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…
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…
*A beedi is a thin cigarette or mini-cigar filled with tobacco flake
*The mundu is a garment worn around the waist in Kerala