Talitha at the TVM Literary festival, Nov 2011
Talitha at a KRG reading in Thommo's house, Sep 2013
KRG members gathered to say goodbye to Talitha Mathew, one of our earliest members. Her husband Satish, a true friend of the Kochi Reading Group, has put in his papers with Harrisons Malayalam and they are returning to live in their home at Thiruvananthapuram (TVM).
Kavita organised a dinner at the Cochin Yacht Club to say adieu – but we hope to see them again on future occasions when they come to Kochi. Talitha is not retiring and will continue her work, though from TVM as base.
Pictures taken on the occasion are interspersed here.
You can read more below.
Joe gave a talk to tell the sorrow we all felt at our most valued member leaving. These were his words as he remembers them:
We bade you farewell once before and I even wrote a sonnet for the occasion; by reason of its rhyme you were constrained to stay back for several years! Our thanks also go to Satish for having facilitated the pleasure of your company at our gatherings. You have been the source of countless stimulating remarks, and been a leading contributor to our literary conversations, stemming from your wide teaching experience and love of English literature.
We wish retirements could be postponed forever so that Kochi instead of TVM could continue as the scene of your labours. But you are going to a city of greater cultural endowments. Perhaps, you will continue to read our blog and thus coming to know of our meetings, you will perhaps make a future visit to Kochi coincide with a meeting, and participate if you can. I recall Satish promised in one of his chivalrous moods ‘to send you to Kochi’, but I am sure you will need little urging for you have made KRG your home and us your admirers — and that was even before you published your poems recently.
We particularly recognise in you a love of Shakespeare. Your enthusiasm to organise the singers for the festival we had two years ago on his 450th birth anniversary resulted in a noteworthy contribution to that event. On KRG's blog we still have the sound files of three songs and a sonnet of Shakespeare which you trained others to sing, with you at the keyboard on May 5, 2009:
And the more recent performance of many Shakespeare songs when you conducted seven Elizabethan singers on the 450th birth anniversary are recorded here with full video:
and you have the DVDs. I hope you will organise a reading group in TVM and this time Satish can participate as a full member and enjoy those riches of poetry that lie a little beyond his boyhood favourites, Wordsworth and Tennyson in The Daffodils and The Charge of the Light Brigade.
Speaking of Shakespeare’s 400th death anniversary which KRG will observe on April 22 with an all-Shakespeare reading, it is interesting to recall how the Bard left the earth. Rev. John Ward, vicar of Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare is buried, wrote in his diary forty years later that the trio of men of letters – Ben Jonson, the dramatist, Michael Drayton, the Warwickshire poet, and Shakespeare – came together for ‘a merry meeting and it seems drank too hard, for Shakespeare died [two days later] of a fever there contracted.' What a glorious way to go!
Someone said recent radar scans show Shakespeare's skull is missing from his grave. It is distressing, considering that Shakespeare had ordered this warning written on his epitaph:
Good friend for Jesus' sake forbear,
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones.
It is difficult to evade the wrath of a magus ...