The men in my household have always been impassive. We grew up seeing how the women of my household would stay alert in my grandfather’s presence. Even his sons. We grew up seeing how this legacy was passed onto the next – right from Daadu, to Jethu and now – at ‘his domain’ – to my father. And I still recall how they’d all laugh their hearts out during household chores, in Daadu’s absence – indistinct laughters. We grew up seeing our fathers growing up under an overwhelming presence of the ‘Patriarch’ – staid and solemn – and we ourselves grew up under our ‘serious’ fathers – with our occasional flight into innocent laughters – in their absence.
Many many years have passed. I come back home to find Jethu’s garden full of colours — awestruck and overwhelmed, I ask Bomma how Jethu has put all his affection and time on these. In my household, men do not talk face-to-face. Bomma passes all lores of the arboreal labour to me when the ‘man’ is ‘absent’. Amma loved flowers and we got our first lesson of love and kindness from her : “You all are blooming flowers in my garden, Bunu” (I thought her to be silly and giggled)… I come to Jethu’s garden as it reminds me of Amma.
Men, in my household, loved in ‘silence’.
Ipsita Deb teaches at the department of English in Rajganj college, a Govt.-aided college situated in Jalpaiguri. She has published articles in academic journals and has contributed book chapters. She loves clicking photographs, sometimes with camera, sometimes with a phone. She looks after the photography section of Parcham. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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