Sunday, October 29, 2006

Eric Newby

Eric Newby, I understand, died today.

Almost missed in the Times of India - a spec of a photo and this:
"He struck out for Afghanistan armed with British resoluteness, a pair of new boots and an exquisite taste for the absurd."

His best known book - to which the quote refers - is A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush. Justifably famous and so self-effacingly modest that Newby shines as much as the incredible journey.

Then there's Slowely Down the Ganges - possibly even more wonderful and warm as Newby's accompanied by his wife Wanda and so we get two keen perspectives on India.

I never met Mr. Newby but did spend a night in the Eric and Wanda Newby room at Fairlawn in Calcutta. Just a little brass plaque on the door and some black and white photos of Newby on the staircase. (Sadly, he didn't appear in my dreams that night, perched on the bed's end to relate a tale.)

I've got lots of Newby quotes sribbled about - will find and get some up as a sliver of a memorial.

What a really wonderful man and writer - can't communicate anything more eloquent than to recommend all of his books.


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