Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa T S

Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa T S – Critical Appreciation | Nissim Ezekiel

Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa T SNissim Ezekiel has been considered as one of the finest Indo-Anglian poets. Nissim Ezekiel’s poem “Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa T S” vividly illustrates the Indian way of using English in a light-hearted vein. The narrator of the poem freely inverts the sentence structure and boldly coins wrong phrases and applies them at the wrong places.

Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa T S – Critical Appreciation

It is interesting to note that the very title of the poem comprises wrong use of a word ‘goodbye’ in place of ‘farewell’. It also hints at the habit of Indian people of employing initials of their middle and surname after the first name. Some Indians want to be known by their first names only.


Nissan Ezekiel’s poetry is exceptionally good in bringing out the humour in life’s contradictions at different levels. His poem “Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa T.S.” is characterized by colloquial speech, irony and sarcasm. The subject matter of Ezekiel’s poems is derived from Indian cities and villages. His poetry presents a multi-dimensional view of complex life of the people of India and their habits.

The poem “Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa T.S.” begins with the speaker’s address to an informal gathering. It is implied by the word, “Friends” in the very first line of the poem. The narrator informs that Miss Pushpa is leaving on a foreign trip. The lines:


our dear sister

is departing for foreign

in two three days,


we are meeting today

to wish her bon voyage.”

contain a number of mistakes. For example, “we are meeting to wish her bon voyage” clearly indicates an Indian way of using present progressive tense in place of simple present. The line “two three days” is also not found in Standard English usage. It is a literal translation of the expression by a speaker. The second stanza of the poem also begins with un-English usage.

“You are 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.”

The lines contain the words “You are knowing” “imply an un-English use of present progressive tense for ‘you know”. In Standard English usage, the present progressive tense is not used for cognitive processes such as know, remember, feel, wish, appreciate etc. The lines:

Miss Pushpa is smiling and smiling

Even for no reason

But simply because she is feeling.”

make the readers recall Robert Browning’s poem, “My Last Duchess’. In “My Last Duchess’, the Duke says:

“Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt,

Where’re I passed her; but who passed without

Much the same smile?” 

The lines give information about the character of Miss Pushpin T.S. She is amiable, sociable and probably a flirt. The lines are highly suggestive and ironic. Miss Pushpa’s smiling without any reason may be a sign of her mental vacuity. She may be a ‘loose virtue’; and her abnormal gaiety like that of the murdered Duchess in Browning’s “My Last Duchess’ indicates her ‘loose character’. The words of the speaker hint at her character.

“You are all knowing, friends

what sweetness is in Miss Pushpa”

In “Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpin T.S.”, Nissan Ezekiel has deliberately made use of Indian English, also called Pidgin English. He adroitly used present progressive tense in place of simple present in order to achieve humorous effect. It is one of his most famous poems like “Night of the Scorpion” which is characterized by ‘Indianness’.

In “Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa T.S.”, Ezekiel has presented a picture of the vain world of the English speaking upper-middle strata of society. There is fine blending of gentle satire and humour which is aimed at the narrator of the poem who confidently uses English by making great errors. He speaks typical Indian English in a formal tone.

The sarcastic remarks of the poet are directed against pretentions, affectations, and fashion of the middle-class Indian. The speaker praises Miss Pushpa for no reason. He praises her for intellectual qualities and her ‘amiable’ nature. He says that Miss Pushpa has ‘goodness of heart’. The speaker goes astray while eulogizing Miss Pushpa and her family. He forgets the whereabouts of Miss Pushpa. He remembers after some time that she is from Surat and not Bulsar.

Nissim Ezekiel has highlighted Indian habit of eulogizing high family connections and background of Miss Pushpa though it is irrelevant on the occasion of a ‘farewell party’. The words “Surat, Ah, yes” present a reminder to the speaker by someone that Miss Pushpa’s father once lived in Surat and not in Bulsar.

In order to create typical Indian atmosphere in typical Indian English, Ezekiel has composed a number of poems. In “Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpin T.S.” the readers have a familiar party setting. The narrator mentions various qualities of one Miss Pushpa T.S. who is going abroad. The stream of thoughts of the speaker in his typical manner of English produces humour which is tinged with irony.

“Coming back to Miss Pushpa

She is most popular lady

With men also and women also.

Miss Pushpa is praised for her ‘popularity’ among men and women. She is generous and helpful by nature. She is not in the habit of saying ‘no’ to people she is acquainted with. She is always ready to things whenever she is asked to do something. The speaker wishes her ‘bon voyage’ and asks others to say a few words in praise of Miss Pushpa. He also informs that Miss Pushpa will speak at the end.

Miss Pushpa’s tour to foreign country for her prospects clearly tells her material longings. In addition to this, the speaker also makes a number of mistakes in Standard English usage such like, ‘family members” for ‘members of the family’. Similarly, he uses the word ‘ladies’ in place of ‘women’ in the latter expression.

The speaker’s wrong expressions can be seen in the lines, “that was long time ago’“, and “with men also and women also”. The words ‘time’ and ‘also’ are superfluous and should be employed with care. The correct expressions are ‘that was long ago’ and ‘with men and women also’. These are examples of typical Indian English. The readers can find literal translation of expressions in Indian English such as ‘in two three days’, and ‘smiling and smiling’.

Sivaramkrishna states that the attempt to write Indian English poems is in itself ‘comic since it hardy transcends in most cases the level of the hybrid’ and that it only represents ‘the Indo-English poet’s own predicament’. Ezekiel has artistically used ‘irony and speaks with ‘tongue in cheek’. Nissim Ezekiel himself states, “No other Indo-Anglian poet has used the ‘tongue-in-cheek’ style so often as I have. It seems to be rooted in my temperament, whereas the others use it as an occasional device.”

Read it also:  The Retreat by Henry Vaughan

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