ChumaduTangi: Burden Bearer ( Poem Translation from Malayalam)


Chumadutangi by Lakshmi Devi

( Translation from Malayalam)

The Burden Bearer:

Here, in front of the inn

Meant for wayfarers-

On this  Burden Bearer Stone,

Let me heave the bundle carried

By my weakening body till


The shoulder bone has

The greatest capacity to bear

Burden, it seems;

And Destiny again shoves

Unbearable weight onto

That today.

For a moment, I ponder

What it is that I carry, stumbling

Struggling onward,

Wrapped within the bundle.

Old sins, virtues

Or both equally divided?

Unknown it remains,

The Fate has filled up my bundle

For me to bear unquestiongly.

There is a bright lamp within,

The fragrance of camphor

As my dreams get enflamed,

The pains unabated, stirred deep

Leaving an oily drop beneath

The forbidden is inside, and the

Whiplashes for those mistakes

Committed unwittingly

The drops of tears which flowed

The red of a fresh wound

A Sun of a baby smile

The chirp of a bird, the breeze

In a shade so green…

I can no longer keep

My load on the stone

It is getting late.

Closing the inn’s door

The watchman too has

Hastened away.

The lonely road that stretches

Long, calls me quietly-

Walk on, until

You fall, losing

Your footing.

Darkness all around me-

Yet  I can listen  to those

Who are ahead of me:

‘ Move without fear!

Beyond the sooty darkness

Of this tunnel,

There might yet be light.’


In the olden days, Kings used to construct inns for wayfarers and also stones for bearing burdens. Without anyone’s help, the  heavy load on the villager’s shoulder could be heaved onto the heft of these stones.

Today, I watched again a classic  Malayalam movie called, Amritangamaya.

It is a line from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad…From death to eternal life ( Mrityoma Amritamgamaya).

In the movie,  one character was reiterating that the human shoulder bone is the strongest- designed to carry the Holy Cross of one’s life burden.

Flipping casually through an old vernacular magazine, I ended up opening the poem page where the sentence was repeated for me.

And then, I picked up a crayon, and a pen. These help in shouldering responsibilities with grace. Truly Burden bearers.










Lead Kindly Light…

Picture 123

When Maya Angelou died, J.K.Rowling apparently quoted her,” If you are always trying to be normal, how will you ever know how amazing you can be? Amazing Maya..”

That reminded me of a beautiful quote by Marianne Williamson which I happily googled:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world… ”

I reflect on the truth of that saying. ” Do not hide your light under the bushel,” the nun in the Missionary Convent taught us. At the tender age I first heard that, I imagined someone hiding a light under a dark hideout, afraid of its light. Today, after seeing a world which forces many of us into being “normal”, and “hiding the light under the bushel”, threatening us by drivel of “acceptance”, ” tradition”, ” cool quotient,” the truth of it hits me- straight between the eyes. One was born unique, and one has to be true to the light within. Hiding my light is of no use to anyone, let alone me. Fair enough.


Why is there such fear of light , metaphorically speaking, in this world? On this Halloween eve, it bemuses me to ponder thus. I also happened to read an interesting article on the Earl of Rochester, John Wilmot, a libertine poet and exceptional person (depicted by Johnny Depp in the film by the same name), who literally destroyed the unique sundial in a fit of wanton abandon. He also wrote satirical poetry, philandered a lot, tried to act cool and died in pain. But, the enigma still exists- was he a person of light, too deeply entrapped by his own darkness?

Soon came another article on the wives and girl friends of pop icons and rock and roll stars- their pains and frustrations and mostly lonely but glamorous existences. The dark side of genius, ego, ever self seeking, made mince meat of many women, who were used and discarded enroute the path of greatness.

” You look wonderful tonight,” suddenly makes me wonder on light and dark patterns of human existence.


In “The Power of Myth”,Jospeh Campbell says, ” Our life evokes our character. You find out more about yourself as you go on.That’s why it’s good to be able to put yourself in situations that will evoke your higher nature rather than your lower. “Lead us not into temptation.”

Mmmm, from Biblical quotes, to Maya Angelou, to Earl of Rochester, rock stars and is all about choosing- light or dark; within or without.

Lead Kindly Light..amidst the encircling gloom….