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Keshav Mayya remembered by family, friends as music lover, math enthusiast

First-year New College student passed away in early November
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Keshav Mayya. COURTESY OF REKHA RAO-MAYYA
Keshav Mayya. COURTESY OF REKHA RAO-MAYYA

Content warning: this article includes mentions of suicide.

Keshav Mayya is remembered by his friends and family as a dear friend, a talented guitarist, and a passionate mathematician.

Mayya, a first-year New College student, died by suicide on November 2. He was born in Mississauga and attended Central Peel Secondary School before starting at U of T in September.

He had a deep love for his family and friends, many long-lasting friendships, and he often spent time playing video games with his friends. His mother, Rekha Rao-Mayya, also recalled how “Keshav… would stop to pet any dog that he came across during his walk to the school bus stop.”

Mayya was studying mathematics, something he was deeply passionate about. His mother remembered how he would get excited about complex mathematical topics and try to explain them to her. “I have to admit that 90% of what he said was way too abstract for me, but I still loved to listen to him, especially when he got into his ‘professorial discourse’ mode,” she wrote.

For Vrinda Agnihotri, Mayya was her best friend, someone she could talk to for hours, and someone who made her laugh. The two met in high school and grew closer through an advanced placement psychology class that they took together. She wrote to The Varsity that he was “just genuinely the coolest.”

Mayya loved listening to and playing music. He had been playing guitar since grade seven. Over the past summer, he recorded covers of songs to share with his friends, aiming to record one every night. He offered guitar lessons to any of his friends who wanted to learn. “Experiencing him play next to me are some of the most magical moments I will forever cherish,” wrote Agnihotri, who recollected Mayya teaching her how to play during lockdown.

“He is and will always be one of the most beautiful and brilliant people I will ever know.”

 

If you or someone you know is in distress, you can call:

  • Canada Suicide Prevention Service phone available 24/7 at 1-833-456-4566
  • Good 2 Talk Student Helpline at 1-866-925-5454
  • Ontario Mental Health Helpline at 1-866-531-2600
  • Gerstein Centre Crisis Line at 416-929-5200
  • U of T Health & Wellness Centre at 416-978-8030

Warning signs of suicide include:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated, or recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

The more of these signs a person shows, the greater the risk. If you suspect someone you know may be contemplating suicide, you should talk to them, according to the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention.