SINS OF THE FATHER
He is always on the rocking chair. The floor creaks when he rocks the chair but mostly he is asleep. My memory has no other picture of my Grandpa - Sleeping on a rocking chair with his head hanging on one side and mouth slightly open just enough to hold the saliva from dripping down. His holey vest at some point in time must have been white, I was not born then. The newspaper is mostly spread on his belly like a blanket. I rarely see him read. He grumbles when he rocks, “Witches, all of them are witches.”
He is perched on the chair by the time I wake up. I know he sleeps on the bed because it is rumpled in the morning. Father makes his bed before taking me to school. It remains intact till my bedtime.
Sometimes when he is awake I sit on his lap. A pleasingly pungent odour comes from him. The newspaper crumples when I sit, but he doesn’t mind it.
“Grandpa, everyone has a Grandpa and a Grandma, even if they are in family photographs. Where is my Grandma?”
“She flew away on a broomstick.” he replies.
“What?” I exclaim. “How can anyone fly on a broomstick? They will fall.”
“Witches do.” he says with a crooked smile. Most of his teeth are broken. He looks scarily comical when he smiles.
“And mother?” I try my luck for another answer.
“She too was a witch.” he remarks.
“It is time for school, Sonny.” Dad calls out from the porch.
I jump off and run out. I never say goodbye to Grandpa. We never hug. He does not even accompany me to the park like Pete’s Grandfather.
I hold Dad’s finger as we walk to school. I like his finger it is long and warm. Sometimes when we cross the road he holds my hand. I like that too.
“Dad, why don’t I have a mother?”
Dad doesn’t answer questions. He doesn’t even ask many.
“Was mother a witch?” I ask.
“Who told you so?” he questions in return. I like this topic. Dad even looked at me.
’Grandpa said that my mother was a witch. Is it true?”
“I don’t know, Sonny. If Grandpa says so, it may be true.”
I don’t like this answer. There must be more to the story.
“He said even Grandma was a witch.” I try my luck for some more conversation with Dad.
“I don’t know, Sonny.” Dad replies.
“Then how does Grandpa know? How can he recognise witches?”
“It is his rocking chair, Sonny. The chair gives Grandpa the power to recognise and drive witches away from home.”
“Really Dad!” I exclaim but that is the end of our conversation. I have a few more questions but I know Dad will not speak any further.
I return home in the evening. Grandpa is asleep on his rocking chair. I know he will answer my questions but I will have to wait till he wakes up.
The sun has set. Dad is at the door. He has returned from work.
“Sonny” he calls out and heads towards Grandpa. I run downstairs.
“Did you speak to Grandpa after you returned from school?” he asks.
This is the second question from Dad in one day. The first one was “Who told you mother was a witch?”
“He was asleep when I returned, Dad.”
Once again Dad is quiet. He is moving around checking something on Grandpa. He touches his forehead, lifts his hand by the wrist and does a few other things which I do not understand. Grandpa does not wake up.
Some people have gathered in the living room. We barely have furniture for them to sit. Grandpa is gone. The rocking chair is empty.
I am curious to check the magic in the chair. Will I also get the power to drive witches away? I shall wait till tomorrow morning. The house will be empty. Only Dad and I will remain.
I run down to Grandpa’s room in the morning. The bed is made. The rocking chair...
Dad is sitting on the rocking chair. He is in his vest. It is white and doesn’t have any holes. The floor creaks. Dad is rocking the chair.
“Witches, they all are witches.” he says. He doesn’t sound like Grandpa but he continues to say it like a chant.
The rocking chair now belongs to Dad. I will wait for my turn to drive the witch away.
Sorry causes Headaches!
It does cause
For every time
One comes up
I should applause
For what does one do?
With a word
That is echoes
In its own labyrinth
And a series of un-truths
For if they meant
What they said
And they said
What they meant
Sorry would never
Find a place
In a Happily Forever!
crumpled under your feet
a story of long ago
with a promise
’till death do us apart’
their souls breathed
their hands held
dusts of time
web of lies
dew of tears
the leaf lay
to bloody stabs
torn to shreds
you walked away
crumpling the leaf
The Healer’s Daughter
Thunder roared through her eyes
As lightning cracked his heart
Piece by piece she picked the shattered glass
Healing each crack with her golden tears
She touched him with her fingers,
Delicately smoothed the edges of the glassy shards
Holding together in the well of her palms
Mending every corner of his glass heart
The daughter of a healer
Kintsugi was in her blood
And finally the day came
When his heart beat again
Like a mirror it reflected love
Alas, it wasn’t her face...
My lifeless arms held you tight
Dried tears on your cheeks were mine
I have relived the nightmare a thousand times
Cold fingers tremble as I hold the book of nursery rhymes
If only I could turn back the clock, a hundred and ten chimes
Killing myself would have been easier than holding the body of a child.
There are days
When I gasp
For every breath,
Not the one in my heart
But the one
Pulsating my soul.
The thrust of time
Bit by bit
Drains my body
To an ashy residue
Not a funeral for me
No cremation either
Carrying the brunt
Of my burnt soul
Day after day
In this bodily coffin
Sometimes a breath
Warm ... tender
Blows into my lips
A gush of life
I feel my inside
But Hope ... alas
So callous a word
And your love ...
To believe I can live
Oh the arrogance
Of your heart
To love a dead soul
But for the idiosyncrasy
Of the living dead
For love, we die
But live ... ?
The Last Battle - Fury of the Feline
She gives in to the storm
On her knees she falls,
But her heart remains strong.
She closes her eyes as if to surrender
Holds her breath,
Her life in a moment she gathers.
Her nemesis had declared victory …
A little too soon!
Woman you lesser being you die at my feet
She rose like a tempest, hailing a cry from her womb
The last strike was fatal, reversing defeat
The mighty men who raised their arrogance so tall
That nature had created Tigress …
The fiercest of all!
Life is Like Tea in a Cup meant for Coffee
I am glad I am not an engineer or else the allegory would definitely be “Life is like Water in a Glass meant for Wine!”
Isn’t it the truth that we all are in containers that may be not meant for us? A letter from a friend recently put me to thought - Why do we feel restless even in the cushiest life; especially the urban upper middle class where mostly life is a routine with enough money to indulge and invest?
Yet there is restlessness.
I do believe that lack of restlessness is an issue which means death after all that is when we all finally Rest in Peace but we all strive to achieve peace and contentment while living. How is it possible? It is generally said that creative people are restless. For that matter, all human kind is restless in some way or else. So as you guessed rightly Man is a Creative Being! The problem is in due course of time from creators we became the implementers and then controllers. Today most of the men try and control their restlessness. Like Tea we have been poured into a Coffee Mug and we are trying to make ourselves believe we are coffee.
How can we be coffee only because the label outside says so? For ages we have been confused like this. For instance you feel like having tea. You brew tea leaves with a dash of cardamom or ginger for flavour, add just enough milk to taste and colour and give it boil. Your perfect cuppa is ready to pour. And then you do the ultimate blunder – you pour it in a Coffee Mug!
The tea is now confused. You as the Cup Bearer are confused. Why did you pick a Coffee Mug when you always drink tea? Deep down you know it is tea but you doubt your belief just because the Mug says it is coffee. And then you do not like your coffee because it doesn’t taste right.
Similarly there is Life – we all are fed to believe that that label is right while the true assessment of self should be based on constituents. Some of us are lucky to have detached ourselves from the label half way through life but it takes a life time for most of us to realize we were the freshly brewed masala chai. And by then the steam has died down.
So forget the label on the mug; gather the constituents of your beverage, brew, taste and then decide -
Is it meant to be tea or coffee?