Serendipity and I, are old partners. She is as fickle as a tempestuous lover at times. She might condescend to grace one’s day or not. There is no in-between grey paths of flirtation for her sort of love. Strangely, her love is considered spiritual by some. Apparently your life path is coinciding with the original Grace’s path if the lady comes dancing across your days.
In the past few days, she has come in the form of death’s story, and the story of blindness and healing.
I had just finished Tarashanker Bandopadhyay’s ‘ ArogyaNiketan’ and had reached out to Sugata Kumary’s poetry collection, still thinking of death.
The book opened at her 1968 poem called, ” Mritiye Kanden.” As I read about the young woman in red, with yellowish hair, face downcast, and raising her sightless eyes, I froze. I could not believe it- Pingala Kesini, blind and deaf ! Pingalavarna, Pingalanetra..she of yellow hair, yellow skin, yellow eyes… When did she escape Jeevan Masai’s story and jump into Sugata teacher’s poem?And then I saw the acknowledgment below the third page- ” Story about death from Tarashanker Bandopadhyay’s Arogya Niketan.”
I bowed before lady Serendipity.
Excerpts..( translated from Malayalam)
I saw death yesterday
with my own eyes
a young woman
sitting face downcast.
Clad carelessly in red
yellow hair all wild
face down, perhaps
due to grief?
“Who are you?”
my dry lips
nay, my terror struck soul
might have questioned thus!
Did she not hear?
or she cannot, perhaps?
though I stopped her with my hand
she did not see- may be, she could not?
Then like a thick black
curtain , as darkness
started dropping all around, crying-
That face lifted and I saw
sightless white spaces!
I recognise her
stunned, she is the favourite
daughter of the Creator!
The one in whose lap
the world sleeps like a child
forgetting all sorrows,
whose compassionate cool touch
removes the agony of disease, pain
humiliation, love’s epidemic
the hundreds of unappeased dissatisfactions
of the human soul…
She went crying to her father
on a bright day of creation
” I cannot do the task allotted”
she cried in distress, folding hands:
“removing a child from a father’s lap
a beloved from her sweetheart’s arms
a son from his mother’s breast
from a woman’s devout grasp her husband..
I cannot see the gasping, broken wings
of grief; as I pull them away..”
“Go, do your divine assignment
I grant you the boon of sightlessness-
do not see anymore
the tears of the loved ones.
May you turn blind!”
Thus it was that death
returned to the harvest fields
of life on earth, blinded.
She returned another day
stumbling before her father
” I cannot hear the cries of horror
as I enter, the heart rending calls
of names of those who leave..”
Compassionate creator, he said
” May you turn deaf from now on!”
Thus it was death turned blind and deaf.
She walks, this young woman,
yellow hair wild, face downcast
not seeing tears, not hearing cries
will come and take you far, far away…