by Mani G. IyerMost nights, after dinner, he meditated dinner for him a measly one but always the same quantity, the same time he believed in the maxim eat to live and not live to eat when we would gorge on mother’s delicacies he would proclaim from his perch of the armchair we were worse than pigs another thing he could not tolerate was talking while eating he had his own theory of digestion to back his principle which is still unclear to me so, family dinners, solemn occasions. Some nights he would fast based on the moon’s facades which he believed was not prescribed by the ancient sages for any religious reasons but a discipline for cleansing one’s stomach wherein I detect a slight leaning toward Gandhi which he never admitted, attributing it to be his own theory and the lunar positions merely served as a timetable on those occasions too his perch remained comfortable When he meditated he would sit up in his iron-framed bed prodding and caressing his prayer beads between his index finger and thumb his lips quivering a repetitive phrase he has a story about the beads they were given him by a sadhu who had just visited the holy city of Benares and they were genuine rudraksh whatever the story was, the beads really looked worn with time, travel and history He meditated to drive the rumbling forces out of his system – he suffered from acute flatulence this was the scene him in his Shiva like pose minus the coiled snake and the ever faithful, placid bull mother, me and brother sleeping on the floor in linear fashion and there would be a long roar during the night’s eerie phase followed by an occasional sputter at which brother and me would wake and snicker under our covers we likened this noise to the startup of an ailing Royal Enfield and on days that he fasted, the noise was deafening he must have been smiling at his victory. Some nights his meditative powers would fail to drive the rebellious forces and he had a solution for that too he would lie down on his bed and grumble and curse and eventually rouse poor mother out of her sleep she would then massage his stomach wiry and sunken like a river bed in the aftermath of a drought and with her gentle fingers, conquer those evil forces and lull him to sleep.
Mani G. Iyer was born and raised in Bombay, India and has lived in the United States since 1985. He is deaf-blind due to Usher Syndrome. He became deaf by the age of 4, night-blind by the age of 12, and now has very little usable vision.