Friday, June 25, 2010

Letter to my Father

I was always a little in awe of you,
The way you explained Marx
Making his dreams come alive,
The way you spun the wheels of time
With Hegel and history's dynamics,
The way you dissected Ayn Rand
When I returned from hostel too full of her,
The way you touched an idealistic core
With tales of Garibaldi and Guevera,
The way you made Euclid look simple
And Freud believable,
The way you turned me away from bigotry
And taught me that Gandhi was indeed a mahatma,
The way you ignited my dreams
Giving them wings to soar
Into a cloudless sky.

I was always a little in fear of you,
Of your silences that grew heavy
Digging roots in the corners of the house,
Of the thundering shadows in your face
That would make us speak in whispers,
Of the deepening frowns in your forehead
As I grew older and started crossing
More and more often
The lines of propriety,
Of the sadness in your eyes
When for a brief period
I became a rebel just because
I had nothing else to do,
Of the way you believed
My dreams would find
A place to rest one day.

I always hated you a little,
Hated that the best you could afford
Was a second-hand, run-down car,
Hated that there was no television
In our home till I was in tenth,
Hated that you hit me once
Even though I was seventeen,
And hated you even more
When I caught hold of the descending blow,
And you never raised your hand again, ever after,
There were also times when I hated
Your honesty that could be heartless,
Your conscience that could be mindless,
Your zest for life, your way with words,
All that in you which could
Make me feel just a little bit smaller.

Awe, fear, hatred, all were there,
But there was love as well,
Like a placid sea whose depth
Is untested, untried and unknown,
The way you purposely lost at chess,
Your pride in my amateurish poems
Which I can't, even now, bear to read,
Your laughter, your wit, your stories,
The way you would ruffle my hair
Thinking I was deep asleep,
Your dragging me out in the rains,
The way our talks would lengthen
Deep into chilly winter nights
Over smouldering embers,
The way you looked at Ma entranced
Whenever she sang a song.

Had I known it to be the last goodbye
When slowly the train steamed ahead
And your face dissolved in the crowd,
I would have imprisoned the moment,
Two days later in Delhi I got the news,
Rushing back to find that you were gone,
The cold, unseeing, unfeeling flesh
Could not be you, and so
I did not shed any tears that day,
And have not done so these past fifteen years,
Though every day I have died a little as well.

Cleaning your closet, I found a book
Of your poems, a testament
To your concerns and tears,
Your dreams and fears,
Your joys and sorrows,
Your life and the way you lived it,
Your laughter rustling the pages,
Your tears staining them brown,
The words faded with experience,
The binding falling apart
Unable to hold such beauty together.

I did not write a word these fifteen years,
It has taken me this long
To come to terms,
With my loss
And my mediocrity.


  1. jst lovely... & beyond words...

  2. The most beautiful poem and dedication I've eve read. Hats off to you Gurudev :))