Saturday, June 21, 2014

Who Are You?

Who are you?
Appa asks her.
His eyes, confused.
His hair, tousled.
His mind, a messy tangle.
Memory fading into oblivion.
Cobwebs of darkness all around.

She says,
'Don't you remember, Appa?
I am your little one.
The one who fought over Scrabble with you.
When I was little
You held my hand,
Sat me on your lap
And helped me trace
The sacred harisree letters
In the plate of grain
On my vidyarambham day'

'Don't you remember, Appa?
I am your little one.
You told me numerous stories.
How Krishna opened His mouth
And revealed the entire cosmos
To a startled Yashoda;
How Jesus calmed a storm
Brewing in the Sea of Galilee
Simply by raising his palm;
How Skanda tricked Avvaiyar paati
With the fruit from the jambu tree...'

'Don't you remember, Appa?
You made coffee for me at 2 am
While I struggled to commit to memory
The complex rules of quadratic algebra.
Years later, when I went to university
Far away from the home I love,
You became my alarm clock
During those frenzied days of exams
Not minding that you lived half a world away.'

'Don't you remember, Appa?
You were always so brave, fearless.
You would clutch my hand
As the village oracle danced his way to each house
Blood red robes, shaking his sword all over
Declaring the prophecies of Bhagavati.
As you placed the silver coins as dakshina
In front of him, you would tell me
To think of Swami and forget my fears.
And yet, today
As people in this vast city
Chant the cries of Ganpati baapa morya
Taking their idols to be immersed
In the vast nothingness of the Arabian Sea
You clutch my hand,
Fearful of the noises
That are now unknown to you.'

'Don't you remember, Appa?
I am your little one'
She says again.
He looks at her again.
'Who are you?'
And in a desperate struggle to
Awaken some distant recess of his mind,
A single tear flows down his cheeks.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Who Are You?

Who are you?
Appa asks her.
His eyes, confused.
His hair, tousled.
His mind, a messy tangle.
Memory fading into oblivion.
Cobwebs of darkness all around.

She says,
'Don't you remember, Appa?
I am your little one.
The one who fought over Scrabble with you.
When I was little
You held my hand,
Sat me on your lap
And helped me trace
The sacred harisree letters
In the plate of grain
On my vidyarambham day'

'Don't you remember, Appa?
I am your little one.
You told me numerous stories.
How Krishna opened His mouth
And revealed the entire cosmos
To a startled Yashoda;
How Jesus calmed a storm
Brewing in the Sea of Galilee
Simply by raising his palm;
How Skanda tricked Avvaiyar paati
With the fruit from the jambu tree...'

'Don't you remember, Appa?
You made coffee for me at 2 am
While I struggled to commit to memory
The complex rules of quadratic algebra.
Years later, when I went to university
Far away from the home I love,
You became my alarm clock
During those frenzied days of exams
Not minding that you lived half a world away.'

'Don't you remember, Appa?
You were always so brave, fearless.
You would clutch my hand
As the village oracle danced his way to each house
Blood red robes, shaking his sword all over
Declaring the prophecies of Bhagavati.
As you placed the silver coins as dakshina
In front of him, you would tell me
To think of Swami and forget my fears.
And yet, today
As people in this vast city
Chant the cries of Ganpati baapa morya
Taking their idols to be immersed
In the vast nothingness of the Arabian Sea
You clutch my hand,
Fearful of the noises
That are now unknown to you.'

'Don't you remember, Appa?
I am your little one'
She says again.
He looks at her again.
'Who are you?'
And in a desperate struggle to
Awaken some distant recess of his mind,
A single tear flows down his cheeks.