Saturday, April 21, 2007

Crystal Lullaby

Grandfather's letters were always the same. Crisp white envelopes that dared not crumple in the long journey, strong black words that spelt my name and address and on opening smelt of cardamom, pepper, rubber, nutmeg or any of the innumerable things he grew that year.

The words... stern, straight backed words that dared not lean, quite terrified of this forbidding old man.

But this comes later...Let me tell it as the story goes.

Grandpa was a stranger all my early growing years. He was someone who was just around the house. Like the walls or like the furniture even. I really didn't know a use for him, except maybe to give admonishing stern looks that quelled everyone except grandma. Everyone was scared of grandma. Grandpa secretly so.

It changed. Not the fear, but who I knew as my grampa. Even the words took an almost personal nature, a tone of belonging- grampa. With a wrong spelling that otherwise would have self corrected itself, ashamed to belong to the correct man.

It was a boring Math class and a more boring professor that changed everything. I'd written to everyone I even vaguely cared about. I'd written to people I didn’t care about. I’d even rewritten my will, leaving everything behind to my sister- now that would give an idea to the kind of mood I was in that day.

That’s when I wrote that letter to grandpa. A cheeky letter to a man I’d rarely heard laugh. An exaggerated description of my professor, his gestures, mathematics in general, my view of life at that moment, about the guy who always stared(at first I thought it was me, then cold realization that it was at anybody) and everything else a 17 year old girl could write decently about.

Had I been given time to think over it, that letter would have found place in my pack of written but unposted letters. They would have whispered secrets between licked and sealed covers, a letter to a lover who stopped being mine, to a friend that no longer was and a bunch of other unsent letters…

So when I get a letter in unrecognizable handwriting, typical of me, I sit and wonder who it is from. Opening and finding out would to me then have been pretty lame. What seventeen without the romance of thinking of innumerable people who would write to you.

It was grampa. It told me on how irritating mathematics can be; but to be kinder to my professor and asked exactly how old he was; that life would change shapes over the years; and guys staring was quite ok- just don’t stare back.

And out tumbled an envelope, with grampa’s name and address and a stamp stuck proudly on top. It was for me to reply.

I write back, your writing is almost like a chicken scrawl.
Martin Luther King, Jr’s was also called the same, I learn in rely.

Over the mails they went, to and fro we covered the seventeen years of unspoken words, acts and love.

These days he hardly recognizes me. Not my voice over the telephone. Not even when I walk in to his house. His memory is almost gone, they tell me.

I reach out and touch his hands that once wrote strong black words that my name, address and more.

13 Comments:

Blogger mathew said...

irony of life!!

2:08 PM  
Blogger dharmabum said...

i've always admired ur skill of weaving words into a beautiful carpet of sorts, but this time - the carpet seems to have life and i can say that i am, for once - absolutely touched.

am not sure if what u've written is real, but i once wrote a post on grandpa too. read it if u feel upto it -

http://debum.blogspot.com/2006/07/thatha.html

thank you!

4:10 AM  
Blogger Biby Cletus said...

Nice post, its a really cool blog that you have here, keep up the good work, will be back.

Warm Regards

Biby Cletus - Blog

4:21 AM  
Blogger Jubin George said...

Beautifully written!

4:44 AM  
Blogger Amruth said...

Beautiful Blog! [not just this post]

WHO ARE YOU ?

10:18 PM  
Blogger A Liberated Soul said...

Hehe...I wanted to ask that ;-)

12:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so when is the book coming out??? :P

- just another reader...

3:38 AM  
Blogger BaKfIrE said...

After every ending of your post, there is a next line missing,which the reader avidly looks out for..but you would cleverly kill it by making your writing just another marvellous creation. Its a fantastic technique! wish i had that..:(

3:47 AM  
Blogger Rajesh said...

Very nice. Liked it immensely!!

9:10 AM  
Anonymous one among the crowd said...

hi poornima,

when experience gets etched in wrinkles, a lot more moves from the face to the heart.....
liked the post....keep writing...

12:42 PM  
Blogger pallavi said...

i haven't been here in a while... and its only now that i realise how long it has truly been...
how are you?

10:20 AM  
Blogger Pritika Gupta said...

beautifully written,,

11:36 PM  
Blogger Sudarshan. A. G. said...

"Crisp white envelopes that dared not crumple in the long journey"

Mentally marked as one of my all-time favs from your place.

And if this isn't fiction, hope he stays peaceful.

9:26 PM  

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