Returning from work
I peep into your room
as usual
eyes staring at the rafter
you lie
your limbs cold
the world is informed
of your departure

Appu
you showered on me
your boundless love
holding your hand
I would pester you
with numerous questions

You carried me
on your shoulders
to the primary
(you couldn’t cycle)
you walked with me
to the post – primary
when I started batting
you turned bowler
and stumbled
When it was time
for tuition classes
you roused me
with a cup of coffee

On pension days
you brought goodies for me
and when I started cycling
you were cross with me
for leaving you alone

And as a teenager
when I got back home
you would call me fondly
“raasa”

You would be annoyed
with everyone at home
but never with me

Waking up at four
you would sweep the courtyard
bathe
say your prayers
cull choice flowers
and go to the temple

And when the war escalated
like many others
you were displaced
once hit in the leg by a shrapnel
and confined to bed
and whenever I found time
to take you on the pillion
to the temple
moved you were

Your second childhood
muttering unintelligible old tales
you tried my patience
then you drifted
into oblivion
I craved to hear
your words

How many days
have passed?
I look back
wiping my tears
There’s no forgetting you, appu
no, never

Self – less love
so rare
in this life
ruled by sophistication
Will I be able
to offer my grandson
a relationship
as precious
as yours, appu?
I wonder

Tamil original : T.Jeyaseelan
Translated by : S.Pathmanathan