by Sunil Sharma

The Kurta
My treasured item.
From the past
that links the present

the kurta
cotton fabric, homespun
worn by a generation of Indians
even in the post-Gandhian times

my father wore that to work and in home
a khadi kurta and pyjamas and never felt

he died suddenly and bequeathed few heirlooms —
books and diaries and…the kurta of Khadi, his fave dress.

I was in mourning life-long
missing him often on dark nights of life
when you feel abandoned

and then, I would wear that kurta and feel connected with a liberal man
the present
merging with a past
that past blending with the present
a seamless flow, linear-spatial
swirling with memories still relevant

a relic, living!

a kurta — not of value to the other siblings
dressed in designer clothes, western style
but for me — a vintage item taking me back-n-forth in time
and to a man, there-yet-not-there.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My father’s kurta.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The hand-me-downs — part of the culture of developing nations — join generations and are used in frugal economies by hardworking families, trying to survive in grim conditions. One such prized item was a kurta from my dad. He died in his fifties. I was young and was totally devastated. Then one day I wore the kurta and felt reconnected with his spirit. Since then, that kurta has been my most prized possession and a link to a loving father and some sweetest memories of growing up in a small north Indian town.


Mumbai-based, Sunil Sharma writes prose and poetry, apart from doing literary journalism and freelancing. A senior academic, he has been published in some of the leading international journals and anthologies. Sunil has got three collections of poetry, one collection of short fiction, one novel and co-edited five books of poetry, short fiction and literary criticism. Recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award—2012.  Another notable achievement is his select poems were published in the prestigious UN project  Happiness: The Delight-Tree-2015. He edits English section of the monthly Setu, a bilingual journal from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.