Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Obituaries deserve better

The first paragraph of Mumbai Mirror's remembrance of Sharada Dwivedi:
It is rather ironical that writer-historian-author of several books on Mumbai, who was instrumental in forming the Kala Ghoda Art District, passed away on February 6 - that time of the year when the city is abuzz with its annual Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.
It is indeed fascinating to see the dizzying number of books Dwivedi wrote on Mumbai's myriad aspects.
I read obituaries as much for the dead as for life in the writing. In this case, I can't help but feel Dwivedi deserved a better piece. The reporting swings in to her life and out with a quote to sum up the things she did. Quotes are easy. They're fast. But they can only do so much.

An obituary is a story of a life - even a normal one - with a beginning, a rich middle, and an end. It takes readers along, telling them of who this person really was, what they did, who they liked, what they hated, and perhaps even why they will be remembered. But this piece does nothing of the sort. The city's best newspaper could have given its finest chronicler a better sendoff.

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