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 a good old man…

My grandpa

whose words echoed instructions

whose smile took care of my mother;

his youngest daughter.

whose anger was feared 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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