His forehead lined with wrinkles
a sly smile forming
stuck in expression
without any movement
he lay down on the ground
as the earth readied itself to accept him.
He was a good man!
Respected and feared
but loved none the same.
His eyes were always lost
as they searched the verandas of his house
for a lot many years.
We communicated in silence
and the little packets of chicken curry
he disappeared to bring
once a while
but every time till it became a practice.
A little child capering around the house
he would smile at me
and never tell me to stop
but he made the telephone climb a higher shelf
making sure the daughter of his daughter
ain’t got no mischief up her sleeve
for his granddaughter did love
the ringing of the dial.
We met once a year
and I remembered his walk and his smile
replaying in my head
as I looked around at the house he built
that looks not the same
but holds the memories.
He was good old man…
whose words echoed instructions
whose smile took care of my mother;
his youngest daughter.
whose anger was scared by many
but that is not how I remember him.
The long walks he took me on
cradled up in a blue pram
they say I am too young to remember
but I remember how wind felt;
recorded in the tiny little developing brain.
His stories and the smell of beedis* he left behind
now stored in a house without him.
So I look down as he lay down on the pyre
with his old glasses on
and a white mundu*
smiling at death
and silently whispering his goodbyes to us…
*A beedi is a thin cigarette or mini-cigar filled with tobacco flake
*The mundu is a garment worn around the waist in Kerala