Father Figure

You held me by the arms, so I could feel the thrill
As the waves crashed on us,
And you hung on to me while I fluttered
Like a dry petticoat on a clothes line,
And laughed and spluttered while
Salt water went up my nose.

You threw me into the air,
Only to catch me again in upturned arms,
And I’d giggle in mid-flight
Through my exhilaration at my freedom,
And be tickled by that unbearable lightness of being.

You’d make pens, watches, books, my dolls
Vanish into thin air.
And re-conjure them from under your arms
You’d laugh at my childish wonder
While I’d be ecstatic that you were a magician
And I’d laugh because I was your child.

You slapped me hard across the face,
You wanted me to concentrate –
Maths was my weakness, insincerity caused you anguish,
You taught me the subject with a number of blows
And I was happy when my report card read Maths: 94.

You sat me down while I bawled,
Because ma had just yelled at me “for no reason”
“its not fair!!” I shouted – “I want my life!”
Well, you said, you have it: go to your party,
But remember, you’ll know someday,
LIFE is hardly ever fair.

You held my hand as we took a post-dinner walk,
We talked of this and that; him and her
You gave me perspective,
You allowed me opinion, you did all you could,
To make me understand the value of both sides of the coin.

You sat at the edge of my bed,
With tears in your eyes – why did you lie to us?
Your disappointment poured out of your eyes,
We were all heart-broken at my deceit,
But you gave me my second chance,
You still let me leave.

Open your mind! Read! Look out the window!
No point staring straight ahead!
You’d be irritated when I showed signs of brain-deadedness.
This one life is a gift, you’d say,
Live it, my child, you’d implore.
For you, today, I see, feel, read and chronicle.

We stand waist-deep in the sea again,
We’re happy today, with blue water and white sand
All around us. Your troubled back makes you wary
Well, I’m just your girl pa, not your strong(er) sons,
But I’ll hang on to you,
And we’ll ride the high crescent
And then scatter the Bay of Bengal
With broad smiles and our exuberance in the sun.


8 thoughts on “Father Figure

  1. A very poignant set of verses..really captures the highs and lows of a person’s relationships with his/her parents…loved it nidhi. May the muses visit you more often!!!

  2. Nidhi, it's so moving. I can't stop being amazed everytime I vist this blog. you belong to a higher sphere for sure. blessed and born to create great words. would you be writing political and revolutionary poems going forwrd?:)we need many more Faiz and Nerudas. worst politics creates good poets across third world:)

  3. Saleel, thank you. i am honoured!and hahaha..it is true. the worst politics does move the artists, for sure. and you just put me in the same league as Neruda n Faiz! gosh! 🙂

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