Summary and Analysis of Father Returning Home by Dilip Chitre

Dilip Purushottam Chitre was one of the foremost Indian writers and critics of the post Independence India. Apart from a being a writer, he was also a painter and a filmmaker. He graduated from the University of Bombay in 1959. He won the Sahitya Akademi Award (1994) for his Marathi book of poems Ekun Kavita.
Father Returning Home is a short and appealing poem about an old man in a cosmopolitan city where his own sons and daughters treat him as an alien. He himself is estranged from the man-made world. Through this poem, Chitre has denounced the urban rootlessness and alienation.

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Stanza 1: The first stanza of Father Returning Home describes the train journey of his father while returning home one evening. The father stands among commuters in the yellow light of a local compartment. The poet describes his father’s reaction against the sights of the suburbs that pass by. His father remains unmoved by the sights because they are too familiar to him. That is quite normal, isn’t it? We hardly pay attention to those places where we travel every day, unless the place has something interesting to offer. Same was with the poet’s father. The poet then describes his father’s pathetic condition, as he travels during the rainy season. His clothes become damp and dirty. The black raincoat that he wears becomes stained with mud. His bag crumbles with the heavy load of the books.
Due to old age, the poet’s father’s eyesight has become poor and therefore he finds difficulty to move about in the dark. The poet says that he can see his father getting down the train ‘like a word dropped from a long sentence.’ The sentence is highly unique and it provides an evocative image of an old man who gets down from the train as if he is no longer relevant to it. The poet then sees his father hurrying through the long, grey platform. The man seems to be as old as the platform, who has been using it as a part of his routine. He crosses the railway tracks and hurries home through muddy lanes on a rainy day. This is indicated by his chappals which are sticky with mud. This stanza portrays the monotonousness of the old man, who sustains the vagaries of weather as well as the estrangement from the man-made.

Stanza 2: The second stanza, the poet represents the alienation of his father that he experiences in his own dwelling. The poet tells us that his father drinks a weak tea and eats a stale chapatti when he comes back home. This shows that the even his basic requirements are not properly carried out by his family. A sense of pity for the poet’s father arises in us, what do you think?
The father is then seen going into a contemplative mood after reading some kind of a philosophical book. He goes to the toilet and contemplates over man’s alienation from the man-made world. This exhibits that the man is visibly upset with his predicament. He is terribly shaken when he comes out of the toilet and trembles while he washes his hands at the wash basin. It seems that he trembled not only because of the cold water but also due to the thoughts that came into his mind while he was thinking in the toilet.
The father finds himself all alone in his room as he is written off by his children. The children do not interact with their father; they do not share their joys or sorrows with him. To compensate their company, the father listens to the radio. Then he goes to sleep. In his sleep, he dreams about his ancestors and grandchildren. It seems that he is trying to communicate with his ancestors who had entered the subcontinent through the Khyber Pass in the Himalayas in the past. The dream mirrors that the old man is either thinking about his past (his ancestors) or his future (his grandchildren). It is a kind of relief to him from his mundane routine, devoid of any human contact.

Have you ever felt so alienated like this old man in Father Returning Home?

Know more about the poem- themes, poetic devices, go to Page 2

Pages: 1 2

I have done my M.A in English andI love reading good books and sharing knowledge with others. Thanks for appreciating.


  1. Aniq Urrahman Al-Shamsi

    December 2, 2014 at 10:41 am


  2. Maitreyi Ray

    February 28, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Thanks!It was of great help. Another point I would like to put in is that the father finds it difficult to connect with the present fast and individualist ways of life such as those of his children who refuse to share their world with him.That is why he goes to sleep dreaming of his ancestors(past) and his grandchildren(future) and hopes to connect with them, as he hears the radio where an invisible and only voice speaks to him.

    • Lay

      September 20, 2015 at 3:35 am

      Great Help! And another point. The poverty of the family is depicted from the father eating Stale chappati and drinking weak tea…
      Hope it Helps.

    • Lerato

      April 28, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      Thank you so much. This really helped me.

  3. Maryanne D'mello

    June 3, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Could it be possible that the father is ignored by his children because of his lack to adapt to the 21st century world?

  4. dr.Shaihk Ajaz Perveen

    July 25, 2015 at 6:56 am

    father being the part of past generation thinks to be ignored by children but it is not so. there is generation gap between the two hence psychological differences,

    • dr.Shaikh ajaz Perveen

      July 25, 2015 at 6:59 am


  5. dr.Shaikh ajaz Perveen

    July 25, 2015 at 7:00 am


  6. Ranish Kromodoyo

    November 20, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Thanks a lot! Another point: The poem says,”A few droplets cling to the greying hairs on his wrists.” Since water is a symbol of life and ‘greying hairs’ is a symbol of old age, we can interpret that his life is barely hanging on to his old age. Hope It Helped!:D

    • debraj das

      April 17, 2016 at 10:53 am

      Brilliant interpretation!

  7. clifford baglari

    December 7, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Oh yeah thats what I want..

  8. satyajeet

    January 4, 2016 at 4:26 am

    Thanks a lotz. Whoever made this site. I m extremely thankful to them becoz I was in delama of how to complete my poem but u made me complete all of them….. tnks once again

  9. Tulip Ahmed

    January 17, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    it was realy helpfull. thankyou a lot

  10. Pavan George Maxim

    January 20, 2016 at 1:59 am

    Thank you!


    January 24, 2016 at 6:21 am

    This notes was extremely helpful i got good score in the exam thanks a lot for helping us

    • dilpreet kang

      February 19, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      Plz can u give me explanation of poem cheerfulness taught by reason the same way ?it’s really urgent.

  12. Pavan George Maxim

    February 29, 2016 at 1:14 am

    Thanks a lot!

  13. Tatenda Chachoka

    June 20, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Thanks a lot! Here’s another point: The repetition of the word ‘hurries’ as he is going home emphasises the fact that he is rushing there. He goes into the toilet to contemplate… After the struggle of getting home, is the toilet his only refuge??

  14. sohini

    June 28, 2016 at 6:03 am

    Can you please explain me elaborately the phrase ‘..getting off the train Like a word dropped from a long sentence ‘ ?

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