March 24, 2002 — September 25, 2022
Silver Taps: Meghana Devi Kodali
A brilliant student and with a heart for helping others
After graduating from Bellaire High School as a Brown Scholar and a National Merit semifinalist, Meghana came to Texas A&M with aspirations to become a doctor. Meghana was a student researcher at A&M and a research assistant at Baylor College of Medicine, while also working as a camp counselor with children with special needs at the Children’s Association for Maximum Potential.
On top of her passion for the sciences, Meghana was flexible in her studies — she also wrote for the Eckleburg Project, A&M’s literary journal. The last piece she wrote for the journal was “Fish Market,” last October.
Meghana indulged in the arts and played violin while also doing classical Indian dance, both in high school and while at A&M. International studies sophomore Ria Pawa danced with Meghana and said she who made her feel like she belonged.
“She made the effort to ask me to hang out one-on-one, she wanted to know my thoughts, and she validated my thoughts and choices in career when others had not,” Pawa said to the Houston Chronicle.
Rantha Kumar was Meghana, as well as her 16-year-old sister Nikhila’s, Indian dance instructor for six years. Kumar said everything about Meghana was perfect.
Kumar said throughout her time knowing Meghana and her family, they became extremely close. Meghana and Kumar had a deep relationship that was more than just teacher and student.
“Meghana had a great sense of humor, and we would laugh at a lot of things. I would tease her, and she would laugh,” Kumar said. “My students call me ‘Auntie,’ because they think of me as not just a teacher but someone as a member of the family. And that’s what I considered myself. I considered myself a member of their family, even their mother had become very, very close to me.”
Kumar said after lessons, she and Meghana, along with her mother and her sister, would chat for hours — not just about dance, but also about their lives.
“Their mom would tell me, ‘Oh my god, Meghana is so stubborn, she won’t listen to me,’ and I would say, ‘Meghana, are you stubborn?’” Kumar said. “Meghana said, ‘No Auntie, that’s what my mom keeps telling everybody, it’s not true.’ We laughed and I told her mom, ‘Don’t worry. If you want anything done, tell me, I’ll ask her. She’ll listen to me.’ I’m very happy and proud that she respected me that much to listen to me — it was not just a joke. Meghana had not just love but a lot of respect for me, and I’m so glad that we had that mutual affection for one another.”
Kumar said many of her students reject their Indian culture — but not Meghana.
“Meghana and her sister never complained, they loved dressing up and wearing Indian clothes,” Kumar said. “When they went to any Indian event, they were so traditional. They never lost sight of their roots either culturally or religiously or any other way. That was quite amazing that they respected their traditions, and we’re quite proud of it. They transition from one culture to the other with ease. Meghana looked so beautiful in her Indian outfit.”
Kumar said Meghana was lovely, inside and outside, intelligent and bright in every way. Meghana had a promising future ahead of her, taking the best from both her backgrounds.
“Everything about her was perfect,” Kumar said. “She was so pretty, so intelligent. She was a very good child. She was a wonderful blend between Indian and American cultures — a perfect blend. She learned the best from both of her cultures.”
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