Monday, June 1, 2015

Grandpa

Slowly shuffling into the kitchen
Feet wrapped in rubber blue Bata chappals,
He boils milk in a saucepan
For the first chai of the day.
Long morning hours engrossed
In the hidden meaning of the Scriptures
And then the tiny newsprint of the Hindu,
He gently falls asleep,
Mouth open, like Mr Whatzisname,
A similarity I pounced on with glee
Since those were the days I lived
On a steady diet of Enid Blyton and
The magic of the Faraway Tree.
A faint snore, and then
He awakes with a start
Goes outside, to the balcony
To collect the dry laundry.
Every time I cry,
He wipes away the stubborn tears.
His eyes reflect pain;
He shakes his head and says,
'Don't cry, mol'.
He looks at the photo of Muruga
The warrior god, after whom he is named.
Pointing at the photo, he smiles.
'Why do you fear, when He is here?'

The temple at Marudhamalai,
Cave shrine at the bottom of the hill,
Where a self realised sage, a siddhar
Spoke to slithering snakes,
Green aluminium cupboard
With all its naphthalene balls
And carefully preserved silk,
Bottles and bottles of kashayam,
Camphor lit at dusk,
Vanishing in the heat of the flame,
A priest applying vibhuti on the forehead
Of a small child,
Tokens of blessings,
Sacred fire to ward off the evil eye.
They all remind me of him.
How he'd stand at the doorway
Welcoming us back home.
And when it was time to leave,
He'd wave till our car had disappeared.
He'd always insist that I say,
'Bye, I'll go and come back'.
Not a plain bald 'Bye'
That we toss around so casually in English.
And yet, when he left,
It was an abrupt cruel 'Bye'
No promise of a return.
A final goodbye.

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Grandpa

Slowly shuffling into the kitchen
Feet wrapped in rubber blue Bata chappals,
He boils milk in a saucepan
For the first chai of the day.
Long morning hours engrossed
In the hidden meaning of the Scriptures
And then the tiny newsprint of the Hindu,
He gently falls asleep,
Mouth open, like Mr Whatzisname,
A similarity I pounced on with glee
Since those were the days I lived
On a steady diet of Enid Blyton and
The magic of the Faraway Tree.
A faint snore, and then
He awakes with a start
Goes outside, to the balcony
To collect the dry laundry.
Every time I cry,
He wipes away the stubborn tears.
His eyes reflect pain;
He shakes his head and says,
'Don't cry, mol'.
He looks at the photo of Muruga
The warrior god, after whom he is named.
Pointing at the photo, he smiles.
'Why do you fear, when He is here?'

The temple at Marudhamalai,
Cave shrine at the bottom of the hill,
Where a self realised sage, a siddhar
Spoke to slithering snakes,
Green aluminium cupboard
With all its naphthalene balls
And carefully preserved silk,
Bottles and bottles of kashayam,
Camphor lit at dusk,
Vanishing in the heat of the flame,
A priest applying vibhuti on the forehead
Of a small child,
Tokens of blessings,
Sacred fire to ward off the evil eye.
They all remind me of him.
How he'd stand at the doorway
Welcoming us back home.
And when it was time to leave,
He'd wave till our car had disappeared.
He'd always insist that I say,
'Bye, I'll go and come back'.
Not a plain bald 'Bye'
That we toss around so casually in English.
And yet, when he left,
It was an abrupt cruel 'Bye'
No promise of a return.
A final goodbye.

No comments:

Post a Comment