A telephone call talked of an an old man with a white topee .
His small-frame father ,who worked in a cement factory.
The cement is no longer.The white topee is no longer.
Memories linger of a city on the sea where the waves beat black granite rocks.
The white surf of an ocean which stretches to distant Aden
There the ancestors had landed in a dhow to make tradesmen’s money.
Tall white stone buildings which stood against the blue sea.
At night they wore the transparent veil of pale moonlight .
On moonlit nights perfumed society people stood against the ocean .
Among the rocks where the waves from the distant Gulf beat their city.
Dark people sold smuggled tape recorders with whirring tape-spools .
The whitewashed buildings had white peace in their upper bellies .
But in their under-bellies they had fishermen’s knives and red revenge .
A frail old man from the city made white salt at the sea-shore
And spun white cotton on hand-wheels and made others wear white.*
(*Mahatma Gandhi had been born and spent his formative years in the city of Porbandar)