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Daddy

October 25, 2018

 

 

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Sometimes when I’m lonely and blue,
I become that little boy struggling to keep pace with you,
And when my legs grow weary, I squat in protest,
Longing to ride your shoulders, so I could rest.

Your smooth belly was a playground immense,
A stage for characters in my world of heroes and fiends,
Locked in an epic war for supremacy,
On what turned out to be shaky territory.

Sound asleep, you looked Brobdingnagian in bed
I once tied your hairs to the posts near your head,
And when you awoke, all hell broke loose,
You screamed in fury, I ran like a goose.

On Sunday mornings, we ate samosas and jilebis
A time to laze around, no chores please,
Listen to Hindi music, or go to the movies,
Occasionally dine out, though never at a Flurys.

Your birthday meals at your sisters’ were scrumptious,
Your appetite for life infectious,
Chicken, prawns, fish and meat
Nothing like a doting sister’s treat.

Paydays were picnics on the Maidan,
But my brother and I had other plans,
We trotted off on our little feet to your office past every crossing,
To catch our dad as he left work on a day he felt like a king.

When I broke my arm at cricket ball throw
And a cyst developed in my right elbow
I went under the knife, needed bottles of blood
You were the father who gave me all he could.

When I got a job at the newspaper,
It filled you with pride, but you seemed to waver:
Wouldn’t it have been better to serve the administration
Of our vast and challenging nation?

Your last letter to me seemed like an appeal
A long scrawl waiting to reveal
How much you missed me when I was away
A desire to see me on your last day.

As I approach the age you left us in ’81
A time too short for one so full of love and devotion,
I remember your smile and hope you have found the peace in heaven
That you sought on earth, until your life ended at sixty seven.

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