M P Vereendra Kumar MP opened India and Indian readers to me: Andrei Kurkov

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Renowned Ukrainian author Andrei Kurkov expressed condolences on the demise of Mathrubhumi Chairman & Managing Director and sitting Rajya Sabha MP, M P Veerendra Kumar:

Last night, Sri Vereendra Kumar died – a man of stunning charisma and of great mental power, politician, publisher, writer, journalist, Member of Parliament of India. Once he flew to Kiev together with a delegation of Indian journalists and brought “for autograph” a pack of my books in English. At the meeting, he promised that he would “open” India to me, and he would “open” me to Indian readers. He kept his word, for which I am sincerely grateful to him.

Andrei Kurkov
Andrei, flanked by former editor of Mathrubhumi periodicals and foremost living Malayalam writer M T Vasudevan Nair and Veerendra Kumar, lights the traditional ceremonial lamp at the S K birth centenary celebrations as writer M Mukundan and SK’s daughter Sumitra Jayaprakash look on. (photo: K K Santhosh)

Thus, in 2013 I was invited to be the chief guest at the birth centenary celebrations in Kozhikode, Kerala, of the legendary Malayalam writer, S K Pottekkat. Similarly, I am beholden to Mr. Kumar for having me as a permanent speaker at the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters, now into its third edition.

He will be buried in Wayanad, Kerala, on a plateau above the ocean, where the bitter smell of the famous Wayanad black pepper is in the air. You may not know, but your black pepper in the Ukrainian kitchens can also be from there, from Wayanad. The world is intertwined much stronger than you think.

Andrei Kurkov
Andrei is greeted at the Wayanad residence of Veeredra Kumar by wife Usha, granddaughters Devika, Mayura, daughter-in-law Kavita Shreyams Kumar and Gayathri (photo: Ullas V P)

Memories burn bright of a man who perfectly understood that the future of the people depends on their cultural level. He not only understood that, but also spent his whole life so that this level would constantly rise not only in his native state of Kerala and throughout India, but across the world.

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