In Memory of My Father

the last gasp, the last breath
the last line, now etched
flat and straight
on the cold heart monitor
a generation had just died,
an era had just ended

and in this stillness of the Poona ICU
I saw his birth some eighty-five years ago
in the small picturesque beach town of Tellicherry
on the idyllic Malabar Coast

at the zenith of the British Empire
and the Roaring Twenties
with Scott Fitzgerald, the Great Gatsby
and This Side of Paradise in full blast
when the world partied as
if there was no tomorrow

but, there was a tomorrow
after the celebration, the mourning
the Great Crash, the Great Depression
and the Grapes of Wrath
and then the rise of the Corporal
the Austrian Anschluss
the Munich Debacle
when Macmillan returned
with only his umbrella
but no peace in our time.

I remember my father
describing the blackout in
Madras where he was studying
at the Presidency College
and the Japanese,
targeting the Marina

it thrilled me immensely
to hear of Churchill and
the Battle of Britain and
of Monty and his victory
at El Alamein
I heard him tell me
about General Wingate
and the Chindits in Burma
and the Kohima Campaign
the landings in Normandy
the Battle for Berlin
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
and finding peace in our time

I returned from my
reverie with a jolt
as the nurse gently nudged me
and pushed forward a piece of paper
which stated that
Ramappa Vittal Rao,
father of Ramgopal Vittal Rao
died due to acute renal failure
on this day the seventeenth of September
Two Thousand and Five.

– ramgopal rao © 2014

6 thoughts on “In Memory of My Father

  1. Nalini Srivastava

    It gave me goosebumps,poona ICU heart monitor it was all that wat my father faced in his last moments.the only difference that he expired at young 63.loved your poem.


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