Father and Son

There have been many novels and short stories based upon the sins of the father being vested in the behaviour of the son. The murderous instinct. The weakness for alcohol. The failings with women. More so than mothers and daughters, I’d venture. Perhaps men have a greater propensity for weakness, full stop.

In the last Blog, I mused on the notion that every serious condition has its weaker form in so-called ‘normal’ behaviour. In this case, as we age and time begins to speed up, we start to morph into our parents.Not wholly, for there is some fought-for traits and beliefs that we maintain to salvage the respectability of our individuality.Nevertheless, we find ourselves uttering phrases, coughing, adopting a body position or a splenetic view of some social behaviour and cringe inwardly as we realise the awful nature of our metamorphosis.Our parents, often from beyond the grave, occupy us like those aliens in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

A dear friend gave me a wonderful, three volume, early 19th century translation of A Thousand and One Nights, for Christmas. I am reading it at exactly the same age my father read it to keep alive his Urdu. For at least a thousand and one nights he had waded through the Sanskrit, and practised orally on a Pakistani family in Lanark to prepare for his last trip to India. As he processed round Delhi, crowds gathered when he spoke, for his accent was unchanged since he left in 1947.

“Your father is great man,” they’d say, “He speaks Urdu classically. It is such a pleasure for us.”

Meanwhile, I completed a novel, as Christmas approached. You can find the first two chapters elsewhere on this web site: Kamil the Historian and His Tales of the Magus. The structure is similar to A Thousand and One Nights and I had that book’s form firmly in my mind, as I wrote it.

No matter what I do. No matter how much I loved and hated him, he is still there, like some burrowing fish, stirring up the ocean-bed of my mind.

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