Early on Wednesday morning, I called poet, playwright and activist Mamta Sagar to speak with her to ask her about her memories of her childhood friend and neighbour Gowri Lankesh, who had been shot dead the previous night outside her home. She told me she was writing a song for Gowri that Vasu was going to sing later that day, and told me she’d call me back.
In twenty minutes, she did, and she told me about the time she and Gowri drove to Neenasam in Heggodu to watch Macbeth, and about the time when Gowri kidnapped her son and took him all around town every time she came to visit, one time falling asleep in the Indira Gandhi planetarium until the guard kicked them both out. She told me that people like Gauri would give strength to the younger generation, and people all around. And so it is.
The Vasu she was referring to was Vasu Dixit, vocalist at Swarathma. The song, titled For Gauri, was written in Kannada and translated by Mamta Sagar, and composed and sung by Vasu Dixit and Bindhumalini Narayanaswamy. It talks about the seven bullets that were aimed at Gauri and pierced deep into our hearts, “the sorrow frozen within [that] refuses to melt”, and ends with the exhortation to just spread peace.