Minda Praani by Veeran Kutty (Poetry Translation from Malayalam)

 

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“Minda-Praani” , a poem by  Prof. Veeran Kutty

(  This poem won the Kerala Sahitya Academy Award recently)

***************************

Translation from Malayalam:

Dumb Beast

It is very convenient-

The assurance,

That the Dead shall not rise again.

Treat them with utmost disregard,

They will not raise a whimper.

 

That guy in the mortuary,

Who cracks open the skull

With a hammer,

He gives a damn

That it was once a man.

The lad in the stone quarry,

Will display more care and compassion.

 

Inside the gaping stomach,

Brains, liver and the ilk are dumped

Before the sewing: a sight to watch!

School kids will stitch up a torn ball

Better than that.

Anyone, can commit any atrocity,

On those bereft of refuge, right?

 

The House of the Dead

Can be identified by the tent

In the front yard.

Someone will drag an old, greying tarpaulin,

Someone else will stretch it haphazardly:

The edges and corners all awry.

The  effrontery is because

The one to take umbrage has left.

The  play tents made by kids will have more finesse.

 

It was  his last chance to lie

Decked up

That was snuffed out with two white drapes.

How resplendent he was during his wedding!

 

Never would a guest feel unwelcome in his home,

A  more generous host was hard to find.

What of it, anyway?

Those who came to see him for the last time

Were offered neither a seat

Nor a drop of water.

 

While digging the grave, why was there

No space  left for him

To turn on his side at least?

Who knows how long he has to be in there?

 

However,

The relief that he has finally departed

Shall be celebrated by serving payasam*,

During the Feast for the Dead.

 

Everyone is busy competing

In his name,

To do all that he abhorred.

No wonder then,

That the Dead never return.

***

Payasam: a special sweet gruel made of milk, jaggery or semolina, cashew nuts, raisins et al.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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