25 November, 2020

My Friend, The Dastango

Ankit Chadha was a young, trailblazing storyteller who won the hearts of the Kabir community before his death in a freak accident. A friend’s tribute.

Two facets of Ankit Chadha from the Kabir Festival archives
Photograph by Tanvir Shah
My Friend, The Dastango

It was a long Thursday. One that started off with the aroma of freshly baked brownies and ended with the scent of grief, of unexpressed grief. Or so I thought. That’s when my 11-year-old daughter shared the note she had written for Ankit:

“You were the happiest, funniest and the nicest. That’s what made you a lovely human being. Even though I wouldn’t understand all the jokes you adults would crack, I would just laugh along. Your smile brightened my world. I can’t believe that you are gone. You will always be in our hearts and we will always love you. Even if the others forget, just ­remember that I will always love you. Thoughts and prayers for you.”

I hugged her tight. Her initiation into the world of grief and despair had begun, with the demise of one of her favourite humans. There was an elephant sitting on her chest, refusing to get off. Like most of us, she couldn’t come to terms with Ankit’s death.

By now, my mind had become a bioscope with thoughts being played inside it through a barrage of...



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