I’ve always found it easier to write about incidents and events rather than a person. And when that person is my father, it seems close to impossible. This poem doesn’t even begin to do you justice, Papa, but I hope you like it.

Happy Birthday.


My father is not a person.

He’s a universe.

He’s a fire and a storm and an ocean.

His soul is heavy, his mind is brimming, his heart is wide open.

His body is made up of little pieces of me.

His hand is where my fingers first touched his,

His shoulders, from which my legs lay dangling as he hoisted me up,

His arms lay around me until I fell asleep; until all I could smell and feel and know was ‘Papa’.

His hair, as I pinned it with sparkly clips (he keeps it short now)

His back, as I sat on it and willed him to go faster:

My father, my steed, and I, its rider.

His lap was my seat, my pillow, my bed.

His eyes, as he watched me cry, watched me grow, watched me leave

His eyes, as he cried, as he grew..

His laughter is an explosion; bursting through his lungs, rippling through everyone in the room,

Like a fire in a forest.

He’s principled and not shy of it.

He’s not one to tell me I’m right when I know I’m wrong.

He’s blunt and unorthodox. A perfectionist by heart.

A varying balance of cynicism and sentiment.

He’s a brilliant teacher, because he’s not afraid to learn.

He teaches me to be independent, uninhibited, incisive,

To thank, give and apologize.

He’s a volcano of experiences, a hidden treasure of stories.

He’s funny and sassy and wonderful.

How can you pack all this in one person?

My father is not a person.

He’s a universe.