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Month: August 2013

Loneliness

Loneliness

Self-Portrait
 
Sunless morn
two cups of tea
Loneliness pours one on its own.
 
The month of November
Loneliness drops from above
Snow shower!
 
I make eggs 
whisk well, and pour in a hot pan
Loneliness coagulates.
 
I go out for a run
Loneliness follows
Sometimes I win, sometimes, you guess'd right, that one.
 
I make curry
Chop, chop, stir, stir
Spicy spicy Loneliness.
 
I begin to clean and broom
Smart loneliness!
Escapes my old vacuum.
 
We go out for a get-together
Jokes are shared, silly ones
We laugh, Loneliness laughs harder.
 
I plant a seed
Loneliness flowers
within three weeks.
 
I begin to paint
Behind every structure a shadow quaint
Loneliness.
 
I drive to the mall
Loneliness races with me
Totally uncalled.
 
Family time
warmth flows
Loneliness sulks.
 
You kiss me
the sweetest nectar
I look around, nowhere to be found
Loneliness.
 
But I know very well
it is a keeper
Not a betrayer
Loneliness.
 
(How does one feel migrating to a new country/culture/world? Part of the diaspora, this poem is my jottings of the experience. Of migrating from India to Canada)
 
The sketch is done with pencil on a  9″x11″ hot pressed paper. Never did a self portrait ever. I found it too narcissistic. If there is any such thing as that. Too, I mean. I wanted to do some artwork with this autobiographical poem and could come up with nothing better than a self portrait. In my defense most of the other artistic activities are self-congratulatory. So I thought why not? I almost scratched my head while filling in hair. How quirky is that? How deeply can one be aware of drawing one's own self? At the same time, mostly, when I was unaware, it just felt like drawing the 'other'.The sketch is not up to the mark, which poses the question of how faithfully can we do self portrayal in the first place?
 
 
My Fatigue Goes Away

My Fatigue Goes Away

Persuaded by a dear friend, I recently translated a few Hindi poems in English and somewhere along the line started enjoying it. In keeping with that mood, here’s my translation of Ram Avtar Tyagi’s ‘मेरी थकन उतर जाती है‘ . Born in March 1925, in Moradabad district (tehsil Sambhal) of the state of Uttar Pradesh in India, he was a post graduate from Delhi University. Famous progressive Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar believes that Tyagi’s poetry is a testimony of new experiments in the Hindi language in terms of idioms, phrases and the so-called new age lexicon of the time. First the original, followed by the translation.

मेरी थकन उतर जाती है

हारे थके मुसाफिर के चरणों को धोकर पी लेने से
मैंने अक्सर यह देखा है मेरी थकन उतर जाती है ।

कोई ठोकर लगी अचानक
जब-जब चला सावधानी से
पर बेहोशी में मंजिल तक
जा पहुँचा हूँ आसानी से
रोने वाले के अधरों पर अपनी मुरली धर देने से
मैंने अक्सर यह देखा है, मेरी तृष्णा मर जाती है ।

प्यासे अधरों के बिन परसे,
पुण्य नहीं मिलता पानी को
याचक का आशीष लिये बिन
स्वर्ग नहीं मिलता दानी को
खाली पात्र किसी का अपनी प्यास बुझा कर भर देने से
मैंने अक्सर यह देखा है मेरी गागर भर जाती है ।

लालच दिया मुक्ति का जिसने
वह ईश्वर पूजना नहीं है
बन कर वेदमंत्र-सा मुझको
मंदिर में गूँजना नहीं है
संकटग्रस्त किसी नाविक को निज पतवार थमा देने से
मैंने अक्सर यह देखा है मेरी नौका तर जाती है ।

– रामावतार त्यागी

My fatigue goes away

 

Drinking the feet-washed water of a down and tired traveler,

I have often seen, makes my fatigue go away.

 

I abruptly stumbled
each time I walked carefully

but in unconsciousness
reached destination effortlessly.

Placing a flute on the lips of a crier,

I have often seen, makes my desire perish away.

 

Water does not achieve holiness
until touched by thirsty lips,

Without the blessings of a beggar

the alms-giver finds no heavenly bliss

Quenching one’s own thirst and filling someone’s empty dish with water,

I have often seen, makes my pot brim away.

 

The one who tempts to offer freedom

such a God needs no praise

To be a Veda mantra

reverberating in temples, I do not crave.

Giving one’s oars to an endangered mariner,

I have often seen, makes my boat sail away.