My father scraps the salty Marina wind
Off his body (nearing the retirement age)
Before the sound of the BBC radio announcer,
Who declares in his white-collar voice
The cessation of the Russian aggression
Over the neighbouring spirited nation.
He then drinks his cup of Darjeeling tea
And performs his routine wudu,
As the voice from the radio stoically regurgitates
An uninteresting piece on the newly-found bug
In the deeper jungles of Scandinavia.
And by the time my father spreads the Turkey-made rug,
Aligning it with the incorporeal Qibla*,
A melodious voice from the BBC office
Sings the alphabets
From A to Zee
(And never to Zed).
And as I croon the letters of English language,
With the planetary voice coming from across the continent
To my city, riding on electromagnetic waves,
My father counts the holy words
On his faithful washed-out rosary.
And one by one,
The stars begin appearing in Madras sky
Like pearly beads of distant angels
Or more plausibly,
Like the letters of a celestial language
In which those angles
*Qibla: The direction of the Kaaba toward which Muslims turn for their daily prayers.
Dr. N Madani Syed writes on Indian Review