Back  I  Portal  I

Narayan Surve

My Mother

When the stars go off
Tall chimney-sirens sound
Daily with fast steps
Marching to the mill
Who looked backwards
And told us so lovingly
    "Do not fight with anyone"
          Gave us two pice
On the day before Dasara
She went with five of us
To see the festival
We bantered in the lanes
What a great pleasure
Beyond words
We returned with balloons
And whistles and pipes
           We became birds

What happened of one day
They brought her in a cart
Her eyes were open
Blood gushed from her mouth
Her partner saluted
Came near, caressed us and said 'Balu'
We saw mutely everything
We searched our umbrella
           Our roof, our mother.

That night we five
Stuck closer and
Wrapped up to the coverlet
Taking it to be mother's affection
Already we had nothing
Now there was even no mother
We awake all night
letting tears
         Now we became fully unattached.

Translated by Prabhakar Machwe

This Is The Story Of The Day Nehru Died

Houses warming up their backs suddenly cackled
How the city grew crude !
Then the darkness swallowed a ruby.

Factories in their gowns of stone
Sank deep in thought, lighting their cigars
They all returned with their sodden shirts
Flung across their shoulders,
To their hovels.

"What happened, Sundari?" asks a harlot
"Don't burn the incense today, Nehru's gone !"
Answers the other.
"Really? O.K. then we'll take a night off !!"

The world that bears a burden
Relaxes awful, silent.

Man pushing a handcart with a paper lantern
I stop him and ask,
"Why carry the light now, mate?"
"Why mister !
It's pitch dark ahead" he said.

This is the story of the day Nehru died
This is the story of the day Nehru died.

Translated by Dilip Chitre


Visualized by MetaNym