If you have a problem, fix it. But train yourself not to worry, worry fixes nothing. - Ernest Hemingway

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Kochuthresiamma Joseph

Kochuthresiamma Joseph (KTJ to her friends) passed away in the night of 8/9 November. Although her husband Joseph Mathew and I were colleagues, I never met her. Yet, when I opened a common friend’s text message carrying the news of her death in the small hours of the morning yesterday, I felt a deep sense of bereavement … a sense of loss made more poignant by the stillness of the night.

I came to know her long after Joseph Mathew and I ceased to be colleagues, through her somewhat mysteriously titled blog “Pareltank”. Later, she wrote she had named the blog after the road in which she had lived with her husband and children in Mumbai: Parel Tank Road. Maybe, when she named the blog, she was in that phase of her journey when one prefers to look back, rather than looking ahead.

She taught English at college(s) and wrote beautifully about her friends, relatives, acquaintances, neighbours, tailors, in short, the ordinary people she came across. And they came so alive through her writing! While reading her blog, I would be touched by her sensitivity, eye for details, sense of humour and her candour and courage.

She also wrote about the colossal social evils that we have agreed to live with, without losing much sleep. And in these pieces, she came out as a different kind of writer: tough, no-nonsense, and brilliantly incisive. I didn’t agree with her always – needless to say – but I was always impressed by the well-informed analytical mind that was behind the fingers on her keyboard.

I didn’t know Kochuthresiamma Joseph personally while she was alive. Now that she is no more, I know that Mother Earth has lost one of her wonderful daughters. I bid adieu to you, my unknown friend! And my heart goes out to your husband, children, and other close relatives.


Here are the links to three of KTJ's many lovely articles:

Autograph  /   Fair & Lovely   /   Narendra Modi's letter to Anna Hazare


  1. KTJ has been very nicely portrayed by you...Mother Earth has surely lost a wonderful and very talented daughter...may her soul rest in peace...

  2. Yes, many of us are going to miss her...after we met the last time in May (never dreamt it would be the final parting) she wrote, 'It's a pity that we did not have such meetings all these years..' This very moment when she Rests in Peace and all of us are in prayer before she returns to Mother Earth, we remember her inner strength and ability to connect with every person she met. We are blessed to have known her.

  3. Santanu, I just can't believe you have never met Molly. This is because, she seemed to reciprocate your feelings about her. She told me, she was a fan of your writings and was a regular visitor to your blogspot. She and Joseph Mathew visited us at Trivandrum, just before they relocated to Ernakulam. We did then discuss about your writings and work and she borrowed from me, the book "Who says you cant't learn English", which you authored. The way she was speaking, she seemed to know you quite well. That was her sincerity and warmth.

    Along with me, my wife Molly, our children and their spouses will certainly miss a true family friend and a well-wisher of our family.

  4. She has been silent for sometime. I did not notice any post from her in the recent months.
    There has never been a point of statement in her blog, more often than not, when I could agree with her.
    Her comprehension of matters and . judgement , I feel was quite conservative,and sometimes unreasonable- perhaps even biased, I felt, I guess. Hence the disagreement!

    Her eloquence was excellent , simple and plain .
    The brief acquaintance and slinging in the Blog gave me a fair idea about the person, though I have never met her.
    If there is something called soul let her's RIP

  5. I think one comes across better articles and stories on personal blogs than what are seen in the print media, although one has to search a lot for the good ones. Kochuthresiamma Joseph was one of the reasons for me to arrive at this conclusion.

    Thanks, Anil, for your comments. I strongly differ with you regarding the merits of KTJ's opinions and judgments, although I myself disagreed with her at times. The difference between you and me on this only points to the axiomatic truth that everyone has, and has the right to have, their own views and opinions. As long as we respect others' honest opinions, it's fine.

  6. Every time I come to your blog, I seem to be reading about people who have passed away and who may be known to me in some way. Was this lady's husband Joseph Mathew of my batch? She was probably younger than me, in that case. Incidentally, do you still work for SBT?

  7. Yes, you are right. KTJ was Joseph Mathew's wife.

    I left the bank about a century ago, in 1999, to be precise. You left in late seventies or early eighties, didn't you?


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