Letter From Home
“Is there a letter for me?”
The 10-year-old boy asked
The hostel warden smiled and said,
“I am sure there will be one next week.”
Tears streamed down his face,
The link that he had with home,
Now seemed threatened to be severed.
It had been a month since the last letter from his grandfather
Who said he would write again,
But that he was busy with work.
He said he would send him tucks of biscuits, jam and sweets
And the boy could take solace in the fact that his dadu had touched the same bottle of jam that he held in his hand.
His dadu’s invisible fingerprints on the Kissan label,
Perhaps touching his own fingers to merge as one.
The handwritten scrawl on blue inland letters were not just words
Every time the boy read the letter
He could hear his dadu’s voice in his head,
A consolation for his touch, his smell.
He reread each line so that he could hear his dadu’s voice
Again and again and again.
Hanging on, pining, for his embrace.
The little boy missed the way his grandfather tussled his hair
Or kissed his cheeks with his bristly face
Making him break out in laughter.
Letters don’t do that.
But letters help you stay afloat
Hanging on to the voice in the head,
Making you bury your head in the pillow
And cry… muffled tears of longing,
Taking care to not let the senior boys hear you
Lest they call you names.
“Is there a letter for me?” I asked
“Yes there is,” the hostel warden replied.
I rushed to open the letter so that I could hear my grandfather’s voice again.
It was a letter from my father.
“Your grandfather passed away two nights ago”, it read.
I cried, realizing that I would never feel his touch again,
Or be embraced by him, cuddling up in his arms
Or inhale the sweet smell of the talc on his skin.
I realized, that I would never hear his voice again.