Writing Obituaries


obituary [əˈbɪtjʊərɪ]

n pl -aries

a published announcement of a death, often accompanied by a short biography of the dead person

[from Medieval Latin obituārius, from Latin obīre to fall, from ob- down + īre to go]

obituarist n

Source: Here

Obituary is the word of the day…or maybe the talk of the town.

We’re learning to write Obituaries for (dead) people.

RF said that his father preferred to write his own obituary. That is, ideally, one of the wisest thing to do. Well, maybe it will not be ‘objective’ enough but I think to write one’s own obituary would be a fun exercise. We’ve been asked to write obituaries of people we know and people we don’t know as part of our assignments. That set my thinking mode in action (as if it’s ever off). I thought of writing my own obituary. Well, to be very frank, I wouldn’t want/like anyone else to write mine. Blame it on my narcissism or plain arrogance and indifference towards anybody else attempting to get an insight into my life and penning it down into 500 words flat. But, the opportunity of writing your own obituary and listing what you have achieved and accomplished so far in your life is just too tempting to be shared with anyone else!

So, this post is going to be a fun exercise of writing my obituary.

P.S. The obituary below has no lead (I don’t want to speculate on how I died…I’ll leave that to your wild imagination)

Disclaimer: The contents of this obituary are purely fictional and any resemblance to any person, living or dead is co-incidental.

Let’s assume that Deepa died at the age 22 just after completing her Masters at IIJNM.

Deepa Ranganathan was a journalism student at IIJNM when she breathed her last. Though she preferred to be identified more as a student of literature, she enjoyed her limited stay in the professional world of journalism. Born in New Delhi, Deepa spent her growing years and completed her schooling at her hometown Jamshedpur, a small city located in the state of Jharkhand. She graduated in BA (Hons) English from Miranda House, New Delhi where she spent 3 significant years of her life.

“Though she stayed in Jamshedpur for 18 years, she always felt a sense of belonging with Delhi as that was(is) her birth place,” said her mother.

Her parents insist that her three years of studying literature contributed a lot in not only shaping her personality but her ideology, perspective and the way she perceived things around her. Deepa chose to shift from Science to Humanities while pursuing her Honours degree in Literature.

“She was never satisfied with studying Physics, Chemistry or Math, though Biology interested her up to a point until she flunked the subject in her eleventh grade and consequently decided to quit Science,” her mother said.

Though it was a huge risk, her stubborn and adamant behavior (that she carried till she died) was something that her parents never disturbed.

After completion of her graduation, Deepa did her PG Diploma from the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Bangalore, specializing in Print medium.

Her parents inform that apart from them, her extended family was largely not happy with her decision to pursue journalism, citing safety and security reasons for their disapproval. But, once Deepa had made her decision, there was nothing stopping her from pursuing her dream.

“We knew she wouldn’t listen to anybody. The best we could do was to support her. And that is exactly what we did, “her father said.

Deepa was also a published author. Her published books include The Theory of Atheism (2008), Relevance and irrelevance of Marriage in India (2009) and a novella entitled Fly Away (2009). Her novella was a bestseller, particularly among teen-aged students.

However, her writing took a backseat when Deepa started devoting her time entirely to reporting and writing, while pursuing journalism.

During her 1 year stay in Bangalore, Deepa did as many as 185 local stories, 159 of which got published on Citizen Matters, a Bangalore focused, citizen-oriented newsmagazine, covering city public affairs, community and culture.

“Her relentless pursuit for better and newer story ideas is responsible for those astronomical figures. We’ve never had a reporter reporting on such a wide variety of topics before. Her death is a huge loss for true, professional journalism in India,” Vaishnavi Vittal, staff journalist at Citizen Matters, said.

Before her stint with Citizen Matters, Deepa also interned with The Hindu as a Sub-editor for three months, where she learnt her basics of reporting, writing and editing.

“She was a journalist till her last breath”, concluded a former colleague at The Hindu, on condition of anonymity.


4 thoughts on “Writing Obituaries

  1. >Wow !! we got to know you better…lol :)well, you have not just surpassed VV's numbers but got a quote from her, that's just so amazing…and continuing to talk about your books, it definitely shows your vision. Good going… i wish obituary runs into pages (so 22 is too early)with long standing contribution to 'JOURNALISM'..


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