Varnamala : Contemporary Oriya Poetry

 
Back
Contents
Next

 
SUNIL KUMAR PRUSTI
 

THE STORY OF
A LOWER MIDDLE CLASS FAMILY IN ORISSA


1.  
Not an inch of the earth belongs to anybody  
We live in a rented house,  
have two square meals per day.  

Want is sacred like an everyday prayer  
of all the family members;  
mother worships the god most.  

The god is a calendar  
or an incomplete wooden toy.  
Be He of earth or stone,  
my sister smears him with sindoor.  

Feigning to be angry with her, father says :  
soon I am getting you married off  
Yet she builds her sand castles.  

All these things sound philosophical to me.  
God is a petty tout,  
life a semblance to a sand castle.  

I make an oratory, sharp like an arrow,  
of hunger, dream and unemployment.  
Although I am an intellectual  
my friends dub me mad.  

2.  
Father's job and preachings  
are morning and evening.  
Younger brothers are storms, cut off.  
How much of dowry for sister's marriage ?  
  

Will you have balloons, balloons,  
red like childhood ?  
Will you tuck flowers ?  
lock of your hairs in the dark night.  
Who will lie on the bier ?  

Come, children, sit on my shoulder,  
I will take you to the land of moon.  
When you are thirsty  
I will give you the water of my eyes.  
When it's night  
you will sleep with my lullabies.  

I had seen the map of Orissa  
in my school geography book.  
How good is my land !  
Can I ever forget it ?  

The family tears  
are like the breaking of the secret rains.  
Tell me, who will accompany me  
to my house for a day or two.  
Don't tell me  
that you don't like this story of mine.  
  
  
Translation :
Rabindra K Swain  

Current Bgcolor :

1