The 73rd death.
[Text by Anamika Chatterjee; photo by Sajay Warrier]
On the day she passed away, Anamika Chatterjee was found gorging happily on several plates of mutton chops and fish cutlets in the Bengali den of Chittaranjan Park in New Delhi. A journalist by profession, Ms Chatterjee always feared penury. “Scribes who do not die on the field, die looking at their bank balance at the end of a long career,” she often said, without a hint of a smile on her face. When not fretting about money, or the lack of it, she thrived on conversations where her voice silenced others. This was instrumental in driving several colleagues and companions away. Every time she lost a friend, Ms Chatterjee would pick herself a promising self-help book from Daryaganj or buy fake Zaras from the Sarojini Nagar flea market to feel better.
In the days leading up to her final departure, Ms Chatterjee had expressed a desire to write a book, “a searing prose on her life’s struggles”. And so she began to reflect on all the ‘crises’ she had overcome only to discover that life, after all, hadn’t been all that unfair. For every roadblock that she faced, an army of loving parents, caring friends and a doting husband helped her sail through. As for the profession that afforded her so little, she realized journalism, good or bad, isn’t just a job; it is a calling. For the first time in her life of 40 years, things began to make sense, and it called for a celebration, which, among most Bengalis, often starts and ends with food.
If only her heart hadn’t failed her.
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