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