Thursday, Sep 16, 2021
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A Word For The Wind

That was Nissim Ezekiel, poet, professor and person par excellence

A Word For The Wind
Madhu Kapparath
A Word For The Wind
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
On January 10, one of the first mornings of a new year, The Times of India told me that Nissim Ezekiel was dead. He had survived nearly 80 mostly tranquil years. But in the last few of them he suffered from Alzheimer's disease. It was a savage way for him to die, for he had always treasured the real world, and for the last few years his illness took it away from him. I did not see him often in these years. The last few times we met, he knew my face but could not place me. I had known Nissim, when he died, for more than half a century.

At our first encounter, in 1952 or 1953 I think, I was 14 or 15, and he had recently come back from England. The Fortune Press had produced his first book of verse, A Time to Change. I read it. By then I had started to read and write poetry, and with less fervour, short stories. Nissim had become the assistant editor of The Illustrated Weekly of India. The editor was Shaun Mandy, who was irascible and Irish, possessed of a good heart but no critical sense. Nissim told me once that Mandy was "a barbaric man". But he was then also about the...
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