NOTE:- You will find that parts of this post seem grammatically incorrect or contain vaguely disjointed sentences. They are, however, intentional; to maintain the efficiency of the emotions behind the words versus perfect language…
27th March, 2012,
I hope you had a safe flight and are settling in well in hostel. Your Mother and Susanna give their regards to you.
We miss you. I am already arranging for your return tickets in the holidays. Give us a call when you can. Percy has howled for three days and nights in a row for you and is barely eating anything, is fine,we feed him everyday. Do not worry about him. I need not remind you how high the tuition fees are in Mumbai colleges, so please focus on studying as that is why you are there. I know you will do well.
2nd February, 2013,
I have reached safely.
I thought so much about your goodbye hug which was a little longer than usual. You will never know how much that meant to me. Why did you have to wait till when I was nearly gone? College has begun already and all’s well. Do you miss me? At all? Is work going well for you? I hope Mom’s well rested now and her ankle is healing. Tell Susanna to feed Percy well. I must go and finish my Chem practicals now. Her name is Nandini, she has beautiful hair and eyes that glitter, bright as burnished silver. Yours,
5th June, 2013,
If you wanted to go to Mumbai simply to shame us, you should have told us earlier. Did we pay the way we have so that you can be found clutching the waist of some useless waif around college?
Why don’t you understand that you have your entire life to look for a woman with our blessings? Why now? We are suspending your pocket-money for a month. Just because you are far away does not mean we have no control over you.. I taught you to read and write, cycle and swim. I might be over 45, but that does not mean I know nothing about love. Everything has it’s time.
When you come home next, we will discuss this further. It’s time you learn some lessons in life.
You mother is distraught and goes to the Mandir everyday to pray for the return of your sanity.
21st December, 2013.
All is well here.
If you wanted to hit me, I would prefer that to the things you said to me. Nandini and I are in love. I wish you could understand that. You’ve never understood me, even when I wanted to play cricket and not learn about business, when I wanted to write poetry and you forced me to learn classical music. I am following your advice and studying to the best of my abilities. No, I have not forgotten all you’ve done for me, and I am thankful. But I always wanted you to tell me that you liked me and that you loved me the way you loved Susie. You always gave me what I needed to survive; never to live.
I will see you in a month. Yours,
15th March, 2014
It is not that hard to pick a pen up and write to your parents once in a while.
I have spent sleepless nights worried about you. I wonder what you will think when you come to know that Percy died yesterday. We all gather round the few times you mail us, to read your message and then re read it for your mother. You forget once again the eternal debt a child owes a parent this is the only way I can get you to talk to me now. When you were wasting time playing cricket and writing poetry, both of which I knew would get you nowhere, I tried to channelize your restless energy into productivity, so that you would forget these activities that wasted your time. The tickets I have sent you for your return during the upcoming vacations have been sent back untouched. I want an explanation and I am expecting your letter within two weeks’ time.
2nd August, 2014.
College is over. I have begun working in one of the banks here.
Ajji used to tell me stories of when you began life and how hard it was ; managing a family of 6. When I asked you, all you did was grunt and twitch your newspaper. Why didn’t you prepare me for this ? No, I am not coming back to Bangalore anytime soon. I have no plans. Who goes where they aren’t wanted, especially when footsteps make ugly dust- mote memories rise in the air and everyone chokes on them in embarrassment? Come to Mumbai sometime if you wish to see me. I know you never will. Surely, I’ve done enough travelling. Like an unwanted package, from one place to another.
13th December, 2015.
You are cordially invited to celebrate the wedding of
on the 31st of December, 2015, Thursday.
J.K Banquets, Mumbai.
NOTE: Dad, Mom. You never had faith in my emotions two years ago. I have stayed true to my feelings since then. I hope you both, however, have not. I also hope you both will be here, with Susanna.
I need you. Will you come? I love you. I’m sorry. Please come.
1st February, 2017,
Your father passed away last night due to a sudden heart attack. He has left everything he has ever owned in your name. Nothing to me, nothing to your sister, or even to his indebted brother. It is all your’s. I am sick myself, and I cannot leave my bed. Your sister is writing this for me, as you know I was never good at writing and now, I can barely lift a pen. I do not want to disturb your and Nandini’s life, but still I am requesting you to help us. Since all is now your’s, we require a roof over our heads and we were wondering if you would provide for us, along with Susanna’s education.
When your father used to sit up at night, first twice a week, then once a month, then four or five times a year to write you letters, he used to crumple up many papers and throw them away. Sometimes, these letters spanned many pages. I pondered why he would waste so much ink writing to you when in the end, he would just send the paper with 3-4 lines instead. I now wonder if any of the pages with those scratched out words, or the occasional teardrop, had he sent those instead, would change what is today.
I don’t believe in hiding mine or Susanna’s tears, no matter how illegible this letter becomes, nor the smudges of ink as her hand shakes or the crossed out words. I feel that maybe one of those little things will move you in a way the stifled and now stilled hand of your father’s never did. It is the Little Things that are Left Unsaid that matter more; the words scratched out from the heart, rather than those that are written with the cold mind that count.
We await your reply, Naren.
P.S: He never stopped loving you. And he never found a way to show it.
The Observant Lefty.