I had first read the story when
I was to learn it in ninth standard
Must have been fourteen-year-old then
I remember how I had cried
At the thought of friendship made
And the friendship lost
The turn of destiny which sent
A poor man to his Father-in-law’s* house
The anguish of a father who had lost
His daughter’s entire childhood
Only to return to a world where
He was no longer recognized, wanted
I read it again after nineteen long years
I remembered every word as I read
And so did my tears, for they
Burst forth precisely
At that moment which had made me cry then
It was so poignant that I was once again
The little girl Mini, her father
And the cabuliwallah all over again


*Father-in-law’s house is a euphemism for jail