Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa TS

August 22, 2007 at 11:37 am 32 comments

Nissim Ezekiel

Listen

Friends,
our dear sister
is departing for foreign
in two three days,
and
we are meeting today
to wish her bon voyage.

You are all knowing, friends,
what sweetness is in Miss Pushpa.
I don’t mean only external sweetness
but internal sweetness.
Miss Pushpa is smiling and smiling
even for no reason
but simply because she is feeling.

Miss Pushpa is coming
from very high family.
Her father was renowned advocate
in Bulsar or Surat,
I am not remembering now which place.

Surat? Ah, yes,
once only I stayed in Surat
with family members
of my uncle’s very old friend,
his wife was cooking nicely…
that was long time ago.

Coming back to Miss Pushpa
she is most popular lady
with men also and ladies also.
Whenever I asked her to do anything,
she was saying, ‘Just now only
I will do it.’ That is showing
good spirit. I am always
appreciating the good spirit.
Pushpa Miss is never saying no.
Whatever I or anybody is asking
she is always saying yes,
and today she is going
to improve her prospect
and we are wishing her bon voyage.

Now I ask other speakers to speak
and afterwards Miss Pushpa
will do summing up.

It’s about time we had some Ezekiel on this site, no? Long before Rushdie wrote Midnight’s Children, Nissim Ezekiel was rendering the way English is really spoken in India with pitch-perfect accuracy, perfectly capturing the quirks, the nuances, the familiar turns of phrase – the bizarre combination of schoolbook formalese and shoddy grammar – in clever little poems like this one. If you’ve lived in India you know exactly what this little speech sounds like (I’ve tried to capture some of its flavor in my reading, but I’m almost certainly not doing it justice) – with a little effort you can probably even imagine the way the speaker looks, and even, perhaps, the audience he’s speaking to. If good poetry is about finding a ‘voice’ then there are few more charming, more immediately recognizable to our ears than that of Ezekiel.

Of course, there’s more to Ezekiel’s poetry than just his grasp of Indian English. If anything, it’s a pity that a man who did so much to advance the cause of modern poetry in India should be remembered for what is, in the final analysis, little more than a clever party trick. It’s just that when it comes to writing like this Ezekiel stands alone, while his other work, while frequently lovely, is far from exceptional and (I must confess) often strikes me as a little dated.

And let’s not underestimate the difficulty of writing a piece like Miss Pushpa. It’s not easy, after all, to get people to laugh at themselves. You don’t just need an exceptionally gifted and observant ear to write like this, you also need a considerable amount of talent to manage just the right balance of satire, wit and good humor to make this funny while robbing it of its sting. It would take very little to make this poem outright offensive, but in Ezekiel’s subtle hands it is genial and charming, a poem delivered with a smile and a wink of the eye.

[falstaff]

Entry filed under: English, Falstaff, Nissim Ezekiel. Tags: .

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32 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jj  |  August 27, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    :)

    Reply
  • 2. Harshita  |  November 17, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Oh this is a wonderfully hilariously Indian poem :)

    Reply
  • 3. PRIYA  |  July 14, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Its very humorous .

    Reply
  • 4. MOHAN,M.  |  August 3, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    A harsh poetical satire on Indian Englih.

    Reply
  • 5. aruns  |  October 1, 2009 at 6:23 am

    NICE SATIRE IN LYRIC

    Reply
  • 6. aruns  |  October 1, 2009 at 6:28 am

    MAY I WRITE ONE LIKE THIS—I WAS READING AND UNDERSTANDING AND FEELING ONCE ONLY WHEN MY BROTHER COUSIN WAS TELLING AND PERSUADING ME ONLY FOR READING THIS POEM

    Reply
  • 7. meet  |  February 20, 2010 at 11:57 am

    its good

    Reply
  • 8. sujay  |  April 5, 2010 at 4:39 am

    Its a nice poem by Nissim.
    The language used by him is simple, which sounds intresting and sweet.

    Reply
  • 9. Devang Rangani  |  April 29, 2010 at 9:44 am

    This is a great literary piece of Humourous Poetry.
    Why it is considered to be a satire on Indian English Writing or Speaking? To me we somehow devalue Indian English Language. As per my opinion. Indian English Language (Skill of Speaking) is our own. Dont you remember Kamladas says ” The Language I speak becomes mine”, similarly the Language we speak becomes our. The poem to me is not an attack on the Language but a kind of refelection; a pure, true and natural portrayal of the way we, the Indians articulate English.

    Reply
    • 10. mahesh dholiya  |  September 14, 2010 at 5:15 am

      your comment is marveled my mind,indeed.

      Reply
  • 11. Devang Rangani  |  April 29, 2010 at 9:53 am

    To those who condem Our Indian Language;
    please read the lines, taken from a peom by Kamala Das namely ” An Introduction”.

    “The Language I speak becomes mine, its distortions,its queernesses all mine, mine alone. It’s half English, half Indian, funny perhaps, but it honest,…It voices my joys, my longings, my Hopes and it is useful to me as cawing to crows and roaring to lions…”

    Reply
  • 12. Devang Rangani  |  April 29, 2010 at 10:00 am

    The poem tells about a typicall Indian and shows us his innocent and sensible temprament.
    Please read how the writer mentions his own personal sensibilities and memories when mentions the name of ‘Surat’.

    “Surat? Ah, yes,
    once only I stayed in Surat
    with family members
    of my uncle’s very old friend,
    his wife was cooking nicely…
    that was long time ago.”

    Reply
  • 13. Devang Rangani  |  May 10, 2010 at 5:03 am

    The poem tells about a typicall Indian and shows us his innocent and sensible temprament.
    Please read how the writer mentions his own personal sensibilities and memories when mentions the name of ‘Surat’.

    “Surat? Ah, yes,
    once only I stayed in Surat
    with family members
    of my uncle’s very old friend,
    his wife was cooking nicely…
    that was long time ago.”

    Reply
  • 14. vignesh  |  July 10, 2010 at 6:11 am

    i like to enjoy this poem to read in any time

    Reply
  • 15. AMBEDKAR  |  July 29, 2010 at 11:55 am

    DELICIOUS AND BEAUTIFUL POEM

    Reply
  • 16. mahesh dholiya  |  September 14, 2010 at 5:11 am

    it is comic foray on indian speaking english and very hilarious. i like so much as if i love my soul

    Reply
  • 17. mahesh dholiya  |  September 14, 2010 at 5:13 am

    it is very hilarious and comic foray on indian writing in english.i am loving it so much as if i love my soul

    Reply
  • 18. RUKMINI VEMRAJU  |  January 8, 2011 at 6:27 am

    at the farewell party to ms. pushpa .t.
    (with sincere due apology
    to great poet late shri nissim .e.)

    life for working lady
    is full of difficulty!
    just other day I am attending
    farewell party, for ms.pushpa.t.
    (nice lady, my section only!)
    one mr. john, is sitting in my next chair
    in office, he is on another floor
    some times meeting on stair
    always smiling, rarely talking.
    anyhow,
    he is giving me something
    wrapped in paper towel.
    innocently, i am taking
    it is hot dog, he is telling
    at once i am dropping
    my kanjeevarm saree spoiling
    but i am not at all caring!
    how he can do like this?
    i am chaste high class lady
    is he not knowing or what?
    everyday I am putting
    sacred ash on forehead
    (after bath and prayers)
    is he not seeing or what?
    internally i am boiling
    but externally only smiling
    and sternly telling
    sir, i am not taking dogs
    whether hot or cold.
    but he is only laughing
    as though i am joking!!
    what he will understand?
    (may be taking cow and pig also!)

    but one thing i am confiding
    in you only, why because
    like me, you are broad of mind!
    in the speech, they are mentioning
    spirit, suddenly it is clicking
    like word association
    that’s why i am telling
    wine, i am liking
    and sometimes also taking
    somewhere i am reading
    its nectar of gods
    ( goddess too, you think?)
    anyhow, its made from fruit only, no?
    but still
    whenever I am partaking
    i am also caretaking
    not to mud sling on family name
    and using steel tumbler only
    so nobody is guessing
    because as high class lady
    i am very mindful
    of family name , decorum,
    and other things.

    here is the link to the original masterpiece
    https://audiopoetry.wordpress.com/2007/08/22/goodbye-party-for-miss-pushpa-ts/

    Reply
  • 19. I walk English; I talk English « The Dream Grave  |  March 1, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    […] Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa TS […]

    Reply
  • 20. Piedade D'Souza  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:43 am

    this comment is in reply to miss rukmini vemraju, I appreciate the poem u have written and congratulate u to bring out the nuances that we indians still repeat even today. the poem is simply indian and none other than an indian can produce one such poem just like Sir nissim Ezekiel. One needs the eye of a critic to bring it out so well.

    Reply
  • 22. DR.R.VIVEKAANANDHAN  |  September 20, 2011 at 6:39 am

    Nissim Ezekiel has captured the ‘errors’ in Indian English marvellously through this poem

    Reply
  • 23. japjee oberoi (@URBANangell)  |  October 11, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    #RapeEnglish wat cud b better dan dis…!!

    Reply
  • 24. raja  |  February 8, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Poem is fucking double meaning!!>>>>>

    Reply
  • 25. tyson  |  February 17, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    we literally put a tune to this poem and made it sound more hilarious and funny!!

    Reply
  • 26. Bishen rai  |  March 18, 2012 at 9:57 am

    We have our exam tomorrow abt it.

    Reply
  • 27. no name  |  May 9, 2012 at 8:59 am

    stupid poem useless !~!!

    Reply
  • 28. Pothahar  |  June 26, 2012 at 10:16 am

    can u tell me the poem meaning?

    Reply
  • 29. shaikh qadeer  |  November 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    so simple and typical words used by eziekil. and thats the reason he became the father of modern english. wordsworth too had the same opinion expressed in poetic diction.

    Reply
  • 30. Yogesh  |  September 9, 2013 at 3:58 am

    Really Niceo one Poem. Feel Indian English. English Language is not anyone’s father Property.

    Reply
  • 31. Yogesh Ramani - Rajkot  |  September 9, 2013 at 3:59 am

    I would love to teach Poem in a class.

    Reply
  • 32. Bye Miss Cat. :(-healthy for living tips  |  October 20, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    […] Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa TS | pō'ĭ-trē […]

    Reply

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