Monday, October 4, 2010

Visitor in the dream

I woke up and found my father
Rummaging among his things
Like he used to
When he was alive
When it was too early
For him to be up
When there was no need to
As he had retired long back
And had the whole day
Ahead of him
To search for anything.
He apparently did not find
What he was looking for
As usual cursed mother and me
For the way we messed up things
How difficult it was
To find anything in this house
Where what was lost remained lost.
Was he looking for something
He did not remember
As he often did
Hoping to remember, as he went along?
He emptied the bookshelf
The drawers
The suitcase
Keeping the light on
As we tried to sleep
Without uttering any words I told him
"I'll search for whatever it is you want
In the morning, now let me sleep."
He didn't listen
Only muttered, without turning
"Some things disappear with first light
You can find them only at night."
Suddenly he turned, his face still young
Whispered in my ear
"One of our clan
Bare-handed killed a tiger
When it attacked him,
Then dragged it to the village
All the way from the side of the canal
Where he fought it.
He refused the cash award
For his valour
Instead secured the title Tiger Alwar
For himself and his descendants.
I'd written down his original name somewhere
I can't find it."
When I woke up, he was gone.

3 comments:

Balachandran V said...

I see your dream....

P. Venugopal said...

Just fantastic. A haunting story, written with perfect touch. It is as Indian as any story R.K. Narayan has written. Hats off, Prabhakar!

Prabhakar said...

Thanks Venu. Have we ever listened to the real life stories of our forefathers? The man who recounted this is now in his eighties. So many other stories will die with him. What was the novel idea RKN was working on when he died. Who will write that story? What are those characters denied birth doing?