Poem: Letter to The Hindu

fountain pen/ the hindu
Dear Sir, I spotted a grave error
in your Religion column today.

Why must we rely on unholy
ISKCON translations of the divine
book? Can you not read Sanskrit?

I fear that our schools no longer
teach the glorious language. I also
fear, that our schools no longer
impart a solid foundation in English
either. Please pay close attention

to the eight mistakes I have circled
with my fountain pen. In royal
washable blue. I also fear, that
children no longer use nibs to
write. Their writing is horrible. Nasty.
I can never understand what my
grandson writes in his notebooks.

But these days he emails.

I don’t want to tell you his name.
His parents didn’t give him mine.
He might as well be nameless.
Why do young parents give their
progeny such non-Brahmin names?

I am in deep despair.

Why aren’t young girls wearing
their pottu? Why aren’t the older
ladies chanting the Lord’s name?
Salwar Kameez is a Muslim dress.
I kindly request you to publish, at
once, an article on the perils of

losing our culture. The bank officials
no longer know my name. I am
retired, and seventy-five years
old, and they do not call me sir.

Your crossword has too many post-
modern references. What is Milan?
A city or a man’s name? Have you
ever heard of a man named Madras?
It is wrong. What will Kalki do when

He finally comes? Which also reminds
me, nobody sings properly anymore.
What sort of a message are we sending
to our next generation, when a song
asks “Should we tie the knot, and then
reproduce, or give birth to children,

and then tie the knot?”.

Yours truly, faithfully, sincerely, etc,
Mr Sadashivam (Retired, Southern Railways.)


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0 Responses to Poem: Letter to The Hindu

  1. Abi says:

    And the editor ‘edited’ the letter. This is how it appeared in the newspaper:


    Why must we rely on unholy
    [to] teach the glorious language.
    I … fear that
    children no longer use nibs to
    write. Their writing is horrible. Nasty.

    What is Milan?
    I am in deep despair.
    Nobody sings properly anymore

    (Retired, Southern Railways.)


  2. Pingback: DesiPundit » Archives » Must Read Letter to The Hindu

  3. Firstrain says:

    So tied up in nutty knots, we are.


  4. Sathya says:

    Hi Neha,

    I dont see the crux of the poem here.

    What is the point you are trying to make?

    Ok agreed … Hindu has long been the escape of banian / dhoti wearing sacred ash smeared on the forehead men, drinking steaming cothas coffee from stainless steel tumblers…. But what more?

    And do I have to remind you of the patronage the Hindu Crossword enjoys among the young and old alike. Reach to any college campus and you will know this.

    I have seen many a mere literal dissect this newspaper to shreds, and what do you yearn for the TOI? Of course you would… Of course you would want to here the size of Rakhi Sawant’s revealed clothing being discussed on first page.

    Why would you want to read about anything else, when mere titiliation can get your attention faster than any cerebral opinion…



  5. Sathya says:

    Sorry for a typo in the prev comment

    read *here in the fourth sentence from the last as hear



  6. Abi: That was hilarious! ROTFL! How a masterful piece is scrubbed and chopped to suit the small column for Letters To The Editor.

    Gaurav Mishra: Thanks!

    Firstrain: But what charming nuttiness, no?

    Sathya: Oh dear – such strong sentiments for a newspaper? Idu ellam..


  7. Fifth In Line says:

    Neha – Wonderful poem. I found myself feeling sorry for the old man in the same breath that I was laughing.

    Sathya – What precisely do you mean by Rakhi Sawantโ€™s revealed clothing . Revealed as in – a sudden burst of knowledge through a sermon? Hopefully, you mean revealing. Actually, I must thank you – for a late night read – while I first found myself charmed by the poem, reading your comment made me laugh for an entire ten minutes, before I could calm myself enough to write this comment.


  8. amit varma says:

    Outrageously good!


  9. desi witch says:

    even though i was mad at the old man i was feeling sorry for him. beautiful, as always, neha.


  10. Neel says:

    and what of the lost one of our generation who wants to write , and there is no one who will ever write back?

    but gradually in the rush to get ahead, we are leaving behind the ones without whom we would not be here – our ancestors …


  11. shoefiend says:

    Quite simply one of your best.


  12. Goyal says:


    Brilliant Poem!!

    One feedback though on site design – your sidebar breaks in IE (I use 6+) and appears below the comment box.


  13. dipali says:

    Poor Mr.Sadashivam- his world has changed so much…..At least The Hindu remains constant. I actually read it a day (or two) late as it isn’t published in Kolkata, but better late than never. Basically addicted to the crossword and some of the columnists.
    All the above reveal me to be an old fogey. Well, almost- haven’t written anything to The Hindu yet!


  14. km says:

    Goodly outrageous.

    You’re on a poetic roll, Neha!

    (Is commenting in a blog akin to writing to the editor?)


  15. Saurabh says:

    amazing… !


  16. curiouscat says:

    Marvelous! You made my day!


  17. vidya says:

    LOL. I truly loved this one…Anaal.. ippadalil poruL kuRRam irukkiradhu..

    As much as Sadasivam mama would like to, have you ever tried filling in the tiny squares of the Hindu Crossword with a pen in royal blue or otherwise.I have and failed miserably.The Hindu and Ie are notoriously good blotting papers.


  18. Hardheadipus Oedipus says:

    How dare you test a busy editor’s patience with that poem of yours ๐Ÿ™‚
    Just kidding. You write beautifully. Right up there with the very best. Cheers.


  19. Sathya says:

    Neha>> Correct orru newspaperkku ivallavlaam feelings kaatakudadudaan correctu…
    Fifth in line>> Me too had a good laughter in retrospect. Different people .. Different tastes… Some feel passionate about Rakhi Sawant, some about Pallavi Ayyar.
    Thanks Bro…Cheers,



  20. Dina Mehta says:

    this is sheer brilliance – you’re on a roll girl. we want MORE ๐Ÿ™‚


  21. Naren says:

    If this is the unedited letter, it should have been signed as “V.R. Sadashivam Iyer” :p


  22. sajith says:

    Clap clap clap!

    Please start a poetry podcast or some such Maami. Would love to hear them recited.


  23. Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant


  24. Dawn says:

    Cool…I like your way of expression…keep rockin gal


  25. Ravages says:

    No pechu anymore. You only writer.


  26. witnwisdumb says:

    I loved Jabberwocky.


  27. ds says:

    Amazing!! Extremely amazing.


  28. Rahul says:

    Is this cut-and-pasted from actual letters? It certainly reads like that — very “authentic” sounding.


  29. Abhay says:

    What a crappy article…

    You stick to the toilet paper of india


  30. mystic rose says:

    awesome! ๐Ÿ™‚


  31. SG says:

    If you haven’t read them before:

    Nissim Ezekiel: The Patriot

    Also, The Professor



  32. jammy says:

    While the poem is good…what is the objective. Guess, thats what makes a poet brilliant….

    If we understood Keats and Robert Frost and Eliot…we wouldn’t be reading them in school. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  33. K 3 says:



  34. sadashivam says:

    Bhagawan ungala dhandipaar.


  35. Manjunatha says:

    Is there a place called Sadashivam in Tamil Nadu? Or is there a deity named Sadashivanathan?


  36. Jax says:

    Nice… reminds me of Nissim Ezekiel.

    The Patriot

    I am standing for peace and non-violence.
    Why world is fighting fighting
    Why all people of world
    Are not following Mahatma Gandhi,
    I am simply not understanding.
    Ancient Indian Wisdom is 100% correct,
    I should say even 200% correct,
    But modern generation is neglecting-
    Too much going for fashion and foreign thing.

    Other day I’m reading newspaper
    (Every day I’m reading Times of India
    To improve my English Language)
    How one goonda fellow
    Threw stone at Indirabehn.
    Must be student unrest fellow, I am thinking.
    Friends, Romans, Countrymen, I am saying (to myself)
    Lend me the ears.
    Everything is coming –
    Regeneration, Remuneration, Contraception.
    Be patiently, brothers and sisters.

    You want one glass lassi?
    Very good for digestion.
    With little salt, lovely drink,
    Better than wine;
    Not that I am ever tasting the wine.
    I’m the total teetotaller, completely total,
    But I say
    Wine is for the drunkards only.

    What you think of prospects of world peace?
    Pakistan behaving like this,
    China behaving like that,
    It is making me really sad, I am telling you.
    Really, most harassing me.
    All men are brothers, no?
    In India also
    Gujaratis, Maharashtrians, Hindiwallahs
    All brothers –
    Though some are having funny habits.
    Still, you tolerate me,
    I tolerate you,
    One day Ram Rajya is surely coming.

    You are going?
    But you will visit again
    Any time, any day,
    I am not believing in ceremony
    Always I am enjoying your company.

    — Nissim Ezekiel

    btw… I think I remember you from WSF Mumbai…



  37. Jax says:

    Oops… just saw that someone has already posted Ezekiel.
    My bad…


  38. Milan could be a subway in addition to being a city/man’s name ๐Ÿ˜€