How does the poet’s father spend his time at home as seen in the poem ‘Father Returning Home’ by Dilip Chitre?
Dilip Chitre has depicted a touching picture of the loneliness and monotonous life of an old man neglected in the society. The poet attempts to arouse the readers’ sympathy for these people who always work for their family but get no compassion in return. In the two-stanza poem, the first one presents the speaker’s father’s unpleasing train journey while the second one is all about his life at home.
Home again, I see him drinking weak tea,
Eating a stale chapati, reading a book.
After returning home from work the father drinks thin tea and eats chapati that is not fresh. These are symbolic of the indifference of his family members to the man. But probably he is accustomed to it. That is why he does not mind any more but concentrates on reading a book.
He goes into the toilet to contemplate
Man’s estrangement from a man-made world.
Then he goes into the toilet to think over his isolation from others not only in his own house but also in the outside world. This indicates that the poet’s father is conscious of his estrangement. This toilet may be a symbol of how small his own world has been now.
After coming out from the toilet, the father washes his hands at the sink. He trembles as the cold water runs over his brown hands. Growing age and the coldness due to lack of any diversity in life are apparent here. Even his own children does not talk or share jokes with him. He is far away from their heart. Having nothing to do, the man now goes to sleep listening to his radio. But making his life even more miserable, the sound is very noisy (static).
Before he sleeps, he thinks about his ancestors and grandchildren. Thinking about the past and future generations is his way to escape from the mundane present. He also thinks of the nomads entering the subcontinent in the past. May be he is contemplating on how the society has changed since then.
Thus goes the daily life of the poet’s old father in his home devoid of human contact, in the modern world where there is no place for the elderly people, no one to think about their loneliness or care for them.