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Remembering Father - Tapan Kumar Pradhan (India)

 


REMEMBERING FATHER

 

-         Tapan Kumar Pradhan (India)

 

 

The day father became a postage stamp, mother wept

each time they hammered the heavy round metal seal

 

father’s round glasses shattered; without them he was blind

She wept, for she never knew father would become so great

 

after death. Had she known, she would never have fought

with him, each night, for his queer antics. For one, he slept

 

with young girls half his daughter’s age, to prove a point

Not only that, he kept a nanny goat a this rear balcony

 

With all that ba-ba early mornings – neighbours fumed

But goat milk was good for health he said, kept one away

 

From sick impure thoughts. He also had a couple of cows

With the fresh dung women of the household were taught

 

to polish front courtyard. Purified the air he said, it kept

gnats at bay. Cowwas also abode of Laxmi, the Goddess

 

of Wealth. Though father never made much wealth in life

he made many friends, some even got cured of ailments

 

by drinking urine. No one ever touched meat or wine

in father’s village. If anyone took, he was sure to hear

 

at midnight, the dead goat inside his stomach wailing

in a woman’s voice. Oh it was so scary - when he died

 

father became a stone -and a cobbled road. A sparrow

built a nest on father’s round head, before he became

 

a crumpled currency note. Each time you stapled a pin

it entered his left eye, and came out piercing through

 

his tooth less mouth - “Aww….what a torture !” they cried

and banned the stapling of notes. But it was the best thing

 

that happened to father’s memory. Now they keep him

in their shirt pockets, warm, folded close to their hearts

 

where faith and hope coexist – faith which can move

a slumberous mountain -and hope which can unfurl

 

a forgetful nation’s twisted destiny.

 

 

****