As the world celebrates fathers today, here’s Mukul Kesavan’s ode to the man who was “thirty-eight in ’forty-seven.”

‘104 this May’ sounds like a fever,

So it’s fine he died not quite ninety-one,

Having written his books, seen off his friends,

Outlived his century, but not his sons.

Eight, in nineteen hundred and seventeen,

He was thirty-eight in ’forty-seven

And eighty when the Wall came tumbling down.

He couldn’t weep (he didn’t have the glands)

But he could laugh; he had this wandless knack

for filling up a room with happiness.

He did twenty miles per hour, swore at

passing cars, spoke English in five Indian

languages, and died in Tamil. He stood

children on his feet to bounce them, chucked them

up (and caught them), but on that day, after

Y2K, weeks short of May, he set us down. 

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