The first time I held you
In awed disbelief.I wondered:
Could this armful of perfection
Be carved out of me?
What, then, did I know of all those dreams,That I would eagerly wait for you to fulfill?
---And neither did you.
Contented, you turned your face into me
Nuzzling for accustomed warmth.
A little older…
When you slipped your hand out
Of my tight grasp,
And plunged headlong
Into the melee of six-year-olds
I cried out in terror.
Did I, then, know of the extreme pressure I would bear upon you to excel
At maniacal percentiles against peers?
---Nor did you.
You were only snatching a moment’s joy
By wrestling the ball from the boy.
Then came the day…
Of presenting me an embossed
Appointment letter.Your first.
You were hardly twenty.
At least he has a job, I thought,
Whereas his friends are still studying at the IIT.
Did I, then, know that you would hang
By the skin of your teeth
As rivals try to dislodge you and others steal your credit?
---You, too, were unaware.
For you, this letter was a fitting response
To all my whining accusations.
Time went by….
You leapt higher ever higher.
Checkmating contestants became a lark.
You even brought home a bride,
Above expectations.Accolades deluged you.
I, too, gathered a few,
And proclaimed: “That’s my son!”
Did you, even, once suspect
The aspirations you ignited in me?
---You did not.
For your sights were set far above mine.
Now you walk galaxies
Beyond the realms of my imagination.Yet, I see you kneel down.
Rapt you listen to your son’s infant prattle.
You venture to see the world,
Through his eyes, cut out to his size.
Shrapnels of regret pierce through me.
---Does this ache stem from a dormant desire
To turn the clock back? Erase vain obsessions, expand horizons?
And get another chance,
To appreciate the You in you?