OUP Farewell Speech
Friday, 4 September 2009. 5.20 p.m.
(After 10 years of service)
At the outset I want to thank each and every one of you for coming this evening. I used to think I am a loner but now seeing so many of you I can’t say for sure.
The years I have spent at OUP have been a rich learning experience. For this I thank Mr. Manzar Khan, Mr. Ranjan Kaul and Farzana [present].
I want to thank each of you, who have helped me in my personal and professional life during my tenure here. For this I would like you to put your hands together for the wonderful support you have all been in my life [polite clapping].
In moments of deepest significance in life I often hearken back to Shakespeare (though my sister doesn’t quite see the point!) [polite laughter]:
All the world’s a stage
And the men and women merely players
They have their exits and entrances
And one man in his life plays many parts.
Shakespeare, As You Like It
In certain ways I am of a mind to discover those other dimensions, those other parts of myself - to try to actualize what I could be in this lifetime.
For me, when I joined in 1999, OUP was a vast library in which I was delighted to be let loose to prowl among books. I recall the Friday afternoon do’s where colleagues across departments met up, filching time from their lunch break to dwell on such esoteric topics like the sacred music of the German mystic Hildegard von Bingen, or the lyrics of Leonard Cohen.
What moved me the most was the way all of us celebrated each and every festival be it Diwali, Id or Christmas. One memorable Diwali all of us brought lighted candles into the then ELT area and we turned off the lights!
And now the last bus calls. My second book of poems A Peace of India: Poems in Transit is on the anvil. We are already in first proof – a tribute to the spirit of this indomitable land of ours.
If it were not for OUP many of the poems in this collection would not have got written. Wherever we went for our annual editorial workshops - or I was sent officially - I used to scribble on the sidelines . . . Kohima, Kufri, Corbett, Lucknow, Ballia, Bhimtal, Bhopal, Goa to name a few places.
I want to specially thank my ELT department with whom I have shared many moments. They have laid out this lavish fare on this day with so much of thought and care.
To end I want to sing you a song from Goa on my guitar. . .
Hundra Mhojea Mama [Uncle rat don’t play with the kitten of the cat]
And since Christmas is round the corner I want to play this Spanish carol for the festive season - our favourite, and the one we always used to sing every Christmas:
Felice Novidade [Merry Christmas]
(Speeches by Farzana and Neetu after which well-wishers proceed to partake of snacks.)