PRITA K. SHALIZI

Obituary
  • "Still enjoying Prita's calendar photos. I can see her..."
    - Lynn Gary
  • "Dear Baro, My condolences to you! A prayer for your family...."
    - Rose Lopez-Brown
  • "Our dear Prita left us with SO many memories of her smile,..."
    - Lynn Gary
  • "Dear Baro and Tahmina, your mother was a blessing to all..."
    - Aggie Chavez
  • "Your mother inspires us to be kind to each other. My..."
    - Dia Winograd

PRITA K. SHALIZI September 4, 1918 witnessed the birth of an amazing individualPrita Shireen Kumarappa. Born in Palamcotta, India, she lived in many states of what was British India before sailing in 1936 with her sister to the US to attend college at a time when it was rare for women to get a higher education, much less live continents away from home. In the US she attended Pine Manor, Purdue, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Barnard College before enrolling in a PhD program at Columbia University, NY. There she met and later married an Afghan, Abdussattar Shalizi. With the end of WWII, the young couple returned to Afghanistan, which even then was a remote, materially poor but culturally rich country. There they raised their five children and Prita wrote a book, Here and There in Afghanistan to share her love of her new home with the outside world. In 1972, a few months prior to the collapse of the monarchy in Afghanistan, Prita returned to the US to live with her oldest son and daughter-in-law in Boston. In 1975 they moved to Bethesda, MD and in 1988 she moved permanently to Santa Fe where her other four children had taken residence. Her uniqueness cannot be captured in words. PK or Mummy-jan, as her family affectionately called her, was a noble soul, who always carried herself with poise, elegance, and strength. Everyone who met her was touched and transformed by the dignity of her character. She was an inspiration of what it is to be a strong, forward thinking woman. She lived a life of grace, always able to find the best in every person and every situation she encountered, be it elegant and pleasant or adverse and painful. She was unflappable, bringing calm wherever she went. She lived in many distinct cultures and subcultures, learning, adapting, and forming lifelong friendships in every location. Prita listened to everyoneyoung and old, rich or poorwith the same absolute attention. She never intruded into the affairs of other people, yet became the natural person to turn to when in doubt or in trouble. She was a pacifist, quiet and gentle, avoiding unnecessary conflict, yet was always there for the underdog and the weakcontinuing a long family tradition of dedication to the education and service of others. Fascinated by all the world offered, she traveled to over 33 countries, her pen and camera always close at hand to capture the beauty surrounding her. For her 90th birthday she took a trip from Turkey to Western China and later wrote a book which included over two hundred of her photographs chronicling the then and now of the Silk Route. She had an exquisite eye for things beautiful, and her world travels allowed her to shop for distinctive gifts for family and fortunate friends. A voracious reader, she read anything and everything that was well written and enjoyed discussing literature, art, and world events. Prita's smile could melt the heart of even the most stoic, her kindness a beacon to all. Her wit and dry sense of humor were captivating. Though she had broken bread with Kings and Presidents, she remained humble and unassuming throughout her lifea role model to all who met her. As one friend put it, "Such a tiny woman who was a brilliantly shining light to all who were honored to meet her." Another said, "Indeed an angel walking among us." Her personality and gentleness were timeless. A friend recently said, "We just assumed she would always be with us." A mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt, and friend, she will be missed by all who knew her, but the memories she left us with will never fade. On Monday, April 4, 2016 at 5:00 pm, Prita in her quiet, serene way, slipped out of this world to discover new horizons. The extended Shalizi family would like to thank you all for your kind thoughts and support. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to any of Prita's favorite charities: Mouth and Foot Artists; Cystic Fibrosis; Disabled Veterans; and Easter Seals. A celebration of her remarkable life will be held at her son's home, 2199 Candelero Street, Santa Fe, NM 87505 on Saturday, June 11, starting at 5:00 pm.
Published in Santa Fe New Mexican from Apr. 15 to Apr. 24, 2016
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