Thursday, March 28, 2013



As I sit in the shadows with only the computer and the desk lamp on, I look at the date clock it is past midnight and the date 28th March 2013. My father died on 28th March 1963 and today is the fiftieth anniversary of his death. A strange coincidence both the days are Thursdays. I have never forgotten this date for it changed the course of my life. I was pushed suddenly from the carefree joys of boyhood into the hard ground of reality. The images are still vivid in my mind – I watched my father collapse in front me while he was listening to a discourse on the Ramayana in the temple. Later while offering their condolences, friends and relations consoled my mother saying that he had attained eternal peace as he had been absorbed by the lord in the precincts of the temple and while listening to the Ramayana and they said ‘what a way to go!’. But was it the time to go? He was only fifty three years old when he went.

He was a simple man, well qualified and could have risen much higher in his professional life if he had wanted to. The fact that he did not was because he was a contented man. He was well liked by all those who came into contact with him and he was ever ready to help out anyone who came to him. There was a certain serenity on his face that he retained even in his death, the serenity of a simple soul, one that did not cling on to the allurements around. There is so much that I want to write about him, but I have reserved that for my private space. He introduced me to the world of books and that has sustained me through my life.

He was a deeply religious man, but was in no sense an orthodox disciplinarian. He followed what was best for him. He never tried to impose or assert his beliefs over others, even on his children. I was never forced to recite a thousand slokas and believe that salvation was only through them. He was a humanist and taught me as to how important relationships are.

I have always wondered as to how he perceived life, and what his personal philosophy was. I was too young to understand then. It is only now, when I reflect, I feel that he was detached to the extent that he did not want anything for himself but was fully aware of his remaining responsibility and that was me, my brother and sister having already married and settled down. That is why I believe he was not ready to cut himself off, when he was summoned so abruptly to make his exit from this phase of existence.

When I was twenty six years old I wrote a few lines ‘on a father’s death’ which I am reproducing below:

on a father’s death

A decade and three have now passed,
Call it nostalgia or what you will,
My mind wanders back to probe,
Those pictures that persist still.

A brief contortion of the face,
Then, in sublime serenity,
His face set in rigor mortis,
As discolouration worked its way,
In an hour he was a ghostly grey.

Now clothed in white,
As incense filled the room,
Of whispers and monotones,
He lay oblivious of all this gloom.

I had never known what death was like,
Till I saw it on my mother’s face,
But her initial despair soon petered out,
And new resolve took its place.

As I watched this transformation,
Her tears ran out,
And as she clutched me,
I sought refuge in her lap

A decade and three was I then,
A decade and three have now passed,
And my mother smiles,
As she sees my father in my face.

This posting of mine is a way of saying ‘Father I remember you. You still live within me’.


Varsha said...

A father is that bunyan tree who shields you from all the hardships of life. He is that person who tries to keep a hard exterior but keenly watches every step that you take in your life. He is always there to give you the helping hand. He is a child's hero.
Sad that you lost your father at rather an early age. Almost everything changes with this bereavement. Memories of your father have come out very beautifully in your poem written when you were 26 years old. It is very touching.
It is good that you had a father whom you could look up to, and have such fond memories of. Your tribute to him speaks volumes of what he meant to you and also shows how richly deserving he was of your admiration and affection. Thanks for sharing your memories.

gssubbu said...

To say that we were touched on reading your blog “Remembering father” would be an understatement.

Though we have not seen your father, from the portrait of his personality as delineated by you in the blog, you have brought him, after fifty years, virtually alive, if not in flesh and blood.

Nothing can be a greater tribute to your father than your words from the bottom of your heart packed with inner feelings.

We are moved.

Kumar & Usha

gssubbu said...

Prabha Ravi commented on your link.
Prabha wrote: "Thank you mama for giving me a glimpse of a grandfather I never had the opportunity to meet. When I looked at my father's adulation for his granddaughter and I see it in you for Moksh, I often wonder how it could have been? But amma always says that mani is like appa, and I think maybe I am getting a glimpse of that ha through you. Such poignant poetry. Salut:) "

Svaathi said...

When i read this about my grandfather (whom i have never seen), it helps me understand my father more. What thatha passed on to you, you passed on to us and I hope we do the same.

Ram said...

GSSS - you are just too good with your words - I'm sure they come direct from the heart. Wherever he is, (karma theory) he is likely to be blessed and also provide blessings.