Sudhaben Vashi lived a full multifaceted life. She was in equal measure a
devoted wife, a nurturing mother, a beloved sister, a brave globetrotting
adventurer, scientist and teacher, an accomplished painter and writer, and a
Born and brought up in the final years of the Indian Independence
Movement, her parents -- the noted Gujarati writer Ramnarayan Pathak and
mother Narmadaben Pathak, both ardent followers of Mahatma Gandhi --
instilled a strong sense of justice and fearlessness in her and her siblings:
Ushaben, her beloved “Didi”, Bhartiben, and brother Satishbhai.
She braved the prejudices of society by becoming the first female student
to earn a Presidential Scholarship to study abroad at the Hebrew University
of Jerusalem. Upon her return, she fell in love with and married Rameshbhai
Vashi, and raised two sons Mehul and Mihir.
As an agricultural scientist and marketing manager with Excel Industries,
she traveled all around the world, again defying the roles that kept women
from venturing outside their homes let alone their country.
In the late 90s she settled in America with her family, Mehul & Medha, Mihir
and Rameshbhai. However, she refused to simply sit at home and relax.
She devoted herself to work again as a Sales Associate with Sears,
performing her job with unsparing pride and energy.
Following the sad passing of her husband in 2008, she found renewed hope
and purpose in creating the Gujarati translation of her favorite
semi-autobiographical novel: Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen. She leaves
incomplete her latest endeavor, the Gujarati translation of Desiree a
historical novel set in the Napoleonic era. She also taught herself to paint,
mastering everything from Chinese watercolors to traditional Indian art
The sudden loss of her youngest sister, Bhartiben, was assuaged by the
arrival of her grandson Aayan in 2015. Rocking him to sleep with a lilting
lullaby, feeding him freshly made ghee-rotis, reading him stories and
playing with him, she was able to experience her life’s purest joys once
Her sudden, unexpected departure leaves us all -- her children, and her extended family and friends -- utterly bereft. Our only consolation is the
knowledge that she is at peace now, reunited with her husband and beloved
sister, and watching over us all, smiling her glorious smile, showering us
with her unconditional and pure love.