The Colour of My Father’s Death

The colour of my father’s death is yellow.

Old age, blindness, heart-fail, or pain —

What was it that took my father away?

I do not know; I do not wish to know.

But he had chosen to move on,

To a place of eternal peace —

His soul-journ,

And though grievous loss be mine,

I had to bid him goodbye.

I know he was happy that I had come

To see him off —

I felt that in his light-drained, cataracted, blinded eyes

Which were now completely shut to the world,

And in the mystical smile which played upon his lifeless lips

Through which endearing words would pass no more.

He was gone, they were going to take him away,

And there was nothing I could do

Except the final rites a daughter had to do for her father.

My duties accomplished, I stood by the gate,

My heart heavy, looking ahead,

Not wanting to see him being carried out.

But as he passed by me, he dropped something for me

At my feet—

A big, fresh, yellow flower—

The luminous yellow of sunshine and sunflowers,

The healthy hue of happiness and hope,

The golden glory of topaz,

The effervescence of the Manipura:

The fire energy which transforms,

The auspiciousness of turmeric,

The light of Brihaspathi,

The clarity of vision,

The wisdom of Dakshinamoorthy,

The blessing of the Guru Tatwa.

It was as if he was telling me,

“I can see now, Vidya!”

I picked up the flower, held on to the strength

It radiated, while I said my goodbye.

They took him away soon after,

And my legs gave way in prostration.

Later, I laid the flower to rest too —

It would, like him, like all of us, wither,

And I didn’t want to see it dry and die;

But not before I had absorbed its energy

Into my heart,

To immortalise his memory through my art.

My father’s soul is a mandala now —

A yellow petalled lotus

At the Divine Feet

Of the Universal Mother

Unto whom all must eventually merge.

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Vidya Shankar
Vidya Shankar, a widely published Indian poet, writer, editor, English teacher, and a “book” in the Human Library, says poetry is not different from her. A recipient of literary awards and recognition, she uses the power of her words to sensitize her readers about environmental issues, mental health, and the need to break the shackles of an outdated society. Vidya is the author of two poetry books, The Flautist of Brindaranyam (in collaboration with her photographer husband, Shankar Ramakrishnan), and The Rise of Yogamaya (an effort to create awareness about mental health.) She finds meaning in her life through yoga and mandalas.