On December 28, when Nishant Malhotra called his former teacher Archana Gupta to wish her on her 45th birthday, she said, “Meet me soon, I am not getting any younger.” Three days later, on New Year’s Eve, she was shot in the head, succumbing to her injuries Thursday.
“We were supposed to meet for brunch this Saturday,” said Malhotra, Gupta’s student at TVB School of Habitat Studies in 2002-03.
Survived by two children and her husband Vikas, Gupta was an architect, who took a break from teaching at IP University in 2017, wrote a book titled Celebrating Public Spaces of India (2017) and was working on two more books and a documentary.
On Thursday evening, friends, family, students and colleagues gathered outside her Gautam Nagar home, waiting for her body to arrive from the AIIMS mortuary.
At 4 pm, as cries broke out, a family member said to Gupta’s father: “Bolo Hare Krishna”. Minutes later, clad in a red embroidered shawl, her body was taken to Nigambodh Ghat.
“I feel like I have lost a child, she was a part of the second batch at our school, TVB. We were currently working on conservation of the Rashtrapati Bhawan. Her father, a plumbing expert, has been roped in for the project and Archana was assisting him,” said AGK Menon, conservation architect and expert urban planner. He also called her 2017 book “path-breaking”.
The family of Archana Gupta gave a new lease of life to two renal failure patients by donating her kidneys, after she was declared brain dead. Gupta, who was rushed to the hospital late Monday night, was on ventilator support for two days at Fortis Rajan Dhall Hospital (FHVK). After getting required approvals, one kidney was sent to Apollo Hospital and the other given to a patient in FHVK. A 45-year-old man suffering from chronic kidney disease was operated on successfully at FHVK on Thursday morning. At Apollo, a 67-year-old female diagnosed with renal failure was given Gupta’s kidney. “The Delhi Police was informed and a medico-legal case was registered... The proposal to donate her organs for a larger cause was discussed with the family,” the hospital said in a statement.— By Astha Saxena
Gupta was also co-founder of the Foundation of India Cities, along with Anshuman Gupta, with whom she co-authored the book.
Anshuman recalled his last conversation with Gupta on December 31: “We talked daily. That day, we spoke about our plans for the next six months. We were just giving finishing touches to our next two books, and working on a documentary on plastic,” said Anshuman, who was to travel to Ahmedabad with Gupta this month for a project at National Institute of Design.
Landscape photographer Amit Mehra, whose photos are part of Gupta’s book, recalled his first meeting with her in 2018: “She was truly selfless about her work, and did the book without any funding.”
Ratish Nanda, project director, Aga Khan Trust for Culture, also spoke to Gupta on her birthday. The two were collegemates. “Usually on her birthday, she travels but she told me that this time she is in Delhi because her son has Board exams. I valued her opinion a lot.”
Ojaswee Khare (26), her student from IP University’s Indian Institute Of Art and Design, said, “She was the friendliest teacher, and gave great career advice. She was not bound by syllabus or time. I met her on December 31 at her house, as I was doing some research for her part-time.”