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A Father Mourns

My baby, daddy misses you
It is crazily lonely here
I swim in a big bad dream

Nothing I have to hold on to
My little finger hangs abandoned
By your sweet little fingers

My voice is hoarse of late
Your cradle being empty
Haven’t sung a lullaby, since

Where is the chirping bird?
I see nothing as pure as you
That glow in your pink cheeks

It is cold by day and by night
Come kiss my old beard
And hug me, hug me really tight

Summer’s pretty flowers wilted
I cared not a little bit, because
None of them can grace your hair

Reprimand me sometimes, please
For my drunken breath, with
Your adorable, wrinkling nose

I want to sleep, tired I am
But my chin won’t rest at all
So used to your tender curls

The child in me has vanished
With the light that left your eyes
Peace is nowhere in sight

I wished to catch the snowflakes
Just for you my dear, this winter
Delighting in your merry squeals

But here I find myself so numb
So hopeless, kneeling down
Brushing ice off your poor grave…

ManCrying

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Grandma, did you have to go?

How I loved resting my burdened head
In the harmless cocoon of your lap
You watched over me quietly as I slept
Just guarding the serenity of my nap
Oh grandma, did you have to go?

How you waited calmly on the porch
Not one reprimand, no phone call
No reminder that I was carelessly late
Yet, your anxious eyes would say it all
Oh grandma, did you have to go?

After evaluating my crumb-littered plate
You frowned that I wasn’t eating enough
I rubbed my belly and pleaded for mercy
You piled more helpings of sumptuous stuff
Oh grandma, did you have to go?

You had such a vast repertoire of stories
Picking one of those each night to tell me
Even if you retold one, it still felt new
Uniquely laced with wonder, terror, glee
Oh grandma, did you have to go?

Your weathered palms were most kind
I can’t even describe the way I would feel
Even if the world collapsed around me
Gentle palms would soothe and heal
Oh grandma, did you have to go?

Bereft of your beaming toothless smile
Feathery frame that I could twirl around
Deprived of the words to make my day
I want to be swallowed by the ground.
Oh grandma, did you have to go?

Yes, it must sound real selfish of me
Demanding that you stay here forever
When you probably had more kids to meet
Shower on them the light of your star
And yet grandma, did you have to go?

Grandma

Daddy Dearest

A father is not superman. He is mostly ordinary, with an average way of life, family, and the occasional bad habit or weakness. He is mortal, and so I will not wax eloquent about the qualities of the super-dad. No, he is most likely incapable of bashing up the baddies or saving lives when the scary villain turns up. Who is he, then?

Assuming you are among the blessed ones, ‘dad’ is the man who fell in love with your mother, and committed his heart to her for life. Dad is the one who dreamed of ‘starting a family’ with your beaming mother; he is the one who was perhaps required to think of how they would manage expenses with a kid or more around the corner. He must have bitten off his nails as your mother went into labour, with the entire household fussing over her. Well, to tell you the truth, folks probably fussed over her all nine months, assuming that the would-be dad was doing fine, no tension and no sweat for him.

Your dad was the one who held you as you slept, as your mother slept. He perhaps worried that you looked too fragile to be true! Handing you over to your mother, he must have gazed anxiously and attentively while the doctor went on and on about caring for you.

Your dad must have looked into places he never bothered about before, like schools and day-care centres, to help your mother decide where the kids will have it best. He is the man who may have kicked one or two bad habits, or promised to stop swearing around the house on his rough days because the kids should not be exposed to the bad world at their tender age. While your mother reigned over the household, acknowledged by all as the parent supreme, dad fumbled around to see how he could make life more comfortable for all of you. He was often the villain disciplinarian when your mother was the loving angel, or the parent who enjoyed fooling around a bit while your mother tried her best to officially instill good principles and mannerisms.

Your dad got you a bike, or took you walking if he couldn’t get you one. You probably held on to his little finger so tight because you did not want him to leave you, ever. Dad introduced you to the world in his own way. Perhaps taught you a few things unknowingly. Maybe you started scanning the newspaper just to see why he loved to read it right in the morning, and he patted your back when you read the headlines aloud with the emphasis only a child can offer to reading material. Perhaps he caused you to win the school race just by constantly telling you that you were capable of it alright. It could be that he did not know how to prepare you for a fancy dress contest, but he was right there, cheering you when you went on stage. The poor thing must have cringed to himself when he told you he could not make it to your big event sometimes because, of course, his boss HAD to get the report that very day. How bad it must have felt for him to break the news to the eager kid demanding his attention in the sweetest way possible!

Your dad is the one who may admonish you at home all the time, but will praise you to other parents. He may have seemed distant, choosing to peek into the little aspects of your daily life only when he saw an impending problem that needed action, or was informed of a ‘situation’ requiring intervention. He might not be the epitome of patience, but he sure did repeat things to you when you tugged at his sleeve wanting the explanation all over again. He carried you on his shoulders in the parade so you would have the best view, even when he had to wade through sweaty crowds. Dad is the one who told you off if your manner was whiny, or instructed you to be brave when you were at the doctor’s for getting those nasty stitches. He probably ran pillar to post to get things done for you. Who knows, he might have planned to go catch a game live with friends, but ended up babysitting you in his time off from work, and you took the chance to throw every possible tantrum.

Dad can be part-Hitler part-Santa part-Goofy, and you cannot figure him out half the time! You often wondered if you were important to him at all, judging him wrongly on his grunting or nodding or hmm-ing in conversations, when all the while, he considered you an integral part of his soul. Sometimes you might have been embarrassed about him making jokes that only he found funny, or giving your friends the lecture about their lives when they showed up at your door. Dad just feels good when he knows he is needed, and you most certainly did not assure him of that as you grew older. You probably dismissed him in that polite yet aloof manner when he wanted to talk to you. Do you remember how he sat and admired your toddler-level drawings for a whole hour as you narrated how the accomplishment came about?

Dad honestly does not expect he deserves your 100% commitment even if he demands it aloud; he probably hopes for 10. Could you give him 5 to see the smile on his face, or hear the familiar grunt of approval? Look beneath the bushy eyebrows and the aging jawline. You will find the proud eyes of a man who is but a little child within. All he needs is you to reassure him that he did not fail as a father, that those little shortcomings did not make him less of a dad. For while mothers are the angels heaven sent down, dads are also the fierce guardians of their flock. “My daddy may not be the strongest, but he is still my daddy dearest.”

FathersDay

Scents of Longing

You there, that magical
Cologne he favours,
Sharp, fresh and easy
To define his morning

Revealing a little later
Subtle notes of jasmine
A very loving scent
Reminding me well
Of his vibrant smiles

Signing off with amber
Teasing my senses
Or is it musk?
I can’t wait for dusk

I enjoy seeing him
Off to work, whistling
It is an experience
That enchants me, excites me
Watching a man merry
Embracing life like that.

I miss that much of him
When he is out, but
I can savour at leisure,
His presence in absence
You ensure that, Cologne.

I owe you a lot, for
Your fragrance is unique
Just like him, and it
Leaves me longing too,
I want more of him.

Cologne

A Love Letter – Passionately Yours

Dearest Love,

You may wonder what this is about. I have been meaning to confess for ages, but never managed to speak a word without stumbling and stuttering as I looked into your kind brown eyes. So I write this letter, assuming that you are listening to my voice.

Some thoughts within tell me they are not meant to be caged. They want to fill the air around you with their desperation. I will proceed to carry their messages.

You have devoured my sanity! How you walk past me, in every dream, smiling that knowing smile. You occupy the silence in my throat. You make yourself at home when I am sitting idle.

I never try to stop you from taking my soul into your own fathomless heart, because I cannot. It is as if you held a rope of flowers, wrapped it securely around my heart, and pulled gently. That is how you coax me into doing myself something good.

I feverishly write some more, about the way I can stare at you without blinking. It is as if you are a dream so beautiful and fragile that any movement will disturb it. And I shall not risk that! You sitting there, engrossed in the mundaneness of the newspaper, are a celestial vision I will never regret being gifted with, every day.

You will agree with me about how, when one stands in a spot of sunshine on an otherwise cold day, the warmth is a cocoon around bare skin. How one can stand in the pleasant brightness for a long time, hugging yourself, eyes closed and smiling. That is what you do to me when you give me that sparkling smile at the end of every day.

If I banged my little toe into the corner of my desk, imagine the pain. Multiply that a thousand fold, and you will probably understand how it feels when you have to go away for a while. It is a merciless agony that takes control when I miss you.

I once picked at rose petals and just when I mentioned ‘loves me not’, I pricked my finger and an angry drop of blood admonished me. How dare I presume thus? I deserved the reprimand, for you can be anything except ‘not in love with me’.

Imagine being thirsty and not having a drop of water to drink, parched throat and all. On a really bad day, I look heavenwards and plead for mercy, and He sends you, with a river of kindness meant to soothe me. That is how a mere brush of your fingers makes me feel.

Sometimes when I lose control of my senses and make you the unwilling object of my anger, I say go to hell. A moment later, I will have realized that even hell would be sweetened by your presence.

Speaking of hell, I wonder what the angels in heaven are doing right now. They can happily play all the harps they want and brag of unprecedented bliss, but I have YOU. And that makes me happier and more blessed than them.

As I sit here in anticipation now, imagining the little laugh lines around your eyes that will surely form at these juvenile proclamations, I believe that this letter will truly convey my feelings for you. I love you.

Passionately yours.

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