What Song Unsung O My Daughter
Year of Publication: First edition 1999, Second edition 2010
Price: HB Rs 150, FB Rs 100
HB 978-81-8157-941-6 (9788181579416)
FB 978-81-8157-942-3 (9788181579423)
About the Author:
Born in 1942, Fateh Singh Jasol graduated in English Honours from St. Stephen’s College (New Delhi) in 1963. He completed his M.A. in English from Jodhpur University in 1965 and, later, went on to complete a second Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University in 1983. He joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1965 and served the Government of Gujarat and the Government of India. Jasol was awarded the Director’s Equitation Medal at the National Academy of Administration in 1966 and the President of India’s Medal for Distinguished Service, Census of India, in 1971. At present, he is Additional Chief Secretary in the Government of Gujarat. He has written several professional papers, articles, poems and short stories. Jasol is married to Sita Ranawat and has a son and a daughter.
Questions My Boy Asked Me
They were away on vacation.
The house is still.
Otherwise it would ring with the sound
Of the children’s laughter and their play.
The labour has arrived to paint the house.
The old paint is being scraped.
Lengths of wall are filled with their handiwork:
Trees, pigs, mice, lions, more trees, flowers.
I’m tempted to ask them to leave a patch undisturbed.
I remember a quiet September evening,
The birds quiet in the trees
And quietness from the boy in my arms
I remember questions he had asked me.
“If I paint on the wall
The Government will make you pay?”
Then, worried, wide-eyed, as afterthought, “too much?”
I remember, too, other things he had to say.
Once, papa, why is grass green?
Another time, his vocabulary still small,
Why do stars tinkle?
Then, one day, the ultimate.
Have you seen God, he asks.
Then, wonderingly, “Are you God?”
I wonder who was more disappointed
When he grew up and found out
No, I wasn’t God but
Except that He breathe life in me,
Just a very ordinary piece of sod.