Love, light and life

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A tribute

Renu Fotedar, the Melbourne-based mountaineer who died in the recent Nepal earthquake, was remembered in a special prayer ceremony held on 28 April at the Sai Temple in Camberwell.

The 49-year-old was caught in the avalanche at Mt Everest that was triggered following the powerful earthquake that claimed thousands of lives. She leaves behind grieving husband Lokesh, and sons Tushar and Sahil.

Some 75 people gathered at the temple to remember Renu. They belonged not only to the Kashmiri community but also to the wider mainstream.

Sunil Raina, a close friend who organised the prayer meet with the Kashmiri Pandit Cultural Association, told Indian Link, “We will remember her as a brave woman, with much wisdom and knowledge. She led a spiritual and idealistic life.”

The Kashmir-born holistic counsellor had a special gift in reaching out to people and connecting with nature.

She was passionate about guiding people to find their inner strengths, particularly women and children, to whom she could relate beautifully. She developed programs incorporating ancient mediation techniques with modern methods, and was in the process of taking her personal development programs to Indian universities.

Renu finished a tertiary degree here in Australia before setting up a business in holistic healing.

She was very popular and kept up her friendships here even though she had recently moved to Switzerland with her family.

“She touched many people’s lives with her positive personality, and was always cool and calm and glowing with inner peace,” Raina recalled. “It was infectious. Aise insaan bahut kum hote hain, aur bahut jald Bhagwan ko pyaare ho jaate hain. (There are very few people of her ilk, and God takes them too soon). We will remember her as forever smiling, always charming, and as someone whose favourite words were ‘love, light and life’.”

Her husband Lokesh is a very successful businessman, but she stood out in her own right, touching everyone with her own special magic, he added.

Anjali Takkar, a close friend who attended the prayer meet, remembered Renu as a friendly and kind-hearted person who quickly mingled with the Kashmiri community upon arrival in Australia. She told Indian Link, “She was in love with nature, and with life. She wanted to enjoy every bit of life thoroughly.”

Renu loved travelling and had trekked in the Himalayas before, travelling to the Amarnath shrine. “She loved a challenge, yes,” another friend Swati Dave recalled fondly.

“As a long-time devotee of Lord Shiva, it is significant that she breathed her last in the Himalayas, the abode of Shiva himself,” Raina observed.

Rest in peace, Renu Fotedar.

Rajni Anand Luthra