Swarna Chalasani

Swarna  Chalasani
World Trade Center

Peripatetic Adventurer


When Swarna Chalasani traveled — and she traveled a lot — it was never simply a vacation. It was an adventure.

She rode white-water rapids in Colorado. She backpacked through Thailand. She taught herself Japanese and Spanish to prepare for her trips abroad. She read voluminously about her destinations weeks before she left.

Ms. Chalasani was a vice president at Fiduciary Trust and was last seen on the 94th floor of 2 World Trade Center on the day of the attack. She would have celebrated her 34th birthday today.

Her first name means "gold" in Hindi, though her family called her Minny. "She was the smallest of the three girls, and the cutest," her sister, Sandhya, said.

If she had a taste for the exotic, she also had a knack for making her home into a comfortable palace. There were beautiful paintings and shelves full of books. There were plants and scented candles. "She treated these things likes sacred objects," her mother, Lakshmi, said.

The lost echoes of her full-throated laughter. The memory of her smile across the dinner table. Her postcards mailed from distant countries. This is all that remains of Ms. Chalasani.

Her family guards them like the sacred objects they have now become.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 30, 2001.




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