A Dedication to My Father on His 70th Birthday: By Harsh K. Luthar

My father was my protector and best friend. I wrote the following in 1996 when my Father turned 70 as a dedication to him. The picture is of him at 72 holding my daughter. It was taken in the summer of 1998.

The last wonderful summer my father and I spent together was in 2003. Several months later in November of 2003 he fell ill. After that I was only able to see him at the hospital. My father passed away in early 2004 at the age of 78. I think of him everyday.

Summer time with my Father – 1998

A Dedication to My Father on His 70th Birthday in 1996

My father was a mathematics professor. He is now retired. I saw him spend countless hours writing papers and constructing new math problems. He involved the whole family in helping him with an undergraduate math journal, Delta, that he had founded, and of which he was both the editor and the publisher. It was too much work for one man, but my father persisted in doing the impossible for years. Delta later merged with the Mathematics Magazine issued by the Mathematics Association of America. We were all happy when that happened!

My father spent a lot of his evenings grading math exams. This used to irritate my mother. “Must you spend so much time reading student exams? Give them a grade and get it over with,” she would say. He usually replied, “What do you think I teach, sociology or philosophy? Can I just read the first and the last line and give a grade!” Then he would laugh heartily feeling he had uttered a profound truth.

My father actually loves the humanities but is of the opinion that everyone should have concrete skills to earn a living. He never hesitated to express his views to me and others about education. Once, in order to demonstrate the superiority of learning math over other disciplines he said to his colleague who taught astronomy the following: “If our students know math and statistics they can get a job at the plant (he was referring to the local GM Plant). If they take astronomy and don’t get a job what will they do? How will they eat? Maybe they can go to your house and you can all watch the stars together on an empty stomach!” My father thought what he had said was quite funny, although the astronomy professor did not. The following poem is dedicated to my father.

PROFESSORS DON’T GROW OLD

Professors don’t grow old

they just grade away

like a master jeweler

who has to differentiate

between precious rubies and stones

who with a heavy heart sings

and then has to part

with diamond rings

that must end up on

someone else’s finger.

Professors don’t grow old

they just grade away

like a gardener who

asks the birds to stay

in the nest he has made

so they can rest in the shade

of the tree of wisdom

carefully pruned

standing in the luscious grass

only to see them fly away.

Cool breezes and the

fresh waters of knowledge

is what we received

in the college

that was my father’s heart.

Yes, professors don’t grow old

they just grade away

and then slowly fade away

to pictures on the walls

leaving nothing behind

but the touch of ideas

given with humor and kindness

and their smiling eyes

bubbling forever in our mind.

2 thoughts on “A Dedication to My Father on His 70th Birthday: By Harsh K. Luthar

  1. “He usually replied, “What do you think I teach, sociology or philosophy? Can I just read the first and the last line and give a grade!” Then he would laugh heartily feeling he had uttered a profound truth.” – Wonderful sense of humor! ❤

    Like

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