Leading food writer Sabina Sehgal Saikia no more

Ankita Shukla

Mumbai, Nov 29: India’s leading food writer and restaurant reviewer Sabina Sehgal Saikia became the latest high profile citizen to be confirmed as dead in the dastardly terror attack on the Taj Hotel in Mumbai.

There was much speculation about the fate she had met after she lost contact with her husband on Thursday from her top floor suite at the Taj.

Sabina’a husband, Santanu Saikia and brother Nikhil had combed all the city’s hospitals for any information regarding her since they received her SMS saying “They are in the bathroom and I am hiding under my bed”. Her last message to her husband said “I still love you”. Another message sent to Sunil Sethi, a popular writer and a friend of Sabina’s said, “There is firing going on. My room in darkness. TV off. Phone on silent. They are inside. I’m scared and totally alone.”

Sabina was the acting consulting editor for the Times of India. Saikia was in Mumbai to attend a wedding as well as a special guest of the Taj Group, as she was to review the Taj gourmet. The management had put her in a suite on the sixth floor, near rooms occupied by the general manager`s family.

Though food and Sabina went hand in hand, she didn’t start her career with food. She was an active member of the ‘Spicmacay’, an organisation promoting culture among students.

She joined ‘The Times of India’ in the eighties to help organise the daily’s cultural events for its 150th anniversary. After a while she switched her beat and started covering the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI.

Later, she went on to become the editor of the popular supplement ‘Delhi Times’.

Saikia is remembered as one of the most forthright people around which was pretty much evident in her popular food column ‘Maincourse’ where she used to review a restaurant every single week, keeping in mind- the ambience, service, value for money and most importantly the food. The column it is said had the power to make or break restaurants.

It will not what it used to be like before, with Sunday approaching, another ‘Maincourse’ is eagerly awaited but there will be no Sabina to pen it down...