My post on Necropolis by Jeet Thayil - Short Listed for the 2012 Booker Prize - Husband of Shakti Bhatt
“The Thief” - A Short Story by Shakti Bhatt - 2006
Born 1981 Delhi
Passes 2007 - Delhi
Shaki Bhatt was a writer and editor. Her early death was a shock to the Indian literary world. A foundation set up in her memory has since 2008 presented an annual best debut work award for writers of the subcontinent.
“Bloggers in India have been mourning the untimely death of Shakti Bhatt, who passed away in Delhi last Saturday night after a sudden and unexpected illness. Shakti – who was in her mid-twenties – was the editor of Indian publishing house IBD’s newly launched Bracket Books and the wife of well-known Indian poet Jeet Thayil.” From Global Voices - April 5, 2007
I found several website memorializing her but I could find nothing by her for sale or online.
In 2012 I posted on Necropolis by Jeet Thayil, short listed for the Booker Price. He was the husband of Shakti Bhatt. His book is a brilliantly dark account of the underside of Mumbai. I reread my old blog post and the book came vividly back to me.
“The Thief” is set in an affluent multi generation family home in Delhi. The household is run by the grandmother. As we meet her she is negotiating with an applicant for a job as a maid as to what she will and will not do. The maid agrees to cook, wash dishes, answer the phones, do personal errands but not clean. We learn this is a matter of caste. The grandmother tells the young narrator that Maids often hire lower caste maids to clean their own rooms.
I really enjoyed the descriptions of the many tradespeople who call on the house. Reading the food descriptions was a lot of fun. Bhatt brings the family environment to life. This is a very good short story. There is a dramatic turn when a valuable ring of the grandfather shows up missing.
I read this in a worthwhile anthology Kasha: Short Stories by Indian Women
If anyone knows of more works by Shakti Bhatt, please let me know.
I would love to read more of her work.
This is part of our Short Stories by South Asian Women project.