On LN Kabiraj (Dadu)

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.

Through him,

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,

Always complicated

With a past to be biographied

And storied,

Dadu was full at once of patience and insistence.

He taught me to spell,

And on his lap I learnt to read.

Running up,

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 interesting.

But instead,

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

But pass,

The idea of him.

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