My friend Shakti died on Saturday night. It made no sense her death, I thought it was some sort of April Fool's joke or something. She was awesome. She sparkled. She was kind. And even now, applying the past tense to her name seems so odd, so surreal, so like I'm talking about someone else.
Shakti loved this blog. She really did. She asked me many times when she was going to make an appearance, and she did, as Mrs Editor-Poet. We met like close to two years ago, at a party, and then the day after that was our housewarming party and her and her husband came for that, and then the rest was history, because we started to hang regularly, and talk. We were both about the same age as compared to most of the other people we knew in common, and when we did book parties or literary gatherings, usually we gravitated towards each other and gossiped and compared outfits and did many other frivolous things.
And I met her whilst the two of them were in Bombay for the Kitab fest, and thanks to them, partied very poshly, and we talked about relationships and whether she ever regretted being married, because she was quite young and she said, "You know, it's like the difference between a sonnet and blank verse. Marriage gives my life structure, and this way it's always two people on my side." And when I was last in Delhi, we hung out at Cafe Turtle, and drank coffee and talked about various creative projects, and then I met her again later at 4S and showed her my Sarojini Nagar shopping and then we hugged as I was leaving and promised to meet again next time I was in Delhi.
I can't make any sense of it still. This post has been written and backspaced over for the last three days, I just couldn't. It's a world without Shakti in it, and that is so bizarre, because she was so so so alive, you know? I know people say this about everyone who dies, but she really was. When I think of her, I think of sitting in her living room watching her hula hoop, backwards and forwards, smiling, her hips working, her arms outstretched. "You're a lucky man," I told her husband once, with all sorts of hidden innuendos at that hula hooping and he smiled at me and said, "I know."
And, hah, it's so strange, the one person I feel like calling and telling about her death is Shakti, calling and saying, "Hey people are saying you're dead." And she'd say, "What? People are crazy" and I'd say, "I know, hey, I'll be in Delhi on Friday we should hang out." And she'd say, "Absolutely." And this entire thing will have never happened.
Already I miss her so very much.
Originally published here.