Milly Squires, a third-year St. Thomas University English student and Aranyam “Ary” Bora’s girlfriend, thought it was strange when he didn’t text her goodnight on Wednesday because he talked to her at “all hours of the day.” She figured he was at a party and didn’t want to bother him.
But when Bora didn’t answer her call the next morning, she knew something was wrong.
She messaged a friend, the person that went to Mactaquac with Bora, who came over and broke the news.
“I was in shock,” Squires said. “I half expected him to walk through the door and look at me and say, ‘why are you crying, idiot? I’m right here. I got you.'”
Bora, 22, was a fourth-year STU international student from India. On Wednesday afternoon, he went cliff diving at the Mactaquac headpond, where he drowned. The area is surrounded by fence and signs warning of danger.
The friend Bora went with filmed his cliff diving with Bora’s phone for his Instagram account, according to CBC News.
The Aquinian reached out to the Keswick RCMP, but they didn’t respond in time for publication.
STU alumni Sayan Chatterjee was in his living room waiting to watch a basketball game Thursday night when one of his friends texted him that Bora, one of his closest friends, had died. He couldn’t believe the news.
“I just said ‘there’s no way he’s dead,'” he said.
He went to the hospital and asked to see the body but said hospital staff told him they were still confirming the body’s identity and were trying to get in touch with the family.
Chatterjee said that if he had known Bora was going cliff diving, he would have told him not to do it.
“I just feel terrible,” he said.
On Friday, Chatterjee went to the cliffs where Bora was diving. He said there was a “huge red sign at the entrance, which should have turned anyone back.” He thought the cliff was “so high off the water.”
Squires said Bora didn’t go cliff diving often but said when they first started hanging out, he told her about a time where he jumped off a bridge for $25.
A friend told Bora about the Mactaquac headpond, Squires said. Bora told her about cliff diving but didn’t say where. She told him not to go but didn’t think much of it afterwards because she didn’t believe he would actually do it.
“I thought he was going to do something small and mediocre, but I guess I forgot who he was because that’s not who he was at all,” she said.
Getting a hold of the family
Chatterjee, who is also from India, said he managed to contact Bora’s father.
“It was the most difficult phone call I’ve ever made,” he said.
Chatterjee told Bora’s father that his son “thought the world of him and he was his hero.”
“You have heroes like Batman, Superman, Spiderman, things like that. But for Aranyam, his father was always his hero,” he said.
Bora left behind his father, mother and younger sister. Chatterjee said Bora hadn’t seen his parents since 2018.
“Right now, I think the most important thing to do is take him back to India,” he said.
The Aquinian reached out to STU, but they did not respond in time of publication. On Saturday morning, the university published a statement that said they expressed their condolences to the family and are working with the consulate and family representatives to send Bora home.
Chatterjee said he’s devastated about Bora’s passing and said he left behind many mourning people.
“He touched so many lives when he was here at STU,” he said.
Living life to the fullest
Squires said she and Bora met on social media a few months ago. She messaged him about having bad cramps. The next thing she knew, Bora showed up at the Jungle Jim’s where Squires worked with Oreos and cupcakes.
No one had ever done anything like that for her before, she said.
“He was always an angel. He was like my person,” she said. “I didn’t know him as long as other people have, but I felt our souls intertwine since the day we met.”
Chatterjee described Bora as “full of laughter and life” and as someone determined to enjoy whatever life offered him.
He said Bora was good at many things, including bodybuilding, bartending, magic tricks and painting.
“He was the best at everything he did.”
Chatterjee said Bora was always there to help his friends at a time of need.
“He showed me a better side of myself that I didn’t know really existed until I met him,” he said.
When Bora first arrived in Canada, Chatterjee said he was shy. But he changed, always taking on new activities, fearless of risk. He said Bora lived a short but eventful life.
Chatterjee can’t believe Bora is gone because he had the potential to do great things and was “naturally gifted.”
“He could do any, almost anything he set his mind to. That’s the hardest part, that I’ll never be able to know what he goes on to become in his lifetime,” he said.
Squires said she wants people to know how much Bora loved life and that the amount of love he had for everyone was endless and “could never die.”
“You turn off a light and the light’s gone. It leaves the room. But his light’s going to shine on, definitely forever.”
Students can access counselling services by emailing email@example.com or visiting stu.ca/support.