Memoirs of my late Father Prof V A Mathen Bose

Dear Papa,
Though you rest peacefully near the roaring sea…your life’s journey has not ended with me. Yes you visit me nocturnally in my dreams. You tend to talk of the good –old-days…sometimes, you are very silent. It’s a joy to see you in my dreams. Apart from being a teacher, you were teaching life to me. I am filled with gratitude for you for introducing me to Hellenic culture. Without you, I would have been a culture-illiterate, boorish Syrian Christian. I never in my life at that point of time had even the slightest inclination that I wanted to be a writer. Now I realize that writing is my destiny and all along you were laying its roots. When I fell in love in my teens, you were so liberally permissive. You took the trouble of visiting my lover’s family and fixing our marriage, sad to say ended like fragments of broken glass. I did not know the value of your immense collection of books then. But now I realize, how valuable books are and I am adding on to your collection as and when my budget permits me. Ideologically speaking, you appear strange to me. You were a Capitalist, Christian and a Communist with a liberal philosophy. You practiced Capitalism in the institution you run and at the same time you were a member of the Communist party. As a Christian, you were secular and emphasized the secular and cultural values of Christianity. Your students loved and respected you. I had a bag of mixed feelings for you, of love, respect, of fear. After all these years, I realize how much I miss you. We could have had a jovial tête à tête with a good drink. Even when you were you very sick, you predicted the day you would die and it happened as you said on Christmas day. I was thankful that I could satisfy you last wish that you wanted to be buried with your mother. Yes, your mother died when you were only a boy. Your strange wish always puzzled me. And then finally light dawned on me, when a colleague of yours said: ‘my mother gave my body and at death, I want to give it to her’.


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