To My Father : Vijaya Lakshmy (Translation)

Published in Samakalika Malayalam/Contemporary Malayalam 2008: Memoir of her father.

To my father:

After my father left, I was left with no one.

Even though he was far, he had always been in my roots and blossoms.My face and nails were his.The inner murmurings and the chained madness within- were his too.

I never wanted to kill him at all. He gave way by himself. Not only for me, but for the worm and the grass, yet to come.The smouldering pyre merged with red mud slowly.Were reborn as grains.

My father neither sowed nor reaped.Never kept even chaff inside the grain store. Listened to the sound of my grown wings flapping into the unreal noise of the outside world, silently.

There was nothing here that he owned: The lands, house or money. Not even a discarded object to call his own.My father pointed out these to me : the bird which leaves the green shelter, the squirrel scampering on the attic, the  ash coloured mongoose that sizzled past the pathway, the late rainbow, the first star in the sky, the honeyed mango sleeping in the sand, the sparkling white pebble that had lost its way, the rabbit-ear plant by the porch, the hiding, shy Kachola plant… These did not have any price tag or address on their bodies. No brand of quality stamped, either.

I slept soundly when my father was alive. The sight of my father reading by the lantern, was a sign of security for me. The crowd in the house of death, wiped it off. I lost my sleep.

Flared up by my father’s lantern light, alphabets became stars. They jingled merrily in the dark. I lived , considering myself a rich man’s daughter. Death took away my riches. Left me alone in the streets.

After my father left, I became an orphan.

I never told my father about my pains. Just because he was there, I was strong as the skies themselves.Now a days, every night I break up, hitting against my own self. I do not have a father…

In his last days, losing his words and memories, my father had become a statue.Watching the setting sun in the west, an immovable statue.Still, it was my father.

My father left. I became no man’s child.My beginning disappeared. Now he is not there. I exist. Me and my chained madness.

I see my father within the mirror, every time I look. In the setting sunlight, in the porch of plants, I turn into my father.

I have learnt from my father- how to walk noiselessly, how to live without giving or taking.How to turn complaints into Will-of-the-wisps.

My father left me certain things, when he went away.

Indifference, silent endurance, the defeated withdrawing.The silence, coldness, absent mindedness, the sea which roars within, cold wind- all these have been left  for me, by my father.

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