Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Sitting in front of my computer on a Monday afternoon, here in New York, at first I refused to believe it. The timing was just right enough to believe that it was a sick April Fool joke. Unfortunately, it wasn't.

Shakti Bhatt passed away in Delhi last Saturday night after a sudden and brief and completely unexpected illness. A talented writer, a gifted editor, and a well loved friend, the unfairness of her loss is felt by many. This entry on Samit's blog, a few days before her death, just makes it more poignant. She was so full of plans and dreams and hopes and ideas.

Shakti and her husband Jeet Thayil moved to Delhi two years ago, from New York. One of my most wonderful memories from Delhi is the first evening spent at their place, in April 2005; a night which could only have ended in spontaneous ghazal-ification. There were so many other wonderful evenings. They were such an amazing couple. (The Editor-Poets, as they appeared on eM's blog). Shakti was also the first person to call, as an editor, and put the idea of 'the Delhi book' into my head. As an editor she was enthusiastic, pushy, and most importantly believed in a moody and erratic writer. Then the erratic writer moved to New York, and grad school...

Perhaps it was premonition that last week I found myself thinking of Jeet and Shakti. They were the first New Yorkers I had known. This was the city where they met. I found myself imagining conversations with them back in Delhi -
- And did you go to... ?

... And now, in their city, I feel so far away. My thoughts, like everyone else's, are with Jeet.

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