ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Calcutta Diary

Calcutta Diary AM PERHAPS not even a dozen people in this callous, huge city knew who she was. On the back page of newspapers, way down in an obscure corner, the information collected by junior reporters assigned on police beat was summed up in exactly four and a half lines. A strong smell was emitting from a central Calcutta flat locked from inside; the police arrived, broke into the apartment, and recovered the body of an old woman, who must have been dead for at least a couple of days. The body had been sent for postmortem. The womans name was Sheila Perera, who had been the occupant of the flat for the past thirty-five years; most papers got her name garbled in print, Of the barely a dozen persons who still knew her in Calcutta, one or two remembered that a couple of years ago too, it was a near thing, Sheila Perera did not stir out of her flat for three days; worried neighbours had then managed to enter and found her, sick and starving, on the verge of death. On that occasion, she could be saved, if that is the expression. This time it was too late. There was no foul play. Sheila Perera died because there was nobody to look after her. She died of loneliness.

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