Saturday, November 29, 2008

Obituary: Sabina Sehgal Saikia

Sabina Sehgal Saikia was a food writer who had been with the Times of India group for over 17 years who at the time of her untimely demise had risen to Consulting Editor at the publication. She died in the Terror attacks in Mumbai where she was staying on the 6th floor. She was in Mumbai for the wedding of Bachi Karkaria's son next week.

Sabina could make or break a Delhi restaurant based on her reviews. She initially wrote an extremely popular column called "Main Course" for the Saturday Times, which later moved to the Delhi Times.

I was first introduced to her, when I picked up the Times of India Restaurant Guide for Delhi, 8 years ago. My next 2 years in Delhi were made tolerable by this handy book. I tried out restaurants based on her recommendations and agreed with her judgment over 80% of the time. She was honest and direct.

The Times of India Restaurant Guides to Hyderabad and Bombay could never match up to the standard that Sabina had set. She had spoiled me against other guides with her perfection and accuracy.

I subscribed to the Times of India in Delhi, just to read her column, although the Hindustan Times gave much better news coverage in Delhi.

An excellent cook herself, she soon visited me in my living room on NDTV cooks demonstrating an especially fiery looking Green Chilli Pickle.

I never met her face-to-face, but I felt like I knew a part of her. The part of her that loved good food and in Saif Ali Khan's words "acha khaana khane ke liye, hum kahin pe bhi chalenge" (to eat good food, we will travel anywhere) and in a wierd way, I identified with this part of her.

Sabina will be sorely missed in the food writers world. Our sympathies go out to her husband Shantanu and her two young children who will feel her absence much more than her millions of devoted readers.

Sabina you brought joy into the lives of food lovers: May your Soul, Rest in Peace.

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