The day the music died

Aunty Basso died last week. Her death was spontaneous, like her spirit. She threw up on her way home from the gym, and died a short while later in her daughters lap.

I knew more of her from the stories that spill out of hostel walls, and college doors – 20 years later. I knew her more from fragments of memory- pictures of her flawless black hair and beautiful eyes etched forever in my 5-year-old-eyes. And, I knew her more from our 3-day-holiday to Jaipur in 2011, I still have the muffler she left behind.

On our way to the Jaipur Literature Festival, then 55, Basso sang loudly to the Rolling Stones, told us about her long and winding corporate career, her current involvement with an India NGO, and the project she was most passionate about: loos for lesser privileged Indian women.

At the Jaipur Literature festival, Basso stood in the front, with a beer at the evening concert, and through the day followed authors, and poets, and speakers and laal maas with equal gusto. We had so much fun in Jaipur, we stayed an extra day.

When news of her death came in: I went over the memories. Jaipur, and her small red car, sitting in a bar, and drinking in a balcony, her eyes wide- like her life. She was too young to go, but mostly, too crazy to go.

She was imperfect, but inspiring- mad, but magic. Of all the people- why was she so quick to go?

The world needs more Bassos, and I find so little of them. So many people grow old, and give up, and lose interest too early on in life- Basso was reminder that life is fleeting; that life is short, and life is hungry–so talk to everyone you meet, and rush to the front of every concert, and the back of every book.

In her death, and in yours- may there be left behind, gaping holes.



  1. Monica Khatri Rana

    We all must live each day as if it were our last one. But we take life for granted and it is always easier said then done.
    It takes me back to a random quote I read by Steve Jobs:
    “When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

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