There lived a man.

Caper

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…

My grandpa

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…

 

~ Freida

*A beedi is a thin cigarette or mini-cigar filled with tobacco flake

*The mundu is a garment worn around the waist in Kerala

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