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Our Self-Written Obituaries – Devraj Singh Kalsi, Calcutta

Our Self-Written Obituaries – Devraj Singh Kalsi, Calcutta

The 108th death.

[Text by Devraj Singh Kalsi; photo by Preeti Kalsi]

TV channels ran the story of Devraj Singh Kalsi’s death on prime time. Editors found an unusual human-interest angle in his bizarre pop-off. Travelling by Rajdhani Express from Sealdah, West Bengal, he reached New Delhi in the morning and did the recce he was here for. Armed with a spiral–bound manuscript, he hopped from one publishing house after another, approaching the dozen leading ones he had already sent query letters, synopsis and sample chapters via email. His status enquiries drew a blank, with trainee editors fobbing him off, asking him to follow submission guidelines properly before sending in. Double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt font-size.

When he heard an almost similar response from the last one he approached by the end of the day, he found an obnoxious pattern in their method of operation. A peon in uniform brushed past him dragging a large carton. The slush pile had to be trashed at regular intervals. Rejected manuscripts had to be disposed off. These unclaimed bodies of dead dreams enveloped a gnawing sense of fear in him. The fecund mind imagined the worst inside the store-room. A morgue of creativity.

Mr Kalsi, who worked as a senior copywriter in a Kolkata-based advertising agency, then made a quick, unceremonious exit from the publishing house, but his mind refused to jettison the grotesque reality of a dark, grim future staring at his face. His hands felt cold. He perspired a lot. His legs trembled. A sharp, restless spasm of pain pricked his heart. Just one foot on the first step and he felt dizzy. Black out. He rolled down the flight of stairs till his head banged against the wall on the landing. He lay in a pool of blood, with the blood-spattered manuscript beside him.

Our Self-Written Obituaries invites people 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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