Friday, March 11, 2016

RIP, Ramesh Mahadevan

Ramesh Mahadevan, a close friend from my grad school days, passed away last night. I'm posting a quick note here to alert some of his friends who are also among this blog's readers.

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His hilarious take on the curious subculture of desi grad students in the US in the 1980s (originally posted at the soc.culture.indian group) earned him a huge fan following. Those of us who had the great fortune to interact with him personally also got to experience his sensitive and compassionate side. Personally, he has been a source of strength ever since we met way back in 1985. I'll miss him a lot.

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Ramesh has been mentioned in several posts here. Right at this moment, his website -- is not working, which is a pity; however, his blog has some of his writing since his return to India.


  1. chitta said...

    RIP. His writings can be found in the web archive*/*.

  2. Anant said...

    I am very sorry to hear this. I knew him from the soc.culture.indian days.
    Whom the Gods love die young.

  3. Nappinnai NC said...

    Its unbelievable. Spoke to him two weeks back and I was thinking to call him yesterday. What a tragedy. He was a great spirited guy. He would always ask whats happening in US. I just have no words to express the sadness. Whoever knew his mind/views/ideas personally, will definitely miss him.

  4. Mohan Balasubramanian said...

    Hi Abinandan, this is Mohan, Ramesh's cousin. We have met in Pittsburgh and also in Anna Nagar.
    Huge shock for the entire family. I saw him in January and he seemed perfectly fine.
    I have spent all of the last 24 hours reading his posts.

  5. Vijay Sethuraman said...

    Abi, I don't know him personally but I read through his blog posts. Anybody that spent time in the US in a grad-school setting will enjoy them immensely. I found his writings here:

    Certainly a great loss and more so to those who knew him personally. RIP.


  6. test said...

    My deep condolences to his family.May his soul rest in peace. As a graduate student I and many others used to enjoy his postings in soc.culture.indian. Later on Ramesh mailed me a diskette of his writings. I will never forget him and his writings.

  7. Nanda said...

    RIP. Condolences to the family. Truly, he kept us from going crazy under graduate study pressure during the 80's and 90's. Anyone know what happened and how old he was?

  8. Rasikara Rajya said...

    I just can't believe it. It is so sad! I am even hoping it is not true.
    Those days there was only text based emails and there were internet news groups. There was soc.culture.india and some other groups like that. The Indians in US and some other parts of the world were connected through these news groups. It was mostly graduate students who had come from India who were active on these groups - the University email accounts helped. This was the practice ground where many of us started writing - especially armed with our new experience in the new place we had just entered. The news groups were very popular and we would eagerly wait for any update on these newsgroups just like we would wait for the morning paper in India the day after an exciting win for the Indian cricket team.

    Of all the people who wrote on those news groups, Ramesh Mahadevan was my favorite. It was such a solace to read his articles when I was feeling home sick as a new arrival in the US. He was very knowledgeable and his observations of life of Indians in the US - - especially student life in US were spot on. His write ups on music, movies, food, TV programs were pure pleasure to read. He could write recipes which resulted not only in a tasty dish but would tickle you with the humor in it. I vividly remember his recipe for a dish made with Cauliflower which he called the king of vegetables. His series titled "A gentle introduction to Karnatic music" is both educative and humorous.

    His brand of humor was unique. I not only enjoyed reading his writings but I have been inspired to write like him.

    I hope he regales everyone around him - wherever he is.

  9. Raju Ramanujan said...

    I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dr Ramesh Mahadevan. My condolences to the family and friends. I recall that he had some health issue with his heart.I knew him at CMU in the 1980's and greatly enjoyed his posts on the soc.culture.indian site, especially his n+1 and come sometime,come anytime posts. Ramesh,Aswin Iyengar and a few other noble souls kept us connected in those pre-internet days.

    On a personal level,he was always gentle,modest and always cheerful. I wanted to re-read his posts and traced him back to India. We had a couple of email exchanges and he invited me to visit and learn more about his social service activities. We will miss him.

  10. Ajai Banerji said...

    I second Rasikara's comments. Just to add that I knew Ramesh from IIT Kanpur and that he was the moving force behind an unofficial humour magazine called "Cheshire Cat"(typically 4-8 pages cyclostyled) which appeared in 1976-78.

  11. Shivkumar Kalyanaraman said...

    Really sad to hear this news... I enjoyed Ramesh articles a lot. A couple of us also met him once in Columbus.. I have also used his intro to carnatic music series as the starting point for a carnatic music archive site..

    Still cant believe he is no more. RIP Ramesh. You were our mirror.

  12. Raam Sangem said...

    So Sad to read this. Sincere condolences to Ramesh's family. fully concur with all of the above users comments. I had the good fortune of receiving nice emails from him after he moved back to India.

  13. mayura said...

    Very sorry to hear the demise of Ramesh. A great writer and he also was into social service after he moved back to India. I also remember some IITans along with Ramesh dabbled in politics and contested the state assembly elections in TN. May the almighty give his family strength to bear this loss. Rest in peace RM.

  14. Rajeev Pillai said...

    Deeply saddened by this news. I have read most of his articles and laughed a lot. He brought a different perspective to life in these United States. Stories of Ajay P. The Bong genius, Raavi Ravishankar comes to mind. May his soul Rest in Peace.

  15. Sridhar Venkataraman said...

    Sad to hear about Ramesh's demise. I had been witness to his posts on soc.culture.indian in the early 90s and was in touch with him for some career advice in Oct. 2011 when he did share some of the wisdom regarding that.

    An amazing writer in documenting the experiences of Indian graduate students and their parents. Never had an opportunity to meet him in person unfortunately.

  16. bhsheshadri said...

    Only the good die young.
    I am a huge fan of Ramesh's writings. When the website was still working, his phone number was listed in it. I called him on that number and told him I was a big fan of his satiric articles. First thing he told me was 'As I have said earlier, do not read them when you are free, read them with deadlines staring at you'.
    Will miss him a lot. - BHS