Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The prophet at home

Yesterday was my father's 35th death anniversary. Time has somehow not managed to erase all the memories, and yesterday I could almost see him thumping the dining table (this happened a lot in his lifetime) and exclaiming "Therefore what??". This would be his usual reaction to any suggestive comment that lacked a clear and precise implication. He detested innuendo, among a lot of other things including humbug, flattery and dishonesty.

In his youth he had annoyed his parents with his characteristic bluntness. When partition was imminent, he had warned his father that the family should plan to liquidate its assets in Hyderabad (Sind) and move to what would become post-partition India. My grandfather reacted badly and failed to follow this advice, resulting in the loss of his property. Years later in 1958, by which time my parents were settled in Bombay and I was two, my father vented his resentment with uncharacteristic subtlety and indirectness in a small article for the Times of India. Disguised as a humour piece, it's titled "The prophet at home". I'm lucky to have the original clipping in my possession, with the date on the right side in my father's own handwriting. A scan is provided below (click to read). It says more about him than I possibly could, and I hope you enjoy it.

P.S. The son referred to in the article is not me but my elder brother.


Abi said...

The article is lovely! Thanks for sharing.

I think it really works as a humour piece. I could not have sensed any bitterness in it without the backstory that you provided.

archie said...


Cheeta said...

What a wonderful piece to re-read. Thanks for the post, Sunil!