27 April, 2007

Obit: Shakti Bhatt

by Arun Venugopal

We're terribly saddened to announce that Shakti Bhatt, a former reporter for India Abroad/Rediff who returned to India and was on the vanguard of the publishing industry there, died Saturday. According to a friend in New Delhi, she was out to dinner when she suddenly became violently ill. The specifics are vague at this point but we'll post an update once we're clearer.

Shakti was a friend, as is her husband, the poet Jeet Thayil. We all worked together at India Abroad, and I distinctly remember an end-of-year party she organized - she bought goofy eyeglasses for all of us, and party hats, and organized food. She was insistent that we celebrate, and somewhere perhaps there are photos of us all, looking ridiculous in our black plastic hats.

Eventually Jeet and Shakti returned to India, due to visa-related issues. They'd initially been planning to return to the U.S. but they moved to India at the right time. Shakti eventually joined Random House India, doing four books for them, then left last year to start Bracket Books, an imprint for IBD.

We exchanged emails over the last few months. Shakti was excited about her new role at Bracket and was looking for writers who could satisfy India's 'booming' industry. A month ago, she said she wanted to publish 'pulp fiction, thrillers, memoirs....'

Our condolences go out to Jeet and Shakti's family. Her mother, Sheela Bhatt, is also a prominent journalist, serving as Managing Editor of Rediff.

Originally published here.

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