The old goes but never leaves,
It stays hidden,
Or you burry it in books of a forgotten childhood,
Like an old greeting card,
One is scared to open and read.
The ink is legible, dated 2006,
Dear papa, the letter reads...
The story goes like this,
I chanced upon it a week after his death in 2009,
There were hundred notes of seven and a letter I had written,
I spent the money, kept a hundred for remembrance,
The letter stayed buried.
Then last year, I lost the hundred rupees,
An old woman in front of a mall begged for money,
She was well dressed and lamented,
Her son had left her on the railway station and gone,
I rolled up my window,
And ignored her as best as I could,
There was no money in my wallet,
Just the drivers’ license.
She stood in the sun,
Helpless, looking at people passing by,
Clutching at a torn bag,
She wore glasses and a bindi,
In the heat her tears could be mistaken be perspiration.
I offered to drop her at an old age home,
She refused saying, what if her son came back?
‘Give me money’, she begged again.
I dug out the hundred that I had vowed never to spend,
That’s the only time I remember begging to a beggar,
‘I hope you are not lying about your need,
Because this is the note my dad left me’,
I don’t think she understood anything I said,
Hungrily eyeing the note in my hand.
Five minutes later,
A young fellow came and picked her bag,
And the mother-son duo left without a backward glance,
I felt cheated, my hundred was gone,
I felt foolish, too, but only for a while
Papa taught us that sometimes people’s need is greater than ours.
Three years have passed and the letter surfaced this morning,
This time I was ready to read,
What a daughter had written to her father,
Almost six years back.
Many happy returns of the day,
I hope you and Mamma choose to celebrate the birthday,
Go to the club and have some fun,
For heaven’s sake, get out of the house!
And please, don’t ill-treat my ‘baby Beny’,
When Mamma goes to the canteen,
Baby Beny was the monstrous black lab,
I had saddled my parents with,
Before going sailing on the ship,
Papa and Beny didn’t get along too well,
He ran away with Papa’s slippers,
And chewed at his favourite trousers,
The hound even made him trip a couple of times,
Hence, the concern for Beny’s well being.
I further wrote, ‘I am now four poems old and enjoying my writing stint,
I may write short stories, soon’,
Strange, how time flies,
I’ll soon be three novels old.
The letter ends with love and hugs,
He would lovingly call me a'honeybee' ready to sting,
I had a bit of a temper in those days.
PS- Be ready to fly to Singapore, when I return,
The return fair is ten thousand.
We never did go to Singapore,
We never went anywhere,
He was in too much of a hurry to leave,