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Our Self-Written Obituaries – Somak Ghoshal, Swiss Alps

The 11th death.

[By Somak Ghosal]

Somak Ghoshal, who spent the better part of his adult life torn between the urge to write books and to edit them, was found dead at his desk on a glorious morning in April. Other than the novel he had been working on for the last fifty years, he had a bottle of Prosecco, his chief source of delight in his last years, lying next to him. His cat, Muffin, was found chewing on his unfinished masterpiece dolefully, having meowed near his food bowl for hours.

Woody Allen’s Manhattan was playing on the television, and a pile of DVDs by the American master lay on the floor. It is said Mr Ghoshal had resolved to watch one movie by the American master every evening since he retired to a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps. His days were spent reading his favourite authors — Evelyn Waugh, Nancy Mitford, Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka and Thomas Mann filled his bookshelves. His neighbours complained of being startled out of sleep by the strains of the symphonies of Gustav Mahler, The Great American Songbook sung by Ella Fitzgerald, or some gibberish Indian raga they could not make head or tail of.

Mr Ghoshal, who went up to Oxford to read English Literature hoping to discover his very own Brideshead, came back to India with a degree and no money. He spent his best years toiling away in the newspaper and publishing industries in Delhi. He usually got along with his colleagues and authors and had a reputation for being droll. “He threatened to write a roman à clef about the literati, but was always too busy having a good time,” his friend Chad Newsome said.

Mr Ghoshal was rumoured to be quite the Casanova in his youth. He broke a few hearts, had his heart broken, before settling into domesticity in his 30s.

Mr Ghoshal will be missed by his family, friends and cat, by those who were amused by his grim one-liners and a certain je ne sais quoi.

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

3 thoughts on “Our Self-Written Obituaries – Somak Ghoshal, Swiss Alps

  1. As one of my friends Rajnish Manga has remarked, reading these fictitious obituaries is not a very pleasant experience. They remind you that one day these immensely gifted people would no longer be around. It’s better to celebrate life while we can in the best possible way…

    1. You are right, Ms Chatterjee. These self-written obituaries remind us that “one day these immensely gifted people will no longer be around”, and that’s why we should have these mock-obits so that we can truly love and cherish and value these nice people while they are still alive.

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