My father

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My father is a poet, so is my mother. They studied together at university, and they’ve both had other jobs to support themselves : but they’re primarily writers. I like my father’s early and my mother’s later poetry. Growing up, it was somewhat of an embarrassment for me to acknowledge that they were writers, that they had books, that they had other writer friends who would spend entire evenings talking about nothing but poetry, not because I thought it was something embarrassing but it seemed strange, because none of my friends’ parents were doing this and none of them ever really understood. So I would never tell anyone. Even now, very few of my friends know this. But today I opened one of my father’s early books (बढ़ई का बेटा : Carpenter’s Son), and read this poem again that I love very much, Summary, and thought I’d do a rough translation for my blog, because now I am older and it doesn’t seem so strange anymore:

Summary, summary, summary!
They want everything summarised
They don’t have the time to go into details
Summarise yourself

 You’ve gotten these two minutes with great difficulty
Do not waste them
Explained one of their associates
How is it possible, since it will take me
At least that long to find the words
How can one tell such a long torture
In two minutes

 But by then I was already forced into a
Magnificent office
It took me one minute to catch my breath
And to look at a Husain painting
In the next minute
I gathered all the patience of my life
And summarised:
“If you ever have the time, please take the effort of reading the famous Russian writer Tolstoy’s novel, Anna Karenina. I have tried many times to bring its summary to you, but each time something is left out

a kiss
or some darkness.”

 

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