Yvonne Yu

"My parents, brother and I all know Sunil and the Tripathis as close family friends...Sunil’s disappearance has captured the attention of so many because the Tripathi’s have a supportive, loving family, though now with a missing part. Our family knows Sunil as a friend, one-time soccer player, and as a gifted musician. We share the Tripathi’s pain, we miss his beguiling smile and we pray for the return of our introspective, kind-hearted friend."
-Chris Megaw

"Sunil and I worked together at the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians in Philadelphia for a summer a couple of years ago. I'm extremely saddened by the news of his disappearance and it continues to upset me every day. I do hope he returns safely soon.

In the grand scheme of things, I didn't know Sunil that long or that well. My most significant memory of him was this time we had lunch together. I remember it being a beautiful day out. Sunil and I decided to eat our lunches outside the Comcast Center. As we sat down to eat, I started to ask him questions about himself, just very general questions about what he was studying and what his interests were. After answering the basic information, he interrupted me and said, "Can we sit here in silence?" At first I felt offended but then he said, "Let's just enjoy each other's presence." I thought it was so odd then, only because we didn't know each other that well. It seemed appropriate to me to try to strike up conversations. So we sat there in silence eating our lunches. Looking back on it, it was a peculiar interaction but what an experience. That's probably why I look back on my time knowing him with such fondness. I think he's a fascinating person."
-Van Huynh

"I haven't seen Sunil in a couple of years, and we only hung out a couple times in college. I knew him from years before, though, when we both went to the Litchfield Jazz Camp for a week the summer before high school. During that week we hung out a lot. I remember him being a really nice, chilled out guy, also pretty shy. At the camp they had us listening to an hour or two of live performances every night, which at that age could get pretty monotonous. There was one particular performance, though, which blew us both away. A small handful of amateur musicians, probably in their late teens, covered Lonely Woman by Ornette Coleman. This was the performance which really got me interested in music, and it must have made an impression of Sunil too because he brought it up when I ran into him sophomore year at Brown. Anyway, what I remember most about Sunil was our shared enthusiasm for that performance."
-Kyle Brine 

"Sunil was my suitmate in sophmore and junior year...(He's) Really nice - he's a quiet guy, but friendly. I was really surprised about him missing. Since I graduated from Brown, I haven't really talked to him for a year though."

-Former Brown student

"I met Sunil during my sophomore year at Brown. He was a quiet person, but I remember he had this constant smile throughout most of our conversation. I remember feeling encouraged by his smile. I cannot say we were friends; we mostly greeted each other around campus. In spite of that, this past summer, I took a late night bus from New York to Providence, arriving at around two in the morning. Sunil, it turned out, had been on the same bus ride and despite not knowing me too well, he offered to walk with me up College Hill. I was touched by his friendliness and again, his smiling face. I had forgotten about that encounter until I saw the news of his disappearance on Facebook. I have been struck by the news but at the same time, I've been amazed and inspired by the amount of support and attention the search for Sunil has galvanized. I wish him and his family the best."

-Lizette Chaparro

"Sunil was one of the first people I met at Brown. I remember going to Bed Bath & Beyond on the beginning of the first semester, and I met him on the intersection in front of the Providence Mall... he was friendly and smiling and at that time we didn't know we'll end up living together for three years. I got to know Sunil the most in my final year at Brown when we shared an apartment on Wickenden with three other friends. We had a cooking rotation, so the five of us ate together pretty much every night. Sunil was always so scientific when he cooked - he would find a recipe in a book, purchase all the ingredients, and then follow the recipe with patience and precision of a scientist...

So although Sunil is quiet, perhaps shy, his presence in our shared house was noticeable in a very special way. For some reason we started using "Sunil" as a verb... I can't define its meaning, but for us it made sense...I hope he'll be found."

-Emanuel Buzek

"I lived with/near Sunil my sophomore and junior year. It's hard to describe Sunil, because much of what characterized him for me is that he didn't stand out. Sunil is always passive- but passive in a way that was very likeable. His quirks and personality came out in a non-overt way so characteristic of Sunil. At the same time, he is also always a positive presence. There was rarely a situation in which I didn't enjoy having Sunil around. I can't imagine anyone not liking him.

Sunil is also very private. Most of the time when someone asked him a question, he would evade it, even for the most simple and banal questions (e.g., what's your favorite food?). He never did that in a way that was rude, though- most of us just took it as just one of his quirks."

-Andrew Lee

"Sunil is a good friend, and he and I were part of a group of five students who lived together for three years at Brown. Sunil is an amazingly kind soul, always willing to join in on silly projects and get into long discussions about the little details of life. I once spent the majority of a five-hour plane flight talking with him about the best way to create sudoku puzzles. He taught me how to adjust the breaks on a bike, to play Set and the Tripathi version of Egyptian Rat Screw... I miss his sincere humility and the love and care he pours into
 every little action in his daily life."

-Marie Atterbury

"He is one of the best listeners I know. Truly. He's so pensive and receptive. Junior year was great. It'd be around dinner time, and without fail, he'd pass through and say one word: 'Ratty?' I never felt like he expected anything from me, and I think that's one of the greatest things a friend can give someone--the feeling that I'm just fine the way that I am. He passes no judgment. He also has some of the sickest spin on a ping pong ball I've ever seen--particularly his backhand. It's ill."

-Michael Dilorio

"I lived with Sunil briefly this summer. He was a great roommate - very sweet, easy to talk to, and down to earth. He has a diversity of interests too, such as playing chess and reading biographies. It was surprising and heartbreaking to hear of his disappearance."

-Pam Wegener

"Sunil played saxophone with my son all through school. He is so talented in many ways, and a wonderful person. Our hearts and prayers are with him and his family."

-Barbara Press

"Sunil is a good friend and former roommate of mine. I've known him since my freshman year at Brown. He is quiet and reserved, but he always had a great passion for philosophy classes, music, and cooking together with our roommates. And I could always count on seeing him out on the quad with the Juggling Club on sunny days."

-Joe Rosner

"I knew Sunil through the context of the philosophy department--he came to events organized by the Philosophy DUG and sometimes we would have relevant spontaneous conversations in the Rock (second floor: he worked there when I knew him). I remember Sunil as soft-spoken and curious; he struck me as a gentle guy...I hope Sunil's okay, and I'm worried--only a few months ago Ryan Sims (Class of 2011) took his own life after battling depression and it is my hope that the other struggling students and alums I know receive the support they need."

-Sidney Gray

Sunil, who is six feet tall and weighs 130 pounds, was last seen on the weekend of March 16 wearing a black hat with a Philadelphia Eagles logo, thin black-rimmed glasses, a black ski jacket and jeans. Anyone with information on Sunil’s whereabouts should contact Detective Mark Sacco at 401-641-8691. Those in Providence wishing to lend support to the search for Sunil can email helpusfindsuniltripathi@gmail.com. Join the community via Facebook at Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi, here. 

 

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