Dilip Chitre (1938 – 2009) is a well-known bilingual writer from India. He wrote about alienation, death, exile, and old age through his poetry and magazine columns in English and Marathi. Sylvia Plath also writes about the same themes in her poems.
Father returning home is a poem with autobiographical characteristics. The author writes about his father’s train journey in the evening. This poem is rich with many symbols. Late evening in literature generally implies the old age when people are unsure about the situations.
He mentions the other silent travelers moving through the suburbs. Suburbs symbolize the postcolonial nature of India, where people are least aware of others. Alienation and old age problems are the major themes of this poem.
Dilip describes the physical appearance of his father to denote how disturbed he is. The aged man has a soggy dress and a raincoat. His bag is full of books, and some of them are falling out of it. Old age has taken his eyesight and that night was a humid monsoon which made it hard to see things.
Dilip describes his father stepping down at a station as a word separated from a long sentence. The old man feels that he doesn’t belong to the current trends of society. Loneliness follows him closely more than his co-passengers.
The poet then welcomes the reader’s attention to the speeding up of society where people are obsessed with technology and efficiency. The poet describes that his father is trying to cross the railway lanes quickly even though his chappals are sticky with mud.
Once he is back at home, his father has tea and spends some time reading. The old man then moves to the toilet and according to the poet his father contemplates from there about human alienation. Poet uses a beautiful expression, ” man’s estrangement from a man-made world,” to emphasize it.
Readers can understand how closely the poet observed his father. The poet remarks even about the waterdrops, running over his brown hands. and his habit of wiping those into his grey hairs.
By the end of the poem, Dilip introduces the theme of the generational gap. The writer mocks himself and his siblings who never find time to share jokes with their aged father. ” He will now go to sleep” some critics opine that sleep denotes death. The poet further explains the daily routines of his father before his sleep. The poet narrates that his father will listen to the radio and dream about his relatives before his bedtime.
Poet gives the theme that when it is hard to find dialogues, monologues replace them. He mocks the society which is self-oriented and forces even the older generation to be steadfast with the pace.
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