Earlier this summer, family and friends mourned the loss of Queen’s student and member of the Quidditch team, 18-year-old Achintya Garikaparthi.
Garikaparthi tragically passed away on July 27 at the age of 18 in a three-car collision in his hometown of Nassau, Bahamas.
He’d recently completed his second year as a Commerce student. In high school, he skipped a grade, allowing him to come to Queen’s a year early.
Despite his young age, Garikaparthi embraced the university experience and quickly found a place on the Quidditch team. He was set to be the treasurer for the club this coming year.
Former Quidditch Team Captain Sam McCaul said that teammates would often rib Garikaparthi for his age—largely because he acted older than it.
“He was like our young guy. We’d go, ‘Oh, Chinny, our little team baby.’ But he never acted like it—he was so mature for his age. He never hated it,” McCaul said. “He was a good kid—really good kid.”
McCaul said she spoke for every member on the team when describing him as “an absolute great energy to be around.”
“He was very friendly, always giving you hugs [and was] always excited to see you,” she said.
Alongside the kindness and love Garikaparthi’s friends said he was able to spread, his competitive drive was an understated quality that his teammates witnessed almost exclusively.
According to teammate and friend, Eric Irwin, Garikaparthi was a kind and warm friend off the field. But on the field, he had a fire within him.
“He was a completely fearless player,” Irwin said. “There’d be guys twice his size and he’d try to take them down in a tackle.”
McCaul recalled last year’s National Championships, which were held by Quidditch Canada. In the middle of one of their games—where the Gaels found themselves down early and low on energy—Garikaparthi landed one of the biggest hits some of his teammates had seen all season.
“He was running down a really good tackler mid-run and we were all just like, ‘Oh my god, how did he do that?’” McCaul said.
As Garikaparthi became close to his teammates throughout their two years together, they learned a handful of little-known things about him that added even more colour to his character.
Of the little tidbits of information he shared with his friends, the explanation behind his first name—Achintya—was a perfect reflection of himself. His last name translates to the phrase “Hakuna Matata,” a familiar saying that translates to, “No worries.”
“He very much lived up to that,” McCaul said. “He had that ‘no worries’ kind of attitude.”
To honour Garikaparthi’s legacy, the Quidditch team elected to retire the number 13—the number he wore over his two years at Queen’s.
“It was a pretty obvious thing to do,” McCaul said, reflecting on Garikaprthi’s impact on the team’s bond. “Our team really is a family … losing someone is really, really difficult for all of us.”
“He was a great, great part of our little family.”
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