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  • Meerabai (1498 - 1547) was a passionate Hindu mystical singer and a devotee of Lord Krishna, who composed over 1200 devotional songs called bhajans. She is considered a saint.

    Meera Uberoi, my classmate, an author and sometime friend, was no saint at all. She chain-smoked, used and abused drugs in college and for a few years afterwards, came out of it, taught in a school for a while, and waltzed in and out of three marriages.

    Two years ago i heard she was quite ill and tried to track her down. And then I wrote about the conversation in a blog. This is the extract:

    Finally contacted Meera Uberoi through Amina Ali who sent me her phone no. Chatted with her for about 40 mts. She's very ill, some pancreatic something or the other. The amazing thing is that she has been through at least three major surgeries and even the doctors and her friends didn't expect her to survive but she did. She told me that her gall bladder was removed, and also part of her intestine and part of her stomach too. She can't digest carbohydrates and fats but she's told to have a lot of proteins. She's no longer in Bangalore. She lives in Delhi because she's under treatment and her doctors are there. With all her problems though she seems quite cheerful and at times a little sardonic.

    I asked her about marriage and she said that she's been married more times than she cared to remember. She didn't say exactly how many times but I presume it was three. She said that each time she walked out of marriage without taking anything. That's really rare nowadays cos most of the time people keep fighting over possessions and custody of children etc. Meera doesn't have any children though. At first she said she felt bitter about it but then came to terms with it.

    Do you know Meera is an author and has written quite a few books? She's written books for children, books on health and a comprehensive tome on gardening too. In fact she says that she would have loved to be a gardener because she has a green thumb and loves plants. She wrote she says, because that was the one talent she had. She had even ventured into painting just by chance, without any training. Meera said she would love to hear from friends but she is not computer savvy at all. If any of you would like to get in touch with her then I'll give you her phone no. It was fascinating talking to Meera and I think a book should be written on her now.

    . In order to write her first book 'The Mahabharata' Meera spent five years in the mountains, doing research and writing the manuscript by hand. She also attended a seminar based on the Mahabharata. A Sanskrit scholar felt quite disgusted when he saw her lighting a cigarette. He smirked, "She smokes. What will she know about the Mahabharata?" Meera's terse reply: "He was chewing tobacco. I was smoking it. Same thing."

    It may sound funny but Meera also wrote books for children that were published by Puffin. Somehow Meera and puffin seem to go together. Puffin Books is the children's imprint of British publishers Penguin Books.

    Last year I lost touch with Meera again. She couldn't or wouldn't answer the phone or respond to messages.

    Two weeks back a friend mentioned in an email that Meera had passed away.

    No details were given but I believe she breathed her last in Ahmedabad and not in Delhi where she lived for the last few years. She refused to give up smoking and never believed that it had anything to do with her illness.

    RIP Meera. Hope you're found your peace. And hey, keep puffin. You're no saint but I'm sure you've found your heaven.
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