• Gems of Indian Poetry translated into English


  • Timeless Indian Poems now available in English language


Movement –Rest

Mukesh Vaidya

My arms outstretched upto the horizon
Desperately desire
To catch hold of an orange rolling far away.
No matter from where, when or whatever little
May it be procured
I want to taste the kemel of this earth.
Like a huge heap of oranges
Trickling juice in my tiny Fingers
Childhood
Oozes out in sleep.
The arms keep struggling.
The earth goes slithering.
Arms outstretched, waist twisted
Tom apart at tugging
Swept off in shreds
I am hurtled at the horizon.
Outstretched upto the horizon

My arms return and come to rest
And settle down as arms of a chair.

ગતિ-સ્થિતિ

ક્ષિતિજ સુધી લંબાયેલા મારા બન્નેય હાથ
સરક્યે જતું સંતરુ પકડવા
વલખી રહ્યા છે.
જ્યાં કશે, જે કંઈ જરી, જેવો મળે તેવો જ
મારે આ પૃથ્વીનો ગર ચાખવો છે.
નાની ટચુકડી આંગળીમાં રસછલકતું
મબલખ પડેલા સંતરાના ઢગ જેવું
બાળપણ
ઊંઘમાં ટપક્યા કરે છે.
હાથ વલખ્યા કરે છે.
પૃથ્વી સરક્યા કરે છે.
હાથ લંબાવતો, કેડે મરડાતો
તણાઈને તૂટતો
તૂટી તૂટીને તણાતો
ઝીંકાઉ છું ક્ષિતિજ સુધી
દૂર
ક્ષિતિજ સુધી
લંબાયેલા મારા બન્નેય હાથ પાછા ફરે છે.
ખૂરશીના હાથા બની બેસી રહે છે.

Translated by Karamshi Pir from Gujarati
Puddle
Untitled

Puddle

Mukesh Vaidya

1
Inside a puddle
At Mid-day
The sun
Lay indolent like a burly buffalo
Whom fishes nibbled away
By the evening

2
Puddles lie framed like windows
Trees
Putting out their heads peer out
Might be estimating the distance travelled
In between lies the limitless sky.

3
Children swaying school-bags on the backs
Threw pebbles at a pretty large puddle
And caused countless ripples.
Thereafter
The entire puddle was filled with pebbles.
To-morrow
When the children return from the school
They wouldn’t have to wander far in search of pebbles.

4
I put
A paper-boat in a puddle
And –
It floated.

5
I set my eyes to observe the puddle
I felt then that something grazed against my eye-ball
Nevertheless I enjoyed it.
Keeping my eyes set on the puddle I moved forward.
Crowds tom in two joined together again with one another,
Signboards, ceilings, buildings on the verge of collapse,
Broad reversed massive wheels of an overturned bus---
All moved over my eyelids
As I stepped closer the sights revolve, crack and get changed
Puddle zoomed in at my eyes
Not a thing there.
Only white-washed sky;
Deep down my eyes suffered in stinging pain.
Like a shiny sheet of tin
Pretty half of the puddle pierced through my eyes
ripping them open.
Far upto the horizon in the front
And
Across the blood-stained broke cranium
In the rear

ખાબોચિયું
(પાંચ કાવ્યો)
૧.
એક ખાબોચિયામાં
મધ્યાહ્ને
માતેલી ભેંસની જેમ જડ થઈ પડી રહેલા
સૂર્યને
સાંજ સુધીમાં તો માછલાં ફોલી ફોલીને ખાઈ ગયાં.

૨.
બારીની જેમ જડાઈ ગયાં છે ખાબોચિયાં.
વૃક્ષો એમાં ડોકાઈ ડોકાઈ જુએ છે.
કદાચ
તેઓ ક્યાં પહોંચ્યા એનો તાગ કાઢતાં હશે.
વચ્ચે અમેય આકાશ.

૩.
પીઠ પર દફતર ઝૂલાવતા નિશાળીયાઓએ
મોટા દેખાતા એક ખાબોચિયે કાંકરા નાંખી
અનેકાનેક વલયો જન્માવ્યાં.
પછી તો આખું ય ખાબોચિયું કાંકરે કાંકરે પુરાઈ ગયું કાલે ક્યારે નિશાળિયાં છૂટીને પાછાં ફરશે ત્યારે તેઓએ કાંકરાની શોધમાં દૂર રખડવું નહીં પડે.

૪.
મેં એક ખાબોચિયામાં
એક કાગળની હોડી મૂકી
અને –
એ તરી.

૫.
ખાબોચિયું જોવા મેં આંખ માંડી
ત્યારે આંખના ડોળા પર કશુંક ઘસાતું હોય એવું લાગ્યું હતું પણ મને મજા પડી.
ખાબોચિયા પર આંખ માંડીને જ હું આગળ વધ્યો.
અડધાં કપાયેલાં, ફરી એકમેકમાં ભળી જઈ જોડાતાં ટોળાં, દુકાનોનાં પાટિયાં, છત, પડું પડું મકાનો ને ઊંધી વળેલી બસનાં ઊંધાં પ્હોળાં મસમોટાં વ્હીલ મારાં ઉપલાં પોપચે ફરવા લાગ્યાં.
નજીક પહોંચ્યો
તેમ તેમ દ્રશ્યો ચકરાયાં, તૂટ્યાં ને બદલાયાં.
ખાબોચિયું
આંખસરસું પાસે આવ્યું
ત્યારે તો કશું જ નહીં.
માત્ર ચૂને ધોળ્યું આકાશ;
મારી આંખોમાં
ઊંડે ઊંડે અસહ્ય પીડા થવા લાગી.
ટીનનાં પતરાં જેવું ચળકતું ખબોચિયું
ખાસ્સું અડધું એવું
મારી આંખો ચીરીને ઊંડે ઊંડે પેસી ગયેલું.
સામે ક્ષિતિજ જેટલું દૂર
ને પાછળ
ફૂટેલી લોહિયાળ ખોપરીને પેલે પાર………

Translated by Karamshi Pir from Gujarati
Movement –Rest
Untitled

Untitled

Mukesh Vaidya

Submerged totally I stand
Under the waters of touch.
Several sounds
Like tiny little Fishes
Gnaw at my wounded limbs.
Spilt blood of the Sun
Is poured into my closed eyes.
On the banks
Among the cluster of canes
Through moist silvery mist
Of grassy fragrance
My ears walk
Like a call of a golden oriole.
My ears--
Cocking for a moment
Then fluttering in fear
Once again folding their wings
--Continue to walk

સ્પર્શના જળમાં
હું માથાબૂડ ઊભો છું
ઝીણી માછલીઓની જેમ
કેટલાક અવાજો
મારાં જખ્મી અંગોને
કોતરી કોતરીને કરડી રહ્યાં છે.
સૂરજનું લોહી
મારી બંધ આંખોમાં ઢોળાય છે.
કાંઠે નેતરના ઝૂંડમાં
ઘાસલ સુવાસના ભીના રૂપેરી ધુમ્મસે
પીળકના ટહુકા જેવા
ઘડીક સરવા થઈ ફફડી ઊઠતા
ફરી પાછા પાંખો બીડીને
મારા કાન ચાલે છે.

Translated by Karamshi Pir from Gujarati
Movement –Rest
Puddle

Monologues of a Selfie

Ashwani Kumar

Hey, you love me. Does it matter?

I don’t need anyone. I love me. I say it loudly. I love me.

I am not someone. This is my body-made for myself.

This is such a nice thing. I am no good, bad or evil.

It’s not hard to meet someone like me these days.

I feel like I have really made a genuine connection with myself. What a discovery?

You know my name. Nope. You guess – Abiku, Azaro, Sinai, Analogue, Android, Andromedean.

Ah, I am my generation. No name calling.

Forget your father, mother, uncle, aunt, siblings, and a series of absurd filial connections.

Forget family planning also. You are your own Gene.
Don’t think wrong of me. I tell you something about my personality traits.

I am no ascetic, no pragmatic, no conservative, no free thinker, no humourist, not follower of any leader or sect. Don’t get me wrong.

You think I am a bestseller. Yup. You got it right.

I am attractive, intelligent, confident, and successful. I make no mistake. I rock all the time.

I don’t want to know you. Yet I got lots of friends and contacts on Facebook, Twitter.

I often bare myself on Instagram. You want me. Don’t lie. You want me.

Tell you frankly. It is Impossible. I love myself. We are new monogamous. We date ourselves.

Don’t think we don’t have reproductive organs. We procreate and replicate.

We are like various brands of the milk – like soya milk, almond milk, coconut milk, chocolate milk, lactose-free milk, skimmed milk, regular milk etcetera.

We don’t age. Just grow old. Carry on.

Is it true that memory is like a room without windows? I can’t hear you. It is only me here.

Who is she? Who is he? I like to talk. What about you. Don’t care if you also like to talk.

So, the problem of finding common ground is over.
I feel like we are learning so much new about ourselves.

Hey, I don’t invite my boyfriends or girlfriends to my apartment. Gender is so boring. Male or female, it makes no difference. It makes things uninteresting.

I prefer walking by night. You like tram rides in the day. Fine. I earn my work. You also work for the Ministry of Future. A lot of you are afraid of me. But you like my pictures –

Let’s move a bit forward. I know all your quotes. You know mine. It’s great. I change my DP every day. Wait. Nothing changes though.
I love my own fragrance. Oh. Its so nice, so erotic as well.
Sure, you’ll love your own.

I don’t go to any public library or watch films at multiplexes. Neither do I withdraw cash at ATMs.

No hanky-panky. No ketch up. Damn it. Sing this ghetto-blaster-DUP-DUP- dudududu-DUP-DUP.

You know Kai Miller – that Jamaican poet. He loves singing DUP-DUP-dudududuDUP-DUP.

Don’t tell me a reason why you like it. Just sing DUP-DUP-dudududu-DUP-DUP.

Oh, life is so beautiful these days. Me, Me, Me, Me Only Me. It is queer. Downright queer.

Are you still not convinced? That’s O.K. Good news.

These days, we don’t have to be in the same picture frame. Don’t we?.

I know you are like me. You just don’t want to admit you love yourself.

It looks like you just got a new alert. Hey, don’t delete me. I confess. I am just a selfie –

I love my simplicity!

Translated by

A Hot May Afternoon

Jayanta Mahapatra

Not a breath of air anywhere.
Just my sinful shadow
Keeps craving for a kindred being.

Windows are shut tight
In houses everywhere.
And outside, farewell after farewell.

How can I break
This granting silence of the river’s
Burning sands inside of me?

When I muster
Enough courage
And reach for my lover’s breasts.

With a half-smile
She hands me the first Book
Of an untouched life

Translated by Gopa Ranjan Mishra from Odia
Her Hand
Hunger

A Tale, To Begin With

Jayanta Mahapatra

Jayanta Mahapatra never did anything worthwhile;
Today’s young are unaware of what he did
Those who knew him a little are dead and gone.
He was a awful person.
To tell the truth, no one had ever seen him.
Neither his friends nor relatives, or his enemies.
But then, how would they know him?
He was on fire day and night.
Burning in the flames of his own karma.
People noticed only the fire
And some smoke, hazy, unclear.

The body of Jayanta Mhapatra
Had somehow worn out through the years
And all that remained
Was a vain palm-frond hat on his bald head.
So wily was he
That nobody could win him over to their side.
A juicy tale for hot, sleepless summer nights
When malicious plots against him
Were hatched all around.
Jayanta Mahapatra could never break down
The formidable walls of his body.
Never veering away, those walls
Had moved up on him day after day
Until nothing was left of his body,
And whatever was left behind was perhaps not his.
It had somehow flown away from him
As it kept searching for gold and silver,
In the deeps of earth and wells of stone,
In the hills and forest and rivers of words
But had never found anything of value.

No, there’s no sense
In looking for Jayanta Mahapatra.
At times he moves about in the cold winter skies
In the starry constellation of Scorpio,
A question himself.
And sometimes he loses himself
In the sweat-smell of the girl he loved.
Many insist he keeps reeling under some unknown fear,
A fear that lies deep down in every pore of his skin.
In a climate of fear
Can anyone make another his own?
Who can tell where this fear of his came from?
Was it from his mother’s wrathful eyes
Or from the inhuman taunts of his schoolmates?
That fear, however,
Clung to his skin forever.

That’s why Jayanta Mahapatra
Can never enter darkness.
The darkness that lives on in the history
Of blood-soaked thighs of our women.
The darkness that rests in God’s listless eyes.
But you can find Jayanta Mahapatra in Cuttack
On the weary bank of the Kathjodi
Or at the Attendants-Quarters of Christ College
In the sobbing breasts of the peon’s raped daughter
You’ II find him surely
If you really look for him.
You’ II find him surely
In the ageing leaves of the mango in his backyard
In the anguished call of the bird with a broken wing
Or in the disconsolate cry of the child
Whose red balloon got burst
In the jostling crowds on the eights day of Durga Puja.
No, you’d never find him in a church or a temple.

Had he done anything that people would know him?
Yes perhaps, he could weave dream after dream
Much like a bird perched
On a branch of his mind’s bare tree.
Wandering far and wide
He settled at lat in his home town of Cuttack.
If you ask the mechanic Mama
Who’s there all day at his bicycle-repair-shop
Or Kalu, who sells paan in his tiny wood cabin
About Jayanta Mahapatra,
They would of course tell you where he lives.
The monsoon rain could easily point him out
And even the mild misty mornings of December;
The lame pariah dog too, who hobbles over sometimes,
Wags his tail and fondly licks
His hands near his front door.

And poems? His poems simply can’t say
Where he lives.
They lie all over like the dead.
Those impetuous poems of his couldn’t subdue his mind
They just shut every door of his body.
Like the tired old peepul standing all alone
In the abandoned Buddhist monastery in Lalitgiri,
He’s there, inside the chaos of words.
Of course he’s been living in Cuttack
But not many there known him
Sometimes they’d say :

Oh! Jayanta Mahapatra?
That man?
Oh he lives in dreams
and will die in his dreams one day
How long can he hold on
to the vast sky all alone?
That’s right
Jayanta Mahapatra never did anything worthwhile.
He had a heart of course
And whatever little space was in there
He kept it solely to bury his friends and lovers
In the earnest hope
That he would finally find himself

Translated by Gopa Ranjan Mishra from Odia

In the Bazaar

Panna Naik

Mother,
How I enjoyed
going to the bazaar with you!
We drove in a horse-buggy with leather seats.
We took a purse, a mesh
of filigreed silken threads,
holding money.

Everyone there knew you.
The shopkeepers
welcomed you warmly.
You bought my favourite
fruit and vegetables
and sometimes even print fabric
my favourite color, rust
for my dress or skirt.

After shopping,
you would order
the same horse-buggy
with the same driver, Fakir,
you had known for years
who brought us home
from every trip to the bazaar.

I remember--once
when you were haggling
with a vegetable vendor
over his prices,
I sneaked away
and got lost
in a toy shop
shutting you out of my mind.

Losing sight of me
you became hysterical,
retracing your steps to the shops
we had visited
asking everyone
When no one could help you find me,
with tears in your eyes
you stepped into a temple
praying to
Krishna, the Lord Protector
to protect me
You stopped
at the poor astrologer’s sparrow
which, perched in a cage on the city’s pavement,
forecasts bright futures for people.
just when you stood still at last,
not knowing which way to turn,
I emerged from the toy shop.
Our eyes met.
You ran,
took me in yours arms,
and hugged me so hard
that I have never been
able to get away
from you.

Mother,
Today, too,
all by myself,
I wander on my bare feet
in a bazaar
among faces that seem familiar
yet remain unknown to me

Translated by

GAZAL

Lalit Trivedi

You do not know what eyes are!
That is why you have not seen God

Water-vendors are roaming on this street The very street which covered a well

I shall hear you before you speak
If only you will speak from within me

First put out the flaming scenes
Then you will be able to see each other

We shall discuss the cosmos some other day Today lets just open windows of our house

Cages have sprouted from branches and boughs Where will you build a nest?

આંખનો મતલબ કર્યો ખોટો તમે,
એટલે ઈશ્વર નથી જોયો તમે !

પાણી પણ વેચાય છે તે આ સડક,
જે સડક નીચે પૂર્યો કૂવો તમે !

બોલો તે પ્હેલાં જ તમને સાંભળું,
મારી અંદર આવી જો બોલો તમે !

દૃશ્યનો દીવો કરો રાણા પ્રથમ
એકબીજાને પછી જોજો તમે !

વાત કરશું કોક દિ’ બ્રહ્મરંધ્રની,
આજ ઘરની બારી તો ખોલો તમે !

જંગલોની ડાળને પિંજર ઊગ્યાં,
કઈ જગાએ બાંધશો માળો તમે !

– લલિત ત્રિવેદી

Translated by Udayan Thakker from Gujarati

DNA

Anjali Purohit

Whoever was born a tabula rasa?
I came from the womb
with the history of our ancestors
the forks in their tongues
and the venom on their lips
interwoven into the strands of my DNA
wash, scrub and rinse, abrade and buff
it won’t come off.

Put on all the liberal masks of the world
one over the other yet
there will be a chink where the cosmetics melt
and the BB cream cracks
to show teeth and fangs
and atavistic passions
that would put our tribal past to shame

haven’t we now devised means so clinical,
long distant, sophisticated and global
that we can vanquish
entire peoples without a spot of blood
on our manicured white hands.

Translated by

Picture me

Folina Chongthu

1. Picture me in a pictur eless book half-written
With no ending and no tears to chance upon as you leave yourself baffled
A script where the persona's fortune can be well transmuted.
Picture me in a road less taken
Where the street nourishes sand that has not been stepped on for forever
The wind carries crystals to the horizon in a duly demeanour
No one knows neither the book nor the road and where they will lead to.

2. Picture me in a chaotic modern art
Colours splash on every nook and cranny of the canvas
Imagine black, inexplicable artistry, residing in it.
Picture me in a lunar eclipse half-swallowed
A face that plays two aspects of emotions
And the implacable sadness that overshadows the light
Here is a root of the root that falsifies.

3. Picture me in a rising fire or high water
In a touch-me-not or a lost boat sailing under the drizzling rain.
In a random chat between two homeless people.
Picture me in a state of reverie inside a hollow bus or an unused station
Where lies the bitter truth revealed after the city sleeps.
I am but a frail moment of things empty and aimless
Like a gypsy wandering off to god knows where.

4. Picture me in a clock ticking back and forth
Everything exists on the verge of eternal timelessness
The ticking hand is merely a hand to tell a day's time.
Picture me in a woman loving a woman
The rough world throwing stones and casting them off
We are but ridicules of lost souls anxious to encounter righteousness
And time is merely time to remind us of our short, mortal lives.

Translated by

Home sickness

Shelly Bhoil

These ballerinas,
the migratory birds
lift their toes
swiftly
unfolding feathers
in harmony
to perform the sky dance
and exit the horizon
leaving behind empty-nes(t)s
echoing with joyous, envious
songs of home and return
for this solitary immigrant
whose path is chartered on
a seamless ocean
of individual drops

In the sprawling waves
of loneliness and longing
I drift between things banal
tv, tea, smokes and car
to the corner street
where someone's soot-clad feet
comfortably dislodged
from a card box home
shatter my ballerina romance

for I realize-
home sickness is a luxury
unavailable to the homeless!

Translated by
Blood-soaked

Blood-soaked

Shelly Bhoil

That's right, I carry
between my legs
a bag with a napkin
soaked in blood.

Wait, haven't I been carrying
in me a fountain
of blood since the first mother
ever came on earth?

Indeed, I am, oh goodness,
an enduring river of blood
flowing in your veins
from my uterus urn!

And you! Where do you drain off
your mothers' blood each time
you carry your bloodless body
to the exclusive shrine of your mind?

Translated by
Home sickness

Shadows

Gurpreet Anandi

Untill when
I will run after shadows
Defeated ... dejected

Shadows
Constantly dynamic
Out of reach.
From ages
Trying to catch them
in Empty hands,
those flying shadows.

But
Smouldering fire
between your brows...,
Mind engulfed
in deep sadness...
The Eye seeking
Truths beyond horizon
Do not have shadows.

Untill when
I will run after Shadows,
Defeated ... dejected

Translated by the Poet from Punjabi

Being

A J Thomas

Lying diagonally
In the wide bed, vaguely
Listening to the early morning sounds
Of bird-chirps, an occasional car-horn
Against the soothing murmur of the slow-falling rain
The fan swirling above at tempest-speed…
Smugly detached from the ballasting past
And the mirage smile of the future…
Sixty-one years of struggles and joys,
Blood-bonds close to the heart--
All suddenly a big void…
The haunting prods of should-have-beens
Strangely absent… no place
Even for ambivalence; each individual path
Fading into the fugue horizon at different directions…
Somnolence spreading like a blanket, inducing
Weightlessness—like a kite cut loose, the mind
Hovering around consciousness;
Life’s drama
Unfolding before the inner eye…
…Is this it?

Translated by
The Refugee

Jafar and me

Varjesh Solanki

Drank sharbat of Ramjan at Jafar'` home
Ate Shahi Biryani at his marriage.

His mother is just like my mother-
of splintered face
while working hard for the home.
The walls of his home
are just like the walls of my home-
of the detached crust.
His father regrets just like my father
while talking about the days of Partition.

The salt dried in his home
is just like the salt in the box at my home.
The water in his curry
has also streamed out of the same land:
the sunlight on my holy basil plant,
the sun set in the rustling of the neem tree\in the precincts of his mosque.
He has visited Tirupati once or twice
And has also visited Dehu.
I have also offered date fruits and the chadar
along with my wife at the Pir'` Dargah.

We consider Ghalib and Tukaram
as our contemporaries.
We always related ourselves.
with the world of stories
of Manto and Bhau Padhye
as if it was our life.
Even under the influence of alcohol,
never used a filthy word,
never abused each other'` communities.

For many days
the news of his mother diagnosed with cancer
troubled me like an ulcer in the intestines.

We were not the rumours
we were not the lables of the cults
we were the living struggle to meet the ends.
we were the commotion for the whole day
for peaceful sleep at lease once.
Don't know
but recently
someone is distributing the leaftlet
of difference between Jafar and me

in our lanes and mohallas
(Translated from Marathi by Dilip Chavan)

જફર અને હું
વર્જેશ સોલંકી

જફરને ઘરે મેં રમજાનનું શરબત પીધું હતું
એના નિકાહમાં શાહી બિરયાની

એની મા મારી મા જેવી
ઘર માટે ખપી જતાં
ઊતરડાઈ ગયેલ ચહેરાની ખાલવાળી
એના ઘરની ભીંતો મારા ઘરની ભીંતો જેવી જ
જેનાય ઠેર ઠેર ઊખડી ગયા છે પોપડા
એના બાપા મારા બાપાની જેમ જ વલોવાય છે
ભાગલાના દિવસોની વાત ઉખેડતાં

એના શાકનું મીઠું
મારા ઘરના ડબ્બાના મીઠા જેવું જ
એની દાળનું પાણી એક જ જમીનમાંથી આવેલું
મારી તુલસીના પાંદડાં પર પડતો સૂર્યપ્રકાશ
એની મસ્જિદના ફળીયામાં ઝૂલતા
લીમડામાંથી ચળાઈને આવતો

તેય એક-બે વાર તિરુપતિ અને દેહુ જઈ આવેલો
હુંય કેટલી બધી વાર પત્ની સાથે
પીરની દરગાહે ખજૂર અને ચાદર ચઢાવીને આવેલો

અને અને મને
સમકાલીન લાગતા ગાલિબ અને તુકારામ
અમારી દુનિયાના જ ભાસતા
મંટો અને ભાઉ ઉપાધ્યેની કથાનાં વિશ્વ માટે
અમે દારૂના નશામાંય એલફેલ બોલ્યા નહોતા
કે એકમેકની કોમ માટે ક્યારેય અપશબ્દ
કેટલા બધા દિવસો સુધી
મને આંતરડાના અલ્સરની જેમ પીડતી રહી
એની માને કૅન્સર થયાની માહિતી

અમે અફવા નહોતા
અમે સંપ્રદાયોનાં લેબલ નહોતા
અમે તો હતા બે ટંક દાળભાતનો મેળ પાડવા
કરાતી ટાંટિયાતોડ
એક વખતની નિરાંતની ઊંઘ મેળવવા માટેના
દિવસભરના ઉધામા

કોઈ જાણે કેમ પણ થોડા દિવસોથી
કોઈ વહેંચે છે અમારાં ગલીમહોલ્લામાં
જફર અને મારા જુદાપણાની પત્રિકાઓ



जफरच्या घरी
रमझानचं सरबत प्यालो
व त्याच्या निकाहला बिरयानी

त्याची आई माझ्याच आईसारखी
घरासाठी खपताना चेह-यावरचे छिलके निघालेली
त्याच्या घराच्या भिंती
माझ्याच घराच्या भिंताडासारख्या कुठे कुठे पोपडे निघालेल्या
त्याचे बाबा सांगताना अजून हळहळतात
फाळणीच्या दिवसाबद्दल बोलताना

त्याच्या भाजीतलं मीठ
माझ्याच घरातल्या डब्यातल्या मीठासारखं
त्याच्या आमटीतलं पाणी
एकाच जमिनीतून वर आलेलं
माझ्या तुळशीचे पडलेला सूर्यप्रकाश
त्याच्या मशिदीतल्या नीमच्या सळसळीतून मावळलेला

तोही कितीदा देहूव तिरुपतीला जाऊन आलेला
व मीही कितीतरी वेळा बायकोबरोबर
खजूर व चादर ओढून ओढून आलेलो पीराच्या दर्ग्याचे

त्याला मला समकालीन वाटत आलेला
गालीब व तुकाराम
आपल्याच जगण्यातलं वाटत राहिलेलं
मंटो व भाऊ पाध्येंच्या कथेतलं विश्व

दारूच्या नशेतही वंटास बोललो नाही कधी
एकमेकांच्या धर्माबद्दल अपशब्द
कितीतरी दिवस आतड्यातल्या अल्सरसारखी
छळत राहिलेली मला त्याच्या आईला कॅन्सर झाल्याची बातमी.

आम्ही अफवा नव्हतो
संप्रदायाची लेबलं नव्हतो
होतो फक्त दालचावलची सोय लावण्यासाठी
चालवलेली तंगडतोड
व एक वेळची झोप मिळविण्यासाठी
चालवलेला दिवसभरातला आकांत

काय माहीत मात्र
काही दिवसांपासून गल्ली मोहल्ल्यातून फिरवतय कोणी
जफर व माझ्यातली वेगळेपणाची पत्रकं

Translated by Kamal Vora from Marathi to Gujarati
If I Were born in Chechnya

The Refugee

A J Thomas

He came like a refugee from
The second world, craving human company;
Terminally ill, he seemed to seek
Vitality and hope; his past tumbling from
His lips, as if in a confession,
He felt visibly light and relieved.
Life and death, two sides of the same coin…
He seemed to traverse the thin mass in between.
Like a scout atop a tower who can see both
Sides of the railroad and the two fast-approaching
Trains on the same track, and not able to stop them,
He assumed nonchalance.
Destiny’s immediacy, and the dismay
At discovering it, made him seem
To disbelieve his own words…hesitantly in
A suggestive mode now, instead of falling back on
The assertive ways he was obviously wont to.
His days on earth defined; a reminder
To those who are still in the blind fray.

Translated by
Being

If I Were born in Chechnya

Varjesh Solanki

If I were in Chechnya
I would have been killed
by the Russian soldiers.

In Vietnam
it would have been impossible
to evade the close pursuit of American planes.

In Uganda
it would have been the victim
of some unknown terribly contagious disease.

In Pakistan
I would have been chopped up
in the growing riots
between the Shias and the Sunnis.

In Germany
as a Jew,
in Africa
I would have been plundered
in the racial hatred.
in
Kandahar
my head would have been chopped off
for watching the moving against fatwa,
For laughing loudly.

In Colombo or Gaza
I would have always moved about
in crowded place
due to fear of human bomb

In Saudi
I would have invited the punishment
of cutting off hand and legs
for unknowingly dashing against a woman

In one or the other country
I would have been
killed-thrashed-hacked-or-blown away
Be it India or any other place.

(Translated from Marathi by Dilip Chavan)


ચેચેન્યામાં જન્મ્યો હોત તો
વર્જેશ સોલંકી

ચેચેન્યામાં જન્મ્યો હોત
માર્યો ગયો હોત
રશિયન સૈનિકોને હાથે

વિયેતનામમાં
થાપ ન દઈ શક્યો હોત
પીછો કરતાં અમેરિકી વિમાનોને

યુગાન્ડામાં
કોઈક સાથીના ભયાનક રોગને
બલિ ચઢી ગયો હોત

પાકિસ્તાનમાં
કપાઈ મર્યો હોત
વકરી રહેલા શિયા-સુન્નીના ઝઘડામાં

યહૂદી હોત તો જર્મનીમાં કે
આફ્રિકામાં નાગો કરાયો હોત
વર્ણદ્વેષની ગૂંગળામણમાં

કંદહારમાં ઘડોલાડવો થયો હોત
ફતવાની વિરુદ્ધમાં સિનેમા જોવા
મોટેથી હસવા માટે

કોલંબોમાં કે હમાસમાં
ગર્દીમાં સતત થથરતો રહ્યો હોત
માનવ-બૉમ્બની ભીતિથી

સાઉદીમાં
હાથપગ ભંગાયા હોત
કોઈ સ્ત્રીને ભૂલથી ધક્કો લાગી જતાં

ક્યાંક ને ક્યાંક
માર્યો ધીબેડાઈ કપાઈ અથવા ઉડાવાઈ જ ગયો
હોત
શું ભારતમાં કે શું બીજા કોઈ ઠેકાણે?

चेचेन्यात जन्मलो असतो तर
मारला गोलोसतो
रशियन सैनिकांकडून

व्हिएतनाममध्ये
चुकवता आला नसता
अमेरिकन विमानांचा ससेमिरा

युगांडात
कुठल्यातरी भयाण साथीच्या रोगाला
पडल्यासतो बळी

पाकिस्तान मध्ये
कापला गेलो असतो शिया-सुन्नींच्या
वाढत्या दंगलीत

जर्मनीमध्ये ज्यू म्हणून
आफ्रिकेत नागवला गेलोसतो
वर्णद्वेषाच्या मुस्कटदाबीत

कंदहारमध्ये धडावेगळा झालो असतो
फतव्या विरोधात सिनेमा पाहिला
व मोठ्यांदा हसलो म्हणून

कोलोंबोत किंवा हमासमध्ये
सतत वावरत राहिल्या असतो गर्दीच्या ठिकाणी
मानवी बाॅंबच्या भीतीनं
साउदीत
तोडून घेतले असते हातपाय
चुकून बाईला धक्का लागला म्हणून

कुठेनंकुठे
मारलातुडवलाकापलानिउडवला गेलो असतो
भारतात काय किंवा इतर ठिकाणी काय?

Translated by Kamal Vora from Marathi to Gujarati
Jafar and me

Terms of Seeing

E V Ramakrishnan

On our way home from school
We often spent hours in the abandoned
orchard of mango, cashew nut
and tamarind trees, where each season

had its fruit and each fruit tasted different .
There we raided the make-shift hidecouts
of bootleggers, and broke their buried mudpots.
The crematorium in the corner

revealed an occasional roasted vertebra.
Once we went further and discovered
a disused well, and peered into its vaporous depths;
the water smelt like freshly distilled alcohol.

Through clotted branches of close-knit
shadows floated white turtles with glazed, metallic
shells. Moving with monastic grace, they looked
knowledgeable, like much-travelled witch doctors.

If they cast a spell it was unintentional. As we
bent down, their shaven heads rose and met a shaft
of sudden sunlight at an angle, tilting the sun into
the sea. Still the light lingered over the hill.

like an intimate whisper of something forbidden.
By this time, the terms of seeing were reset:
the well was watching us now. Its riveted
gaze pierced us and even went beyond us.

In the dark cornea of the well, the white
turtles moved like exposed optic nerves.
And as if a word was spoken, we stepped
back into the world of gravity, in silence.

Translated by
Alzheimer’s Day

Alzheimer’s Day

E V Ramakrishnan

I did not reply to my father’s question,
“Who’s that fat woman over there?”
It was mother. He had gone past her
past his children into a land
without birds or flags.

He often said, ”All right, let me go.”
Once he walked out early in the morning
and was tracked down by a group
of neighbours. He had a vague sense
of being held there against his wish.

In his occasional lucid moments
he wept for words he could not find
for common things
like a bed-sheet or a newspaper.

All his life, he had taught children language.

Translated by
Terms of Seeing

Her Hand

Jayanta Mahapatra

The little girl's hand is made of darkness
How will I hold it?

The streetlamps hang like decapitated heads
Blood opens that terrible door between us

The wide mouth of the country is clamped in pain
while its body writhes on its bed of nails

This little girl has just her raped body
for me to reach her

The weight of my guilt is unable

Translated by
A Hot May Afternoon
Hunger

Hunger

Jayanta Mahapatra

It was hard to believe the flesh was heavy on my back.
The fisherman said: Will you have her, carelessly,
trailing his nets and his nerves, as though his words
sanctified the purpose with which he faced himself.
I saw his white bone thrash his eyes.

I followed him across the sprawling sands,
my mind thumping in the flesh's sling.
Hope lay perhaps in burning the house I lived in.
Silence gripped my sleeves; his body clawed at the froth
his old nets had only dragged up from the seas.

In the flickering dark his hut opened like a wound.
The wind was I, and the days and nights before.
Palm fronds scratched my skin. Inside the shack
an oil lamp splayed the hours bunched to those walls.
Over and over the sticky soot crossed the space of my mind.

I heard him say: My daughter, she's just turned fifteen…
Feel her. I'll be back soon, your bus leaves at nine.
The sky fell on me, and a father's exhausted wile.
Long and lean, her years were cold as rubber.
She opened her wormy legs wide. I felt the hunger there,
the other one, the fish slithering, turning inside.

Translated by
A Hot May Afternoon
Her Hand

My Pretty

Udayan Thakker

If complaints could construct clouds,
I too, would have composed sighing love songs,
“Who do you visit, my beauty,
on those nights
when you are not within my dreams?”

I do not have your portrait, but I have seen
an evening write letters of light
on a face

At times the night hums,
dandelions come
floating on breeze.

This I have heard:
A disciple of the Sage Vishwamitra
wished to ascend to heaven
in flesh and blood.

The Sage elevated him upward
But Lord Indra drove him down.
Enraged, the Sage created
angels and fairies, gnomes, and goblins
and an alternative heaven.

Come over, sometime,
to this alternative heaven,
in flesh and blood.

Upon this earth there were Dodo birds,
in millions,
in thousands really,
a hundred at the most.

If you happen to visit
circa 1690,
you will find
perched on a twig of autumn
the last Dodo
the very last
who will tell you
what loneliness is.

-અય ચંચલનયને-

નિશ્વાસથી બંધાતાં હોતે વાદળાં
તો હું યે રચતે પ્રેમકાવ્યો
કે અય ચંચલનયને!
મારા સ્વપ્નમાં નથી હોતી એ રાતે
તું ક્યાં હોય છે?

તારી તસવીર તો નથી મારી પાસે
પણ રૂપાળા ચહેરે
અજવાળાની છેકભૂંસ કરતી સાંજ મેં જોઈ છે

ક્યારેક ટહુકી ઊઠે રાત
ઝૂલતું ઝૂલતું આવે શીમળાનું ફૂલ

જાણે છે?
વિશ્વામિત્રના શિષ્યે સ્વર્ગે જવું હતું,સદેહે
મોકલ્યો
ઇન્દ્રના વજ્રપ્રહારે પડ્યો પાછો
કુપિત વિશ્વામિત્રે સરજ્યાં
યક્ષ કિન્નર ગંધર્વ અપ્સરા
સરજ્યું વૈકલ્પિક સ્વર્ગ

આવ તું પણ આવ
મારા વૈકલ્પિક સ્વર્ગમાં
સદેહે

કહે છે કે પૃથ્વી પર ડોડો પંખી હતાં
લાખો-પછી હજારો
ના,ના, સો- બસો
જઈ ચડે તું સોળસો નેવુની સાલમાં
તો મોરિશિયસની પાળે
પાનખરની ડાળે
બેઠું હશે છેલ્લું ડોડો પંખી
સાવ છેલ્લું
જે કહેશે તને
એકલતા એટલે શું

-ઉદયન ઠક્કર

Translated by Dileep Jhaveri
Fancy Dress
M/s Anandji Kalyanji
Music

VIRUS

Haraprasad Das

She rises to go. Her body opens
up like a hurricane held by velcro
all breasty and unaware, her synthetic charm

the basement where the dark gods defacate
at night, and hold conclaves by day
waits to received here footsteps, the clatter
and the hooves. Pure animal satiated by scent, the virus

of all nonbeings on the astral computer.

Translated by

Fancy Dress

Udayan Thakker

After forty years
we school friends met
at a fancy dress party
One was clad as Laurel and another as Hardy
Bob came as the Headmaster and Susan became Cinderella
And I? Hunchbacked monster!
Much makeup was not needed, in fact

“Do you remember the washroom? On the first floor?
A line was sketched on the wall
with the words:
If your stream can reach this far
then become a fireman”

“This fat Frederick! The teacher had chided!
Why is your notebook blank?”
He replied: “Sir! You wrote on the blackboard
I copied in my notebook
But then with duster you erased every written word . . .”

Freddie used to open a bottle of Coca-Cola with his teeth
Now his dentures come out when he laughs

And Paul, Jesus! He could rattle down numbers and tables
now he forgets his name even

Violins used to play when Susan would smile
She is still a spinster

Carl was a champion in High Jump
Leaped from the ninth floor

Venus used to wear a butterfly broach on her blouse
She has only one breast now

Till midnight
the fancy dress party went on
Slipping on childhood
we deceived death
for a few moments

ફેન્સી ડ્રેસ

ચાળીસ વર્ષ પછી અમે શાળાના મિત્રો મળ્યા,
ફેન્સી ડ્રેસ પાર્ટીમાં.
કોઈ મિયાં ફુસકી બનેલો,કોઈ તભા ભટ્ટ
નટુ હેડમાસ્તર,સુજાતા સિન્ડ્રેલા.
હું બનેલો ખૂંધિયો રાક્ષસ.
ઝાઝો મેક અપ નહોતો કરવો પડ્યો જોકે.

"યાદ છે પેલો બાથરૂમ ? પહેલે માળ?
દીવાલ પર લીટી દોરેલી ને લખેલું :
તમારો ફુવારો અહીં સુધી પહોંચે તો બંબાવાળા બનો "
"અને નટુ ! માસ્તરે કેવો તતડાવેલો:ચોપડી કોરી કેમ ?
તો કહે:સર, તમે પાટિયા પર લખ્યું, મેં ચોપડીમાં લખ્યું.
પછી તમે પાટિયું ભુંસી નાંખ્યું -----"

નટુ કોકાકોલાની બાટલી દાંતથી ખોલતો
આજે હસવા જાય તો ડેંચર બહાર આવે છે.
દુષ્યંત આંક અને પલાખાં કડકડાટ બોલતો
હવે પોતાનું નામ પણ યાદ નથી.
સુજાતા સ્મિત કરે ને શરણાઈઓ ગૂંજતી
હજી કુંવારી જ છે.
હર્ષ તો હાઇજમ્પ ચેમ્પિયન !
નવમે માળેથી કૂદ્યો.
મેનકા બ્લાઉસ પર પતંગિયાનો બ્રોચ પહેરતી
હવે એને એક જ સ્તન છે.

બાર વાગ્યા સુધી ચાલી અમારી ફેન્સી ડ્રેસ પાર્ટી
થોડી પળો સુધી
અમે બાળપણ પહેરીને
મરણને છેતર્યું
--------------
-ઉદયન ઠક્કર

Translated by Dileep Jhaveri
My Pretty
M/s Anandji Kalyanji
Music

M/s Anandji Kalyanji

Udayan Thakker

How were the temples of Dilwara built?
Did the marble have a dream?
A signpost at the gate says,
“This place is run
by M/S Anandji Kalyanji.”

Who were they? Anandji and Kalyanji? *
Wealthy traders?
Veesa, Dasha or Oswal? * *
Natives of Rajasthan?

If truth be told
there were no such men.

These are but two
abstract nouns.

You may jolly well
put that signboard up
on your door.

* Names of Indian men, which literally mean happiness and goodness.
** Names of Indian trading communities.

આણંદજી કલ્યાણજીની પેઢી
(૫રંપરિત)

દેલવાડાનાં દહેરાંઓ રચાયાં કેવી રીતે?
આરસપ્હાણને સપનું કદીક આવ્યું હશે?
દેરાસરોનાં દ્વાર પર ઝૂલે છે તકતી
"આ જગાનો સર્વ વહીવટ
શેઠશ્રી આણંદજી કલ્યાણજીની પેઢીને હસ્તક"
કોણ આ આણંદજી?ને વળી કલ્યાણજી?
શાહસોદાગર હતા? રાજસ્થાન બાજુના?
વીસા?દશા? કે ઓસવાળ?
સાચું કહું?
આવી કોઈ વ્યક્તિ જ નહોતી!
આ બે તો કેવળ ભાવવાચક નામ

જો તમે ચાહો
તમારે ઘેર પણ એ તકતી ઝુલાવી શકો

-ઉદયન ઠક્કર

Translated by Dileep Jhaveri
My Pretty
Fancy Dress
Music

In Any House

K G Sankara Pillai

There is rainbow of love
In the rusted handle of the plastic bucket.
Though Nandan or Meera doesn’t see it.
Neither do they search for it.
How many days after marriage
do lovers begin to forget love?
To remember the period of love
like a lost childhood?
How many of them would
burn in the agony of their derailed love
and plant a new line?
How many would decide to separate
without hitches and screams?
How many would decide
to continue their love song?
Each day,
in each house
there is a youthfulness that ages.
an antiqueness to be rejuvenated,
the emptiness of a vessel to be filled,
a lamp to be woken up,
a coldness to be warmed up,
a shabbiness to be cleansed,
a litter to be discarded,
a lie to be worn,
a handcuff to be hidden,
a file to be extinguished,
Inside a mind made of houses,
some heavy doors always remain closed.
Some forgotten keys jingle.
There is the soul of a rainbow hiding
in the sanyasi-drop on a lotus leaf.
in the water gushing through a shower,
in the pacifying light streak on the river-ripples-
a fairy with new songs and life for
all that has been forgotten.
Though in the sightlessness of
washing, cooking, cleaning, and
innumerous other trivialities,
Meera and Nandan
Never knows or sees it

Translated by Aditya Shankar from Malayalam

BLOODY THIEVES

Anwesha Singbal

From the seventh floor
of that building in process of construction,
With excitement in their eyes
And veils upto their foreheads,
The two of them were staring down,
Balancing their cauldrons full of cement.
A few years later, that building
Will be complete and shiney,
Will have diamonds and gold embellished upon.
The tik-tok of boots and high-heeled shoes,
And suits will resonate a modern song.
Those two, might be seen there someday,
Staring at the seventh floor, from their way,
And suddenly, watchman will come, running,
And shoo them away,
Shout aloud a few curses,
And say,
"Bloody thieves!"

चोर कहीं कीं ...

उस आधी-अधूरी
इमारत की सातवीं मंज़िल से
सिर पर घुँगट ओढ़े,
सिमेंट की अढ़िया संभाले
वे दोनों बड़े उत्साह से
देख रही थीं नीचे |
बनकर तैयार होगी
कुछ सालों बाद वह इमारत,
चमकेगी, हिरे-जवाहरातों से दमकेगी
सुनायी देंगीं आवाज़ें टॉक-टॉक बुटों की
और हाई हिल्स की
चलेगा सुट-बूट पहने शोर आधुनिकता का
कभी गलती से भी वे दोनों
पहुँच जायें वहाँ अगर
उस सातवीं मंजिल को
देखने लगें नीचे खड़ी होकर ...
वॉचमेन दौड़ा चला आयेगा
और भगा देगा उन्हें
चार गालियाँ देकर,
कहेगा,
चोर कहीं कीं...

चोर खंयची...

ते अर्दे उबारिल्ले
इमारतीच्या सातव्या माळ्यावेल्यान
माथ्यार पदर घेवन,
शिमीटाच्यो कायली सांबाळत
व्हडा उमेदीन ती दोगांय
सकयल पळयतालीं.
कांय वर्सांनी ती इमारत
पूराय जावन चकचकतली
वज्रां भांगरां शिंगारून लकलकतली
टोक टोक बुटांचे
आनी हाय हिल्सांचे आवाज
सुट बूट मारूंन चलतलो थंय आधूनिकतेचो गाज
ती दोगांय चुकून
पावत थंय केन्नाय घडये
सकयल रावन तेळत तो सातवो माळो
इतल्यान वॉचमेन धांवत येतलो
धांवडायतलो तांकां
चार गाळी मारून,
म्हणटलो,
चोर खंयची...

रचनाकार : अन्वेषा सिंगबाळ (गोवा)
हिन्दी अनुवाद : डॉ. सोनिया सिरसाट (गोवा)
अंग्रेजी अनुवाद : अंतरा भिडे (गोवा)

Translated by Antara Bhide from Kakani
STRUGGLE

Music

Udayan Thakker

After defeating the armies of Bahadur Shah at Mandu, King Humayun put on a red robe and ordered a mass execution. An officer interceded, “Mercy, O King!
Spare Manjhu, the court singer . . .”
Humayun ordered Manjhu to sing.

From A HISTORY OF GUJARAT by Sikander Bin Mohammad, 1613 A.D.

Manjhu rendered “Malhar,” the tune of rains
The leaves of the trees harked
Drums began pulsating
And somewhere glass harmonicas started playing
Donning the wings of sparrows, the dust went flying
The clouds puffed
Fragrance emerged from the fists of soil
A dimple dented the air
Humayun’s robe turned verdant
From the eight thousand captives, he liberated seven thousand
Manjhu pleaded,
“Sire, let the remaining also be free . . .”
Humayun proclaimed,
“For your each note
I released a thousand
Now sing a new note beyond the seven
And all will be liberated”
***
When shall all be free?
When will the singer deliver
the eighth note?

સંગીત

("માંડુના જંગમાં બહાદુરશાહને હરાવ્યા પછી હુમાયુંએ રાતો પોશાક પહેર્યો અને કત્લેઆમ ચલાવી.કોઈએ ગુજારિશ કરી: હજૂર,આને ન મારશો,આ તો રાજગવૈયા,મિયાં મંઝૂ! હુમાયુંએ કરડાકીથી કહ્યું: મંઝૂ, કશુંક સંભળાવ!" - મિરાતે સિકંદરી, ઈ.સ. ૧૬૧૧ )

કંઠને મોકળો કર્યો મિયાંએ, મલ્હારમાં
વૃક્ષનાં પાન થયાં સરવાં
બજવા લાગ્યાં મૃદંગ,ક્યાંક વળી જલતરંગ
ચકલીની પાંખો પહેરીને
ધૂળ ઊડી
વાદળે મારી ફૂંક
માટીની મુઠ્ઠીમાંથી અત્તર નીકળ્યું
વાતાવરણમાં ખંજન પડ્યું
હુમાયુંનો પોષાક થયો લીલોછમ્મ
તેણે આઠ હજારમાંથી સાત હજાર કેદીને મુક્ત કર્યા
મંઝૂએ અરજ કરી:
હજૂર,બાકીનાને પણ...
હુમાયું કહે:
તારા એક એક સૂર સામે
અમે હજાર હજારને આઝાદ કર્યા
હવે કશું નવું સંભળાવ
તમામને આઝાદ કરીશું
.......

ક્યારે થશે સૌ આઝાદ?
ક્યારે સંભળાવશે સંગીતકાર
આઠમો સૂર?

-ઉદયન ઠક્કર

Translated by Dileep Jhaveri
My Pretty
Fancy Dress
M/s Anandji Kalyanji

Chandni Chowk

Manisha Joshi

In the moon there are craters and mounds of mud.
There is a square piece of land too
called "Chandni Chowk."
Moonlight is unfurled across the whole chowk
and the sole inhabitant of the moon -
fair as a cotton ball -
a hare, with brown eyes,
surveys the entire land.

What is it like, to dwell on the moon?
Nothing here has weight.
Whether it slouches across the chowk
or breaks into a gym!
Here you’ll find neither green grass
nor the night’s relief.
No fear stirs, nor herds of deer timid.

There is only the breeze,
filled with light-sheets.
In the gush of howling strong winds,
this sulking two-bit of a hare,
stands transfixed,
dumbfounded and alone.
Light sheds the hair off his coat.
He is allergic
to the odour of his own fur.
He gets such sneezing fits.

Document what you will of the moon,
but presently this hare
is its sole occupant,
He is unwell at the moment.
Be it new moon
or moon of the second, third night,
all lunar phases at the moment, are amiss.

ચાંદની ચોક

ચંદ્રની અંદર ખીણો છે,માટીનાં ધાબાંઓ છે,
તેમ એક ચોક પણ છે.
નામ છે ચાંદનીચોક.
ચંદ્રનો પ્રકાશ આ ચોક પર પથરાયેલો છે.
અને ચાંદામાં રહેતું પેલું સફેદ,
રૂની પૂણી જેવું સસલું,
એની રાતી આંખોથી ચારે તરફ
આ ચોકને તાકી રહ્યું છે.
ચંદ્ર પર રહેવું એટલે શું?
અહીં કશાનું વજન નથી.
એ આ ચોકમાં લપાઈને ફરે કે કસરતો કરે!
અહીં નથી લીલું ઘાસ કે નથી રાત.
નથી કોઈ ભય કે નથી બીધેલાં હરણાંઓ.
અહીં માત્ર પવન છે.
અને એમાંયે અજવાળું છે.
જોરથી ફૂંકાતા એ પવન સામે,
આ રીસાયેલું સસલું,
એકલું અવાક ઊભું રહી જાય છે.
અજવાળું એના શરીર પરના વાળ ખેરવી નાખે છે.
પોતાના જ વાળની સુગંધની એને એલર્જી છે.
એને ખૂબ છીંકો આવે છે.
ચંદ્રનું જે કંઈપણ ગણો તે બધું જ આ સસલું,
હમણાં જરા માંદું છે.
અને બીજનો ચંદ્ર, ત્રીજનો ચંદ્ર,
ચંદ્રની બધી જ કળાઓ વ્યથિત છે.

Translated by Neeti Singh

lines for an infant who fell off a train

Mustansir Dalvi

If you could have asked your mother
for the moon, she would have plucked
it out of the night, and like Kaushalya,
trapped it for you in a than filled
with Chelpark Royal-Blue Ink.

Did the upside-down handles chitter
from the drop rails overhead,
play a metronomic rag
that brought you into the empty aisle
away from Baba's lap? Was it
the open doorway, the views
of the Parsik Hills beyond that made you
choose this moment to go walkie?

The instant that your father,
apropos of nothing, extended
a tentative hand to find lushness
swell under your mother's saree.
Like a recovered toy,

Baba became aware of Aai
as more than a partner
in the mandatory push-ups
of baby-making. She too,
looked up sharply, afraid
of the assurance of touch,

but the curling lips on the verge,
took her back a year and half.
before you stretched both her nipples
out of shape with milk teeth, before
your last few months of litany
‘Aaye! Aaye!' tugging at her pallu
to keep her attention.

Aai encountered a husband afresh,
when the train lurched
to halt at Khandeshwar.

You should have seen them then,
rubbernecking for you
in an empty compartment,
in the mindful moonlight
after you had made your giant leap.

Translated by
the Ladies Only

the Ladies Only

Mustansir Dalvi

The wooden bench is wide,
time enough to do God's work.
In the compartment, beyond
the grill from the Ladies Only,
sleepwalkers hum buzzsaw refrains.
Ten minutes to midnight. Borivali,
seven minutes away.

Adjusting for his comfort, not hers.
one open hand brings face to knee.
with the other he rips
rags that resist more than the girl.
Clothing struggles for honour
but the ardour of engagement, constraint
of time and freedom of space, overrule.
His real purpose is clear and tumescent.

Too shy to comprehend
what should have been
for a better time, a wiser time,
she gets an understanding of endurance.
Her mind-sieve senses an oozing away,
the changing of yugas.

Roused by the bumping backbeat,
unlike the train's familiar cadence.
childhood's end disrupts.

Guilt seeps through thickets of irony.
Slapping their side of the partition,

they stare, captivated by the mechanics
of dogs fucking in a busy street.

One minute to Borivali, the cleaven girl
retracts into the stillness of the catatonic,
while the one with the sense of urgency, reasons:
Come on, come on, before I lose my erection

Translated by
lines for an infant who fell off a train

STRUGGLE

Anwesha Singbal

I love to see
In the mirror,
My own face,
After a shower.
Observing those peaceful, serene facial features,
I feel ecstatic
And extremely happy.
As the day moves on,
The kitchen fumes,
The computer screen,
The sun rays on the way
Attack my facial skin.
It shrivels and scorches,
But nobody interferes
And neither do I.
A few days later,
Even after a shower,
My face
Fears to recognize itself.
And I rush
To the beauty parlour
For a makeover.
The next day,
After a shower,
Once again,
I see it bloom,
And I'm satisfied.
The wheel of the day spins again.
Laughing as it watches
This struggle of mine,
Says my soul, with a smile,
"Oh dear, do show that affection towards me,
Once in a while!"

भाग-दौड़

नहाने के बाद
आईने में
अपना चेहरा देखना
बड़ा अच्छा लगता है मुझे |
देखकर वह
शांत, प्रसन्न चेहरा,
हो जाती हूँ मैं भावविभोर,
खिल उठती हूँ मैं खुशी से |
दिनक्रम शुरू होते ही
चुल्हे के सामने,
संगणक के समक्ष,
धूप में, रास्ते पर
मेरे उस प्रसन्न चेहरे पर
होते रहते हैं हमले कईं अक्सर...
कुम्हला जाता है चेहरा मेरा, झुलस जाता है वह,
उस तरफ मगर
न मैं ध्यान देती हूँ
न ही कोई और...
कुछ दिनों पश्चात्
नहाने के बाद भी
घबरा जाता है चेहरा मेरा
कर देता है इन्कार मुझे पहचानने से |
चल देती हूँ मैं
ब्युटी पार्लर की ओर
करने मॅक ओवर...
अगले दिन नहाने के बाद
फिर एक बार
दिखने लगता है वह प्रसन्न,
मिलती है मुझे थोड़ी-सी राहत,
और फिर शुरू हो जाता है दिनक्रम |
मुझे भाग-दौड़ करते देख,
हँसते हुए,
कहता है मेरा मन,
“किया करो ना कभी-कभार,
मेरा भी ऐसे ही लाड़-प्यार”..

धडपड

न्हायनां फुडें
म्हाका म्हजे तोंड
हारश्यांत पळोवपाक
खूब आवडटा.
ते शांत, प्रसन्न
मुखामळ पळोवन,
हांव म्हज्यांतच मुरगूट्टां,
खोशी जाता.
दीस वता तसो
रांदनी मुखार,
कंप्युटरा मुखार,
वतान, रस्त्यार,
म्हज्या त्या प्रसन्न
तोंडाचेर हल्ले जायत वतात...
ते बावता, करपता,
पूण ताचे वाटेक
हांवय वचना
आनी कोणय...
कांय दिसांनी
न्हाल्या उपरांतय
म्हजे तोंड
म्हाकाच वळखूपाक भियेता.
आनी हांव धांव घेता
ब्युटी पार्लरान
मॅक ऑवर करपाक...
दुसरे दिसा न्हाल्या उपरांत
परत एक फावट
म्हाका ते प्रसन्न दिसता,
हांव धादोशी जाता,
दिसाचे चक्र परत सुरू.
म्हजी धडपड पळोवन,
म्हाका हासून,
म्हजे मन सांगता,
“आगो म्हजीय केन्नाय कर गो,
अशीच लक्तुबाय”..

Translated by Antara Bhide from Kokani to English
BLOODY THIEVES

Chicken Licken

Pratishtha Pandya

Someone’s mind
a sky
With its wings spread wide
flies across the pages of the book
Cooing amidst the milky ways of thoughts
Broad strokes of imagination
Weaving into the little sequins of words
How someone’s sky sparkles in my eyes
At midnight
Peeping from behind
The flying word formations
I see
A stranger
Belonging not to the sky
Nor to me
So much like me
And yet so separate
Neither a ghost
Nor a reflection
Nor a dream
An acorn shaped sky
Precarious
Waiting to fall
Before I
Perceive, fathom, catch, hold
It falls on my head
A cloudburst in the book!

ટાઢું ટબૂકલું
-- પ્રતિષ્ઠા પંડ્યા

એક ચોપડીમાં ફેલાવીને પાંખો
ઊડતું'તું કોઈના મનનું આકાશ
વિચારોની આકાશગંગાઓ મહીંથી ટહૂકતું'તું
વિશાલ કોઈ કલ્પનાના લસરકા
કોઈ શબ્દોની ટીલડીમાં ગૂંથતું'તું
આ મધરાતે મારી આંખમાં ચમકતું'તું
કોઈના મનનું આકાશ.
શબ્દોની ઊડતી એ રચનાઓ
પાછળ જઈ જોયું
તો ડોકાયું કોઈ અજાણ્યું
નહીં આકાશનું
નહીં મારું
મારા જેવું
ને તોય મારાથી અળગું
ના કોઈ પ્રેત
ના પ્રતિબિંબ
ના શમણું
ખરું..
ખરું..
કરતા લટકી રહેલું
એ તો હતું
એક ટાઢું ટબૂકલું!
સમજું, જાણું, ઝાલું, ઝીલું
એ પહેલાં તો
ટપ! કરતું ટપકયું માથે
ને પછી ચોપડીમાં
વાદળ વિસ્ફોટ!!

Translated by the Poet
Love letters

Chandri Villa

Anand Thakore

His name was Chandri-my grandfather once said-
Who was to live here, but died of plague. Each of us fails
In the end, but I was born in a house built for the dead:
On the red gate they hammered his name with nails.

Nineteen Nineteen. These bougainvilleas
Have grown since then; the dead leave us, leaving no trails-
Deep in the banyan-grove at Chandri Villa,
A secret sense of loss prevails.

And the very stillness of these trees carries me past an April
Long dead, newly strewn with banyan leaves; thick roots dangle
Above my head-ancient, knotted roots I cannot untangle,
Till I am a child once again though against my will,

The wide grove closing its arms as it to kill;
My veins so many banyan roots twisted into one,
And all their tangled knots come undone,
Till almost I see him – the plagued man I never will.

Translated by

Love letters

Pratishtha Pandya

He sends me oceans
In an envelope.
A desert
As far as i can see.
Dry
Arid
Blue
Oceans not roaring
but mute.
Waiting
Unblinking
Restless for waves
Oceans
turbulent and still.
He sends me
These oceans
All frozen.
Right above
He paints
A rectangle
Same big blue
And dots it with care
And clouds
White
Soft
Fake.
He sends me
skies of blue
Not a sign of a bird or two.
For the sake of it
He puts a boat
That floats
Neither near or afar.
I blow
And breathe life into the sea.
I see waves carrying signs
Sudden
Strange
Uncertain
What are these love letters you send?
Why these
Oceans of blue sand?


પ્રેમપત્તર
--પ્રતિષ્ઠા પંડ્યા
એ મને પરબીડિયામાં
દરિયાઓ મોકલે
નજરુંના અંત લગી
ફેલાતા રણ જેવા
સૂકાભઠ્ઠ
કોરાકટ્ટ
ભૂરાભટ્ટ
દરિયાઓ ઘૂઘવે ના
મૂંગામટ્ટ
એકટક માંડીને મીટ જાણે
બેઠા એ લહેરોની લાહ્યમાં
સહેજે ના ઉછળે
એવા ઉચાટમાં થીજેલા
દરિયાઓ એ મને મોકલે
દરિયાની ઉપર એ ચીતરે
એક એવું જ મોટ્ટું
ભૂરું લંબચોરસ
ને સાચવી સાચવીને
ચોરસમાં ગોઠવે
ગોરાંચટ્ટ
પોંચાંપટ્ટ
ખોટાખટ
વાદળાં
પંખીનું હોય ના
જ્યાં નામો નિશાન
એ એવા આકાશ મને મોકલે
સમ ખાવા પૂરતી
એક મૂકે એ હોડી
જે વહેતી
ના આગળ
ના પાછળ
ફૂંક મારી
કરું ચિત્તરને જીવતું
તો લહેરો સંદેશા લઇ નીકળે
અણધાર્યા
અણઉકલ્યા
અણબુઝયા
આ કેવા તું કેવા તે પ્રેમપત્તર મોકલે!
તું શાને રેતીના દરિયાઓ મોકલે?

Translated by the Poet
Chicken Licken

Vadodara-Visarjan *

Neeti Singh

i)
My dress is made of rain
my heart a hooting pair of owlets
perched atop a banyan’s hat
.
Dusk has dropped a curtain,
a mask has slipped.
Come morning you don dappled joy
in polka dots and sunshine print.
A faded pair of Levi jeans, stilts for legs,
or a climbing pair of eucalyptuses -

slender marbled limbs,
stone washed…
You strut besides the lion’s enclave
in KamatiBaug*
.
It rains.
The garden hangs its monsoon frocks –
trees, climbers, flowers, frog -
a score of puddles and sky-falls raise,
with ordinary worm and amoeba,
a stage!
ii)
With mongrels you cross the road
and enter the Arts campus at four.
It raises its dome and wags a tail.
Floral grill gates patterned to protect -
Systems ancient – keep the Faculty intact.

Free as rows of seasonal rice –
tulips and a tank of water lilies design
garlands of restless choice.
Fluttering indecisions -
pigeons pendulum from bajra to tub.
Their friends in green frocks
are content however,
to peck the soil at Shiva’s shrine.

Praised be the elephant headed God,
its Visarjan-time!

Ganesha gambols through Vadodara’s veins,
flaunting with fetish, his feet to Bolly beats,
On truck backs and tempos he rides
off for an annual dive -
his ritual fun with frogs and fish and more.

The city arteries are agog,
Throb! throb!
O elephant-headed god O!
Through narrow streets, rain-washed,
moves His cake-and-carnival walk.
Brown men in wet skin and girls in skirts that cling and cling,
they frisk and flounder, they jump they joust.
The river of joy’s a-brim!
And burst the hunger of hope.

O Vighana-harataa*, O G’pati!
Sweeper of pain and paucity!
Off with the dregs and dogs of streets,
off with beggars, the teachers,
off with paper and plastic…
and all that titters with the litter, let sink.


Learn well your lessons,
fashion yourself in buffalo-hide,
gulp down with pepsi or diet coke,
coins of complaint and ego.


Your soiled Ganapati-soul,
you hold in a bowl at city crossings.
Sometimes you curl up at railway stations,
or eat bananas on uneven sidewalks.
There are days when you even become a girl
selling lemons and gulab* and marigold.

Immersed at last
in his liquid tomb, the Ganapati
meets sunset
and a host of aquatic kin.


In the shadows of the king that rides a dark horse,
the drenched city laughs,
it burps and releases a foul smelling fart.
Drums roll back upon tide-tongues,

we dunk him so we may live.
Visarjan is our insurance to wellbeing.
***
Notes:
*Visarjan – ceremonial immersion of the idol of Lord Ganesha / Ganapati.
*Vighana-harata – slayer of vighana i.e. slayer of hurdles and difficulties.
*Gulab – a rose.
.

Translated by

Let chandrakant be crushed to pieces

Chandrakant Sheth

let chandrakant be crushed to pieces
time rusts idly in his mind
scanty sky and earth
scanty air and light and water
all these lying decayed meaninglessly
he stains the mirror of time and place
let us efface the face of chandrakant
let him be scattered
                   and be earthed in the earth
he is a grave rock
he would not be tossed by the waves
though a thousand clouds may pour
he would be a dry land.
though vortex may blow
his sail would not be unfurled.
he stays swinging weighing anchor
having gorged thousand of breaths
he incubates shadows with shuteyes,
moss is gathered around his mind
a fish is fastened to a hook for a many years.
wherever he treads
he leaves behind cracks
chandrakant will pollute air, poison water
let all his ruins be flattened as early as possible
let the place be cleaned, be free from him
in his eyes
the sun turned out perfidious
                 and the day perfidious
                 the night perfidious
let chandrakant be ploughed hurriedly
let chandrakant be flattened like a field,
let chandrakant be crushed to pieces
let chandrakant be brought to an end.


ચંદ્રકાંતનો ભાંગી ભુક્કો કરીએ
...ચંદ્રકાંત શેઠ

ચંદ્રકાંતનો ભાંગી ભુક્કો કરીએ .
એના મનમાં ખાલી સમય સડે છે .

ચપટી નભ ને ચપટી માટી ,
ચપટી વાયુ , ચપટી તેજ ,
જરા મળ્યો તે ભેજ .

                   --બધું યે વ્યર્થ બગડે છે .
                    દેશકાળને દર્પણ એના ડાઘ પડે છે :
                    ચંદ્રકાંતનો ચહેરો ભૂંસી દઈએ ;
એને વેરવિખેર કરીને આ ધરતીમાં ધરબી દઈએ .
ભારેખમ એ ખડક .

                 નથી ઊછળવાનો મોજાંથી;
વરસે વાદળ લાખ ,
                 છતાં કોરીકટ એની માટી !
વંટોળો ફૂંકાય ,

                  છતાંયે એનો સઢ ન હવા પકડતો !
                   લંગર પકડી એ તો લટક્યા કરતો !

શ્વાસ કરોડો ઢીંચી ,
પડછાયા સેવ્યા છે એણે આંખો મીંચી .

ચંદ્રકાન્તના મન પર લીલ ચડી છે ;
એક માછલી , વરસોથી , કો ગલમાં બદ્ધ પડી છે .
કેટકેટલી તરડ પડી છે ,જ્યાં જ્યાં એનાં ચરણ પડ્યાં ત્યાં !
ચન્દ્રકાન્તથી હવા બગડશે ,

                                  જલમાં ઝેર પ્રસરશે .
એનાં જે ખંડેરો _એણે ખતમ કરી દો વ્હેલાં પ્હેલાં,
એને અહીંથી સાફ કરી દો વ્હેલાં પ્હેલાં:
એની આંખે સૂર્ય પડ્યાં છે ખોટા,

                   અને ત્યારથી દિવસ પડ્યાં છે ખોટા ,
                                         ખોટી રાત પડી છે :
ચંદ્રકાન્તને ઝટપટ હળથી ભાંગી ખેતર સપાટ કરીએ ,
ચં દ્ર કા ન્ત ને ભાં ગી કા ણ ક ણ ખ લા સ ક રી એ ...

Translated by Chandrakant Topiwala

Soul Song

ABHAY K

I was always here
as blowing wind
or falling leaves
as shining sun
or flowing streams
as chirping birds
or blooming buds
as blue sky
or empty space
I was never born
I didn’t die

Translated by

Poet’s Will

Suresh Joshi

there is no tomorrow for me, perhaps,
tomorrow if the sun rises
tell him
a tear lingering to my shut eyes
is still there to be dried up.
tomorrow if the wind blows
tell him

a ripe fruit of a smile
stolen from a girl in adolescence
it still there to be dropped
from my bough

tomorrow if the sea surges
tell him
the deadly god
who is petrified in my heart
is still there to be shattered into pieces.

tomorrow if the moon rises
tell her
a struggling fish within
is
ready there to be released
by her hook

tomorrow if the fire lights up
tell him
a pyre of my pining shadow
is still there to be kindled
there is no tomorrow for me perhaps.

…..કવિનું વસિયતનામું
....સુરેશ હ. જોષી...

કદાચ હું કાલે નહિ હોઉં:
કાલે જો સૂરજ ઊગે તો કહેજો કે
મારી બિડાયેલી આંખમાં
એક આંસુ સૂકવવું બાકી છે .

કાલે જો પવન વાય તો કહેજો કે
કિશોર વયમાં એક કન્યાના
ચોરી લીધેલા સ્મિતનું પક્વ ફળ
હજી મારી ડાળી પરથી ખેરવવું બાકી છે .

કાલે સાગર છલકે તો કહેજો કે
મારા હૃદયમાં ખડક થઇ ગયેલા
કાળમીંઢ ઈશ્વરના ચૂરેચૂરા કરવા બાકી છે .

કાલે જો ચંદ્ર ઊગે તો કહેજો કે
એને આંકડે ભેરવાઈને બહાર ભાગી છૂટવા
એક મત્સ્ય હજી મારામાં તરફડે છે .

કાલે જો અગ્નિ પ્રકટે તો કહેજો કે
મારા વિરહી પડછાયાની ચિતા
હજી પ્રગટાવવી બાકી છે.
કદાચ કાલે હું નહિ હોઉં.

Translated by Chandrakant Topiwala

The Feather

Manoj Khanderia

the feather dropped from the birdwing,
comes down with the sky throbbingly.

the feather throbbingly dropped
carves some tiny forms in azure air.

the feather brim fully fills lonely courtyard
still the bird’s churping resounds in feather.

the feather sometimes floats in eyes
and heart-abiding bird come out.

the feather sinks in mysterious void of the sky
the feather dropped from the bird
is remembered by the bird.

પીંછું
.....મનોજ ખંડેરિયા

ગગન સાથ લઈ ઊતરે જે ફરકતું
વિહગ-પાંખથી જે ખરી જાય પીંછું

ફરકતું પડે ત્યારે ભૂરી હવામાં
ઝીણાં શિલ્પ કૈ કોતરી જાય પીંછું

હજી એમાં કલશોર ગુંજે વિહગનો
સૂનું આંગણું આ ભરી જાય પીંછું

હૃદયમાં વસ્યાં પંખીઓ બ્હાર આવે
કદી આંખમાં જો તારી જાય પીંછું

ગગનના અકળ શૂન્યમાં જઈ.ડૂબે, જે
વિહગને ખર્યું સાંભરી જાય પીંછું

Translated by Chandrakant Topiwala

Here you will find English translations of poems written in Gujarati –poems that will compare well with some of the best in the world.

Gujarat is a state in India, and its language, Gujarati, is spoken by about 50 million people world-wide. Gujarati has a poetic tradition of seven centuries. The subjects of Medieval Gujarati poetry were largely religion and mysticism. Social reform and national awakening were themes for the nineteenth century. If compassion for the downtrodden was reflected in the early twentieth century, in later years poetry strived for beauty for beauty's sake. The Modern poet was disillusioned with city life if not distraught.

Gujarati Poetry is rich in variety - the long narrative poem, the devotional song, the lovey-dovey ghazal, sonnets and haikus, couplets, the prose poem ...

Read on. Allow us to amaze you.