Fiction: MY DAD—WITHOUT WHOM...

Glory Sasikala

Glory Sasikala


“While you’re there,” said the Moon to the Sun, “the world is there.
When you’re gone, the world will be gone!”

“You’ll grow up to be so beautiful, and I won’t be there to see you,”
These words will stay with me forever.
A few days or weeks later, he was dead. I was only 10 years old when he died. Out of those 10 years, he was in Kolkata for two years—and I was a baby. Then he was alone in Hyderabad for two years and we were in Tambaram, Chennai. Four years out of ten gone.
Six years...
Not much one would say. Really? Because while other children played with children their own age, I went out on long walks with him everyday evening. He talked of books... mostly. And music... mostly.
He assured me that I was brilliant. He told everyone I was the poet of the family. He got me a diary to jot down my thoughts. He wrote out lyrics in a notebook and made me sing alonga as he strummed the guitar. He made me learn by heart the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. While other children read Enid Blytons, he made me read Rajagopalacharya's ‘Fatal Cart’ and Oliver Goldsmith’s ‘Vicar of The Wakefield’. He introduced me Bernard Shaw's plays.

I still recall with nostalgia those cold, dark winter evenings in Kolkata, walking with him, talking seriously about books, being listened to and taken seriously—hot, roasted 'moomfalli' (peanuts) in his pocket.
Sometimes, Dutta Uncle, his best friend, joined us. Then I walked between the two of them, with my hands in their pockets to keep warm, digging out moomfalli and eating and listening to them talk, chirping in with unwanted ‘grown up’ comments that made them smile.
He always came to pick me up from school. He carried my bag, while I danced and skipped my way home in front of him. But that day, he did not come....
I waited a long time, then made my way home. A strong wind pushed me back, against my skirt... I fought against that wind and made my way home.... 
Why was there such a crowd down the street? A sea of sad faces. Why did they move aside respectfully to let me go in? Why was Dutta Uncle there? Why were there women in our bedroom? Why was my mother wailing?
It all didn’t matter. My father was there, lying on the bed, fast asleep. I wanted to know why he had not come to pick me up. I went over to him and opened his big, black eyes. But they were blue...with sticky yellow stuff in them…
Prabha's Mom picked me up and took me to her house and gave me milk and bread. “I'll show my father my report card when he comes home,” Prabha said.
“I will too!” I replied.
She laughed and said with the bluntness of an 8-year-old child, “How can you? Your father’s dead.”
Dead? I did not know what that meant. My father was there, wasn’t he? He was sleeping. But I knew the next day when they placed him in the coffin and nailed it shut. 
I knew then, for the first time, what Death was.
***

Glory Sasikala is a writer, publisher, and poet currently residing in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India. She is the Editor and Publisher of GloMag, an international poetry and prose magazine. Her poetry books, novels, and short stories are available in various online bookstores such as Amazon and Flipkart as well as on her blogs. She is on the brink of publishing a very interesting collection of anecdotes and short stories inspired by her rather colourful and chequered life titled ‘A Piece of Pink and Other Stories’. Translation,

No comments :

Post a Comment

We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।