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.











Glass Bangle ( Kuppi Vala by Sugata Kumary) Poem Translation From Malayalam


Kuppi Vala( 1974, Sugata Kumary)

Glass Bangle


Listen, I have stood yearning

My eyes athirst

For red glass bangles.

Once, in my poverty stricken


In an eventide, near a small shop,

Not daring to ask,

Holding my mother’s finger tip

I had stood-

Kissing the red glass bangle

With my eyes,

As my little heart wept within.


Years passed, I walked

Long distances,

Through many paths.

In my youth, in that passionate

Ecstatic time,  in front of you

My Love,

I stretched my slim, glistening

Fair Hands

And said,’Those shining red bangles-

Will you buy them for me?’

With a smile laced with contempt

As you hurried, you mocked:

‘Glass bangles! No shame?

Are you a kid? Tch!’

My heart and my face

Both  got scorched,

Withered fast.

I became yet again,

That small child

Holding her mother’s finger tip.


How many years have

Passed since then?

White stars have come and gone!

At the end of my long journey

In the darkness of my autumn

I sit remembering

Those  red bangles.


My shrivelled hands,

Exhausted with endless


Never have they known

The redness of a glass bangle!

Never have they heard the sparkling

Laughter of one!


Still I find myself smiling.

Because, in my heart,

Few smashed glass bangles

Are scattered around;

And from the prick of a sliver

Four or five red drops

Are gathering within…



Perhaps one of the most perceptive poems  about loss that I have ever read , this  one touched me  rather deeply. How often our small yearnings are ruthlessly crushed by  the stark insensitivity of those who claim to love us.

How ironic that a woman  actually needs so little to feel truly loved. But that very innocence is derided often.  The  mockery of the ‘quixotic female mind…’ still continues…

Fenugreek Woman


Fenugreek is tough

Like a woman.

But soak it overnight with


As a woman in love

It softens beyond imagination.

Then all you need is to mash it-

It becomes a hapless white pulp

That, when used on your scalp

With a sting of lemon juice,

Can ease the most chronic dandruff,

For a while.

Woman too, mushy in love

With that sting of passion,

Serves to soothe the malicious obsession

Of certain men,

For a while.

But the day

You try to smash a dry fenugreek

Hoping for a dandruff solution,

Is the day in which

She  turns around and snarls.

Very dangerous:

Both to hair and health.







Jo Sukh Lav Satsang( 5) – Meeting great souls for a moment


( Picture courtesy Internet)

SundarKanda continued…


Masak samaan roop kapi dhari/Lankahi chalevu sumari Narhari//

Naam Lankini ek nisichari/ So kah chalesu mohi nindari//

Hanumanji assumed a tiny form( as small as a mosquito), remembering NarHari( Bhagwan in the form of human, Ramji) started off to Lanka

Lankini, the Rakshasy who resided by the main door asked him, ‘Without  asking me( disrespecting me), where are you off to?’


Janehy nahi marmu sad mora/ mor ahaar jahan lagy chora//

Muddika ek mana kapi hani/ rudhir bamath dharnim danmani//

Hey, fool! You did not recognise me? All the thieves are my food

Hanumanji hit her with his fist, she fell down on the earth, vomiting blood


Puni sambhary udi so Lanka/ jori pani kar binay sasanka//

Jab Ravanhi Brahma bar deenha/chalath biranchi kaha mohi cheenha//

Lankini somehow got up from the ground, and  fearfully folding her hands, started pleading

( She said)

After Brahmaji gave a boon to Ravana, he had told me the signs of the oncoming destruction of Rakshasas- that is..


Bikal hosi taim kapi kem mare/ tab janesu nisichar samghare//

Tat mor ati punya bahutha/ dekhevu nayan Ram kar doota//

‘When you are distressed by the hit of a vanar, know that the time of the demise of Rakshasas is imminent.’

Hey son! It is my great fortune that I am able to see SreeRamchandra’s messenger( You) with my own eyes.



Tat swarg apabarg sukh dhariya Tula ek ang/

Tul na tahi sakal mili jo sukh lav satsang//

Hey son!  Even if you place all the pleasures of heaven and moksha on one scale of a balance

It will not be equal  to the joy (kept in the second scale)  obtained by meeting great souls( satsang)  for a moment( lav aka kshan)


Jai Hauman Ki



At nineteen,

I chose my path and all it had,

Unknowing of others

With more spirit, kindness and equal strength

Who could make my journey

True and meaningful.

At eighteen,

She chooses to follow galaxies

Laughing about observations made

From my own life.


I spent a lifetime struggling-

To survive, to just be.

My hands were calloused with holding

Weapons forged in life’s hot fires;

Fighting every inch of the way.

She tells me that life is better spent

If the tides are chosen well,

To swim easily, not fighting for every breath.


At cross roads, I often stumbled

Mistaking smiles for love:

Not realising that the sharpest fangs

Are hidden in the sweetest intonations

Of welcoming companionship.

She tells me that at cross roads,

All which matters is an unfailing compass

That marks out the pole star

Of your own destiny.


At  unforgiving transitions then,

May you fare better than I did, my child.

And may my failures be

Your inspirations

For always choosing better:

Cross checking with your inner eye-

That unfailing star, unerring compass,

That Kindly light,

Showing you the Way.


The Secret Brew



As she flies, smiling, I whisper the contents of the brew into her ears:


A mighty brew:

( Cognate of Character)

Remember this now-

Moment by moment,

Day by day

Month by month

Year by year

Never letting go of your dreams

Standing tall when laughter arises from all sides,

Heedless of all  mockery but your goals

Gritting your teeth

Keep moving onwards.


Sweat of your brow

Time well used

Talents polished golden

Humility, contentment



Passion and truth

Mix in love and friendship,

(Untouched by self centred pollutants)

Breathe deep

Courage and then,


(Remember this too

When the wings are tired:

HE walks with you,

The ONE who put the dream in you-

Never doubt,