Grandpa’s Room

Was it the oil or the clothes or the incense?

One couldn’t really say

Grandpa’s room had a personality of his own

Though I left the room yesterday

My childhood perhaps encapsulated in the walls

Was it the smell of the mosquito repellent?

Or maybe the aging wood

The table that once housed a battered transistor

Echoing the timeless ghulam saab’s charm

Was it the coat of distemper?

Which I noticed made a pattern

Fingerprints of the old man now emerging

As he walks out in his own

Was it my mental placebo?

To keep my thaata* in his element

My heart now playing tricks of the trade

Bludgeoning my inner ocean gates

You could offer me all the gold in the world

Perhaps a diamond or two

Yet they fall short my billions

To his set of off-white handkerchiefs I adore

Thaata’s room is a chasm of emotions

This litany I cannot confess

On nights I see him devour a preread book

Perhaps he relives their plight in those plots

Causes most certainly unknown

I bent over to kiss his forehead

That solved the childhood mystery

It was the sandalwood soap most certainly

Engulfing his wrinkled skin!

Oh you old man!

Never ceases to amaze me.

*Thaata – Grandpa in Telugu

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