Father returning home
By: Alina Claps, Clara Allende,
Salvador Castagnino and Sofia Montoya
Dilip Purushottam Chitre was one of the
foremost Indian poets and critics to emerge in the
post Independence India. Apart from being a very
important bilingual writer, writing in Marathi and
English, he was also a painter and filmmaker
.Born: September 17, 1938, Vadodara, India
Died: December 10, 2009, Pune, India
My father travels on the late evening train
Standing among silent commuters in the yellow light
Suburbs slide past his unseeing eyes
His shirt and pants are soggy and his black raincoat
Stained with mud and his bag stuffed with books
Is falling apart. His eyes dimmed by age
fade homeward through the humid monsoon night.
Now I can see him getting off the train
Like a word dropped from a long sentence.
He hurries across the length of the grey platform,
Crosses the railway line, enters the lane,
His chappals are sticky with mud, but he hurries onward.
The father works till late, and returns home in “the
“yellow light” and “humid monsoon night” suggests
a very uncomfortable atmosphere, very hot.
The son describes his father as very untidy, he
describes him as having poor sight, and also uses
this as a metaphor to say that he doesn’t pay
attention to what happens around him.
The bag filled with books and falling apart, suggests
he has acquired experience and is very smart
(books) and his failing lucidity and getting old (bag).
“like a word dropped from a long sentence” simile.
He is not required anymore, maybe he is too old
and is useless.
These three words show that he has to make an
effort to go from one place to another.
He is very unkempt, untidy.
Repetition on “hurries”.
Chappals: (Clothing & Fashion) one of a pair of sandals, usually of
leather, worn in India.
Monsoon: season in Southern Asia when there is a lot of very heavy rain.
Home again, I see him drinking weak tea,
Eating a stale chapati, reading a book.
He goes into the toilet to contemplate
Man’s estrangement from a man-made world.
Coming out he trembles at the sink,
The cold water running over his brown hands,
A few droplets cling to the greying hairs on his wrists.
His sullen children have often refused to share
Jokes and secrets with him. He will now go to sleep
Listening to the static on the radio, dreaming
Of his ancestors and grandchildren, thinking
Of nomads entering a subcontinent through a narrow pass.
The father finally gets home, a repetitive action that
is boring and ordinary.
He eats old food, the food lacking vitality, just like the
We see that he has become an alien to his family, he
is lonely, and after a long struggle to get home the
toilet is his refuge.
“Man’s estrangement from a man-made world”
He lives in a world he does not understand, a man
made world, and has a family to whom he does not
feel connected and knows very little about, but yet
works all day long for them.
He is old and has worked his entire life, he is tired
and fatigued, he goes to sleep, listening to static,
which also makes reference to the fact that he
doesn’t understand the modern world.
He has no communication with his children, they
don’t share anything with him.
The last lines show that he sees no meaning in his
life, he dreams of his ancestors and grandchildren,
because he doesn’t see himself as being a part of
this family that.
Sullen: showing irritation or ill humor by a gloomy silence or
Stale: dry or hardened, as bread.
Chapati: a flat pancakelike bread, usually of whole-wheat flour,
baked on agriddle.
This poem explores familiar love and the role of parents in securing the
livelihood of their families. In addition, both poems point of shifting times
and how age makes us overlook the older generation and their contribution to