Vatsala Muralidhara passed away at Riverview Medical Center on Thursday evening, August 3. She was born in Karachi, British India, on August 10, 1936. The daughter of a government scientist, Vatsala lived throughout India during her childhood. She attended Catholic secondary schools and then continued her studies at Delhi University, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in zoology. She was a top student, earning many prizes for her academic studies.
After her work as a journalist, Vatsala married Ranya, an organic chemist, in 1967, and immigrated to the United States. She settled first in Skaneateles, NY and then moved to New Jersey, where she lived for over fifty years. She and her husband raised two children, and for many years, their well-being was her primary focus as a stay-at-home mom. Her home in Fair Haven was full of colorful art, her extensive collection of elephant figurines, and the smell of gourmet cooking. She was a prodigious reader and also loved traveling in Europe and visiting museums.
Vatsala was predeceased by her father, P.R. Krishna Rao, her mother, Rhadabai Krishna Rao, her brother, Subhash Rao, and her sister, Sarala Murthi. Vatsala is survived by her husband Ranya, her son Apoorva, her daughter Divya, and their spouses, Bindu and Edward, respectively, her grandson Santosh, and her brother Prakash Rao.
Despite her many years in this country, Vatsala had a fierce love for the country of her birth. She delighted in language and wordplay, and published crossword puzzles that she had constructed. She was keenly curious, a devoted wife and mother, and had bookshelves full of science books and memoirs. Vatsala was unafraid of asking questions and getting to the heart of things. We will miss her engaging mind and her open-hearted approach to life.
A private service was held on August 8th at Thompson Memorial Home of Red Bank, NJ.