When Kishan Sheth failed to show up for work last Thursday at Govinda’s Café and Gallery, the owner, Hari, grew worried.
Whether for work or for a get-together with his friends and family, Sheth, 19, was always punctual, always on time.
Hari, a Hari Krishna monk, is extremely careful when away from his restaurant, as he was last Thursday while attending a religious service.
He usually calls in to see if everything is running smoothly, but he knew Sheth was expected to set and open the dining room as he always does.
Sheth never made it to work that day.
The sophomore business major had committed suicide, jumping from a window in a stairwell on the ninth floor of Anderson Hall at approximately 4:42 p.m., Temple police said.
Sheth left behind his mother and father, Rita and Dimit, who live in Blue Bell. He was an only child.
Sheth lived with several other students on the 1100 block of Mount Vernon St.
Police said that they did not know the reason behind the suicide and no note was found.
“There was a direct witness that walked into the stairwell and saw what was going on as well as witnesses outside,” Temple Police Lieutenant Robert Lowell said.
Lowell also stated that Sheth used a five-pound dumbbell to break the glass and cleared the shards before he jumped.
“It was very tragic and the family was traumatized upon hearing the news,” Lowell said.
Sheth’s funeral was held last Sunday in Lansdale, where more than 750 friends and family gathered to mourn for Sheth, his mother said.
“He had a wonderful personality, no doubt,” she said.
“He never hurt anybody, he never wanted to hurt anybody. He was very loving and caring – it’s very hard to find a character in the whole world like his.”
Sheth was your typical teenager, according to his mother and co-workers.
He loved music and playing the guitar, Rita said, and would write and sing his own songs.
He attended a countless number of concerts and enjoyed dancing.
He also had a passion for photography and had some of his work awarded by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, according to his mother.
“He was a gifted child, right from the beginning he was a gifted child,” Rita said.
Some of the gifts he shared with friends and family were his colorful personality and honesty.
“He was very funny, he could make a friend with anyone and he could help anybody. He could make friends easily,” Rita said.
“Anybody, if he had one piece of bread, he would give it to you. If he sees that you’re hungry, he wouldn’t worry about himself, he would give it to you.”
His generosity stretched beyond his family. One of his favorite pastimes was reading and early last week Sheth lent one of his favorite books to Brihaspati, one of the chefs at Govinda’s.
“I wanted it so much, but he made me promise I should return it Thursday,” Brihaspati said.
The book he borrowed was “Welcome to the Monkey House” by Kurt Vonnegut, but he never got to return it, though he said he will give it to Sheth’s mother.
“He loved life a lot,” Brihaspati said.
“He was very outgoing, very cheerful. There was nothing at all, nothing to indicate that he was going to kill himself.
“We’re still in shock here. He’s going to be missed here.”
Sheth was hired as a waiter at Hari’s vegetarian restaurant about a year ago, Hari said.
While on staff, Sheth did a little bit of everything, serving the customers, setting up the dining room and decorating the food.
He hit it off with the staff almost immediately once he started working.
“When he came here we just began to gel,” Hari said. “We had great conversations.”
And almost every Friday Sheth could be found on Temple’s campus, where he belonged to a Krishna Bhakti club, which is a cultural club for Hindu students.
Hari received a phone call last Friday from someone in the club who said they heard of a student who committed suicide and the name sounded like Sheth’s.
“I dismissed it,” Hari said.
“I said, ‘c’mon, Kishan didn’t show up, that’s not Kishan at all. I can’t even entertain that.’ I mentally dismissed the idea.”
Laura Jordan, who was Sheth’s classmate in “Law and Society,” couldn’t tell if he had any problems.
“He was a person who was very approachable, he was friendly,” she said. “He didn’t seem angry or irrational.”
Both his co-workers and his mother agreed.
“It was the most bewildering thing I’ve encountered in years,” Hari said.
“I couldn’t see what it could be that could just push him over that far, that quickly.”
“If you want to remember Kishan, be loving and caring and take care of others-be cheerful,” his mother said.
Chris Silva can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.