Juhi Kalra, passed away on Thursday, April 14, 2022, after a long illness. She was with family and passed peacefully at home.
ZOOM: Saturday, April 23, 2022
Time zone information below:
Pacific time: 9:30am - 11:00am
Mountain Time: 10:30am - noon
Central time: 11:30am - 1:00pm
Eastern time: 12:30pm - 2:00pm
India time: 10:00pm - 11:30pm
To protect the space from zoom bombing, please register at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcqce2srzwuH9Z42dZNKlmwVSLysJp0F9vO.
Other opportunities to remember Juhi and celebrate her life:
Sterling, IL: Memorial Day weekend, Anand will be in Chicago and Sterling for SHS graduation. There will be a small outdoor gathering in Sterling, location and details to be confirmed. Please let Anand know if you would like to attend by adding your contact information here: https://forms.gle/5ZR8CAS9MKhXV7Js6
Los Angeles: honoring Juhi’s wishes, we will hold a celebration of her life in person in Los Angeles. We’ve decided to wait for now and hold the celebration event around her birthday in November. More details to come about that.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Mirror Memoirs (https://mirrormemoirs.networkforgood.com), an organization that mom was involved with and was proud to support. Mirror Memoirs is a national storytelling and organizing project uplifting the narratives, healing and leadership of LGBTQI+ Black and indigenous people and other people of color who survived child sexual abuse, as a strategy to end rape culture and other forms of oppression and injustice.
Juhi Bhatia Kalra (aka Juhi Mansi, J.K. Mansi) died on Thursday at age 68 in El Paso, TX, after a year-long struggle with interstitial lung disease. Juhi was born in New Delhi, India on November 7, 1953 and grew up in India, Syria, the United States, and Dubai. She immigrated to the United States in 1978. After living in Southfield, Michigan, Buffalo and Corning, New York, and Sterling, Illinois, she moved to Los Angeles, where she lived until December 2021, when she moved to El Paso to be closer to her granddaughter.
A life-long writer, Juhi studied at Lady Irwin College of the University of Delhi and graduated with a degree in British Literature from Lady Sri Ram College for Women. In recent years, she shared her work and found a community through the website Medium. Her work was featured in Side Effects of Living: An Anthology of Voices on Mental Health (2019, Speaking Tiger Publishing), and she was co-editing an upcoming anthology of essays about cooking when she became ill. She self-published several collections through Amazon, under the name JK Mansi. Much of her writing dealt with themes of spirituality, personal growth, self-discovery, and healing, particularly around her experiences as a survivor of child sexual abuse and incest. Juhi sometimes incorporated elements of science fiction, perhaps influenced by her long interest in the genre, including the works of Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Octavia E. Butler, and Gene Roddenberry.
Juhi was a master in the kitchen, both refining traditional recipes and innovating. Cooking for others was one of the activities she found most rewarding, a way for her to express her impulse to nurture. She also acted as an ambassador of South Asian culture, from teaching an Introduction to Indian Cooking class at Sauk Valley Community College to the India Day events she frequently presented at elementary schools. As a mother of two LGBTQ children, she was an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ issues, often a unique resource for South Asian parents of LGBTQ children, as well as an ally for South Asian queer people and queer & trans people of color in general.
In 2014, after recovering from a serious illness requiring hospitalization, she wrote “Almost 105 pounds lighter than the day I was hospitalized in January, most of it as fluid from the struggle of the heart to keep beating. I am not at my Zihuatanejo yet (Shawshank Redemption) but I have escaped my captivity, walked through miles of sewage, stood in the cleansing rain of self discovery these last 5 years. As my body fights for its rights to exist, my warrior self is by her side defending and protecting her. The gatekeepers who had taken on this massive task (Priya Surya Anand) can take a breath now, although their work continues in other areas for my support.”
She enjoyed word games, humor, singing, and dancing. Her relationships with her children and grandchild were central to her sense of meaning. She was preceded in death by her mother Damini Bhatia and beloved dog Bunni. She is survived by her three children (Priya Beeler Kalra and wife P. Heidi Beeler, Surya Kalra and husband Rafael Paz Parra, and Anand Jay Kalra), one grandchild (Kalyani Mayahuel Paz Kalra), and dog Peeku (adopted by Jeanny Boltze and Terry Strawn).