Suchitra Bhattacharya, the renowned Bengali author is no more.
It's interesting to note how a dear friend of mine texted me on learning about Suchitra Bhattacharya's demise: Mitin Maasi aar nei!
It speaks of our fond association with the author just in the capacity of readers, yet sensing a very deep connect with her through the characters she created.
We know, often the critics are dismissive of populist fiction and the popular writers, and hence Suchitra Bhattacharya did not win too many accolades, but her greatest success was in the instant connect that she established with her readers through her sensitive and brilliant portrayals, especially her depiction of middle-class life and its conflicts. Everyday life and everyman/everywoman came alive in the pages of the books she wrote and in the magazines in which her fiction regularly appeared. Films too have borrowed heavily from her, quite naturally.
In recent times, her female sleuth Mitin Maasi had become immensely popular among children and adults alike, which itself is a rare feat.
Her death leaves a void not only in contemporary Bangla literature, but also in our hearts. Ever-smiling and affable she was, but she never hesitated to speak her mind against any kind of ills or injustice in society.
She'd be dearly missed.
May her soul rest in peace.