Monday, August 30, 2010

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The elephant in the forest

Is the fish in the water

Fish is caught from the water

Water remains in tact

Elephant is caught from the forest

Forest is left in tact

Fish is turned into curry fried

Elephant is made to lift logs

It is caparisoned and paraded in the festival

The water only going on moving

The forest smuggled by the elephant burst out

Men flew, scream

The elephant in the forest is not the fish in the water

Translated by K.Sachidanandan


A Letter to Malayalam Poetry

Met you on the river one day,
Sat together for quite a while.
The river has a window, you said,
Through it I will fly away.
Kept remembering what you said
Even after I left you to reach my village.
If the river has a window, it must be a house;
If you wanted to fly away, it must be a jail.
I live among the poor,
In a hutment just like theirs.
Eat what I get.
Have to fetch water from afar,
Hear father calling me a dog.
Have to clear mother’s shit and piss.
Tins, sandals, bottles, paper,
My job is to pick and sell them all
People call me rag-picker,
Carriages refuse my knapsack.
Yet I called you.
You didn’t come.
I know your people:
Those like big buildings.
They locked you up
In stanzas and metres.
You saw the world through a hole,
Tripped and fell against household things.
Won’t forget the way you looked at me
As, decked in silks and smiles,
you sped away to the temple in a car.
Tired of it all, eh?
A girl may long
to see the woods,
to sleep in a thatched hut,
to wade through filth and slush.
She will burn in the sun,
catch a fever in the rain.
What you want is freedom, right?
That is all we have:
You can say what you like,
can bathe in the brook,
can chirp with the wagtails
visiting the compound,
can sit on a mat on the veranda.
Mother and father will
keep you company.
I will come rushing after work.
Can lie down on a supper
of gruel and sprouts
or just watch the sky.
Owl hoots should scare you,
Then I will cover you with love.

Translated by K.sachidanandan

When we part

When we talk about

Parting from the house

Mother said:

Everyone has his or her own affairs

This place has to be sold and divided among

The youngest daughter has to be married and sent out

Elder son left home long, long ago

Younger has reached nowhere

You too will go

Where shall we go in this old age?

We shall be dead and gone soon

Younger sister threads the needle

My daughter has been served rice

by her mother

she comes in between and touches me

I said:

Mother we too will part

And later die

Never will we unite in such a house

Any longer

Shall we later ever meet anywhere?

Now the child runs around us

Ajay sekhar

Group photo

Group photo

Tomorrow is the social and the group photo

Don’t forget to turn up

I have paid the money

We have to stand close to each other

Says one girl

The readers may think

It happened in college years back

Fine ,you can think so

Had a life estranged

From every one in every way

So I just went underground

To my limited shelters

What do you think?

Some complex

How does a poor,low caste fellow,

Dark to boot,live in kerala

Have you an idea?

Yes this is the experience of different people, in different places

Including that of woman

Don’t always read it as mine

That’s why I said

It does’nt have to be college

If it is,

We can strike work together,

Study together

But mind you I will disappear once in a while?

Haven’t you seen those who disappear once in a while?

She shows me the photo

One who stalked her is standing

Just behind her

Of her own caste

It’ because of this decease

He chose to stand there itself

You can remove him

And have my picture there instead

Time has changed

I am not doing that

There is a cursed life some Malayalees live all along

Translated by K.sachidanandan