Arockiyam, My Driver.

Born to parents
well-educated and situated,
I had the best of all,

except orthodoxy, but discipline
overwhelmed my formative years.

Arockiyam, our old driver
would drive through the busy roads,
negotiate the heavy traffic and
take me safely to school in the mornings
to the music master’s house in the afternoons
to the dance class in the evenings.

He monitored every move of mine
reported my mistakes
to my mother. Discreetly would say,
“amma, correct thangachi.”

My enraged mother
once gave me a good spanking
Arockiyam came to my rescue,
carried me away, wiped my tears
and pacified me gently.

I cursed Arockiyam
shouted at him
‘Go to hell! go and die.’

When I remember the old
man and his care,
I recall my curse, too
and silently, as if in prayer,
I cry.