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'Rita Bhaduri was my closest competitor in class'

July 17, 2018 14:19 IST

Rita Bhaduri passed into the ages on Tuesday morning.
Shabana Azmi who knew Rita well as they were FTII batchmates, tells Subhash K Jha how deep their friendship was.

IMAGE: Rita Bhaduri as a young actress.

I am yet to fully comprehend that my classmate from FTII passed away this morning.

I'm on my way to her house; the phone hasn't stopped ringing. Perfunctory questions like 'your reactions please'?

How strange that I mentioned her in a piece I wrote on the FTII days just three days ago.

We were in touch on a WhatsApp group of FTII classmates.

I got a message yesterday that her condition was critical... she fell down at a shoot a month ago and injured her spine.

Unfortunately, she contracted an infection and had to undergo another surgery.

She was in excruciating pain because she was on dialysis and could not be administered strong pain killers.

And today, she is gone.

With her, go my memories of an easy comradeship, much laughter and affection that comes from living together.

Rita Bhaduri

Although we did not share a room at the FTII hostel, I had the habit of clambering into her bed after I woke up.

For as long as I can remember, I used to snuggle into my parents' bed first thing in the morning.

When I left home for FTII, it was Rita's bed I would tumble into.

There was something cute and impish about her.

We used to call her Tanuja (after the actress) because of her effervescence.

She was a good student, my closest competitor in class, but that did not colour our friendship.

Then life happened, and we went our separate ways.

Subhash K Jha