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:
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