“I am yet to fully comprehend that my classmate passed away this morning. How strange that I mentioned her in a piece I wrote on the FTII days just three days ago. We were in touch via WhatsApp; we had a group for our FTII classmates. Yesterday, I got a message that her condition was critical. Last month, she fell down during a shoot and injured her spine. Unfortunately, she contracted an infection and had to undergo surgery. She was in excruciating pain because she was on dialysis and could not be administered strong painkillers. And today, she is gone. With her, go my memories of an easy comradeship, much laughter and the affection that comes from living together.
Although we didn’t share a room at the FTII hostel, I was in the habit of clambering into her bed on waking up. For as long as I can remember, I would snuggle into my parents’ bed first thing in the morning. When I left home for FTII, it was Rita’s bed that I would tumble into, my eyes only half-open. There was something cute and impish about her. We used to call her Tanuja because of her effervescence. She was a good student, my closest competitor in class, but that didn’t colour our friendship. And then life happened. We went our separate ways.”