As a child of four,
I had just begun
Experiencing the joy of long walks,
Which taught me to love quiet conversations,
As the landscape kept changing
And what seemed so far and distant
Was suddenly touching distance.
Sometimes I was a dark young man
Training to defend my family from the Raj
Sometimes a lonely boy,
Struggling in candle-light
To match with reality
The burning fiery ambition in my eyes.
A world of vast jungles, pythons, verandahs
And untamed, thundering rivers
Which men like him,
Quietly setting their minds to build a new nation
Used as a setting to change the course of our history.
Never one man,
With a past to be biographied
Dadu was full at once of patience and insistence.
He taught me to spell,
And on his lap I learnt to read.
To be greeted by the smell of incense,
The cold steps that he had designed
Under my light feet
I learnt polythiesm.
But also that I should find my own path.
In his constant loneliness
In that constant fire that burned behind his eyes.
I always thought I would have for life
The company of men,
As he lies in bed
Bound by immobility
And his mind haunted by memories
Spread over a century…
I know now that
There are so few like him
Left in this world.
And it makes me weep.
Because I don’t know
How, I will pass
To my children
Not what he says or does
Or did and said
The idea of him.