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Our Self-Written Obituaries – Nivriti Butalia, Dubai

The fourth death.

[Text by Nivriti Butalia; photo by Dhruv Narain]

Nivriti Butalia burnt her tongue on a milkless cup of tea sourced from the pantry of the newspaper office in the Middle East, where she had been a stooge for over two years writing about the environment. In that time, she was troubled by the lack of recycling facilities – in the pantry, and in Dubai at large, the ubiquity of sodden Leone tea bags, the disease-spreading Styrofoam cups. Besides the swollen tongue, she was plagued also by a dull ache for a city she’d left behind to take herself to the desert in search of unknown wonders and well-known riches, only to then have come upon a husband. See photo credit.

An encephalitis bug that had clung to the rim of her unwashed, blue, complimentary thermochromic Nivea coffee mug in office put Ms Butalia in coma in a government hospital on the eve of Sri Lanka’s 67th Independence day. And before she could say Grr to the insignia of the Sinhalese lion, she had left the ICU, and the building on Feb 4, 2015.

Since she didn’t see the end coming, her survivors can only assume her final wish was to have a picture of hers in the paper with the caption: ‘100 per cent recyclable’. Ms Butalia would have liked that.

Our Obituaries invites Delhiites across the world to write their obituary in 200 words. The idea is to share with the world how you will like to be remembered after you are gone. (May you live a long life, of course!) Please mail me your self-obit at

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