കാത്യയും മറ്റു കവിതകളും

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സുഗത കുമാരി ടീച്ചറുടെ ചില കവിതകൾ…

“സത്യത്തിനെത്ര വയസ്സായി?”

kennedy

പണ്ട് കവി പാടിയത് പോലെ ചില സത്യങ്ങൾക്കു വയസ്സില്ല.
സുഗത കുമാരി ടീച്ചറുടെ ചില പഴയ കവിതകൾ കാലിക പ്രസക്തിയോടെ ഇന്നും വഴി കാട്ടുന്നു.

നാലു കവിതകൾ…
ഗാന്ധിജിയെ കുറിച്ച് ” മറക്കാതിരിക്കട്ടേ” (1969 ),
അധികാര ദുർമ്മോഹങ്ങളുടെ അധഃപതനം എന്നും പഠിപ്പിച്ച ഷെല്ലിയുടെ “Ozymandias” ഇന്റെ വിവർത്തനം (1964) ,
പെൺകുട്ടികൾ നേരിടുന്ന ചൂഷണത്തെ, അവർക്ക് പഠിക്കാൻ അവസരങ്ങൾ കൊടുക്കേണ്ടതിനെ പറ്റിയെഴുതിയ ‘സാരേ ജഹാൻ സെ അച്ഛാ’ (1986),
മരങ്ങളെ സ്നേഹിക്കുന്നതിനെ കുറിച്ചെഴുതിയ , പ്രകൃതി ക്ഷോഭത്തെ പറ്റി പണ്ടേ ധ്വനിപ്പിച്ച ” മരത്തിനു സ്തുതി” (1980).

കവിതയെ ബഹുമാനിക്കാൻ പഠിപ്പിച്ച എൻ്റെ പ്രിയപ്പെട്ട സ്കൂൾ/കോളേജ് അധ്യാപകർക്ക് നന്ദി. ജീവിതത്തിൽ പലപ്പോഴും ശക്തി നൽകിയ, ഒരു “survival tool” കൂടിയായി മാറിയ പാഠമാണത്.

Let us bow before our mother tongues in the International Year of Indigenous Languages….

മധുരമാമെൻ മാതൃഭാഷയ്ക്കു പ്രണാമം!

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

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Kuppi Vala( 1974, Sugata Kumary)

Glass Bangle

***

Listen, I have stood yearning

My eyes athirst

For red glass bangles.

Once, in my poverty stricken

Childhood

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

Toil,

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…

****

Note:

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…

A Little Child,In The Rain(Poetry Translation)

 

imageMazhayathu Cheriya Kutty

( Sugata Kumary, Mathrubhumi Weekly, May 29-June 4, 2016)

A little child sits on the porch steps-

Watching the approaching rain

The rain and sunshine fork hands, laughing

Start playing, as the wind arrives!

The sunshine vanishes, dried leaves

Are afloat, everywhere.

Plants dance, drenched in rain

Flowers droop,  touched by rain

The little child watches,

Wide-Eyed at it all.

The rain turns harsh, a small stream flows,

Through the front of the house

And on it floats bubbles,rainbows and flowers

The little child playfully wets her

Little feet, anklets- clad in the stream

Innocently, tears her book page by page

And watches them float too-

Then she ships her red pencil too along,

In glee, laughing, claps her hands

Then  suddenly the laughter stops!

Look,

A tiny ant struggling in the rain water stream,

Oh, poor thing!

She offers the flower tip of her beautiful finger,

And helping it up, scolds it,

‘Do not dare to bite me now!’

And then she lets it go.

Another floats near, she helps that

One out too- but then there are many more behind,

What is she supposed to do?

She steps out into the rain

Picks up a  ripe jack fruit leaf

Helps all of those stranded ants up onto it,

The rain is heavy, the wind growls

And hundreds of ants arriving-

She feels tears coming too!

Her little dress is drenched,

Plait undone and  her charming face

Covered with rain  drops and tears-

She is crouching, saving the drowning ants

Her two tiny hands, working hard.

” Where is my child?” Amma calls from within,

Though she hears it, she stands in that rain-

Weeping , staring aghast at the hundreds of ants

Bobbing up and down desperately;

The little Jack fruit leaf slips down from her hand,

Floats along too, in the stream …

 

Seventy decades and seven years have run past,

A thousand rains have come and gone-

Every time in rows, the ants struggle their way

And return to the sea.

The little child still stands there,

Drenched in rain, bewildered.

***

 

 

Mritiye Kannal Kanden / Having Seen Death With My Eyes (Sugata Kumary)

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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

it seems..

” 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

tears running..

” 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…

**********

Thirichariyal aka Recognition, Sugata Kumary Translation

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From Sugata Teacher’s Krishna Collection.

With love, on a Janmashtamy, also Teachers Day.

***

Thirichariyal(1988)\ Recognition

Who am I? Where am I rushing to, through

An unknown land,

Over such a vast road?

Strange, these unfamiliar green fields-

Barley? Maize?

The orchards, what are these full of?

Blue fruits, unknown to me.

Over there, I see sheep,

Near that field,

An old farmer atop his horse.

The bus stops by the wayside

Many get down to quench the thirst.

Underneath that nameless tree, small seating places

The sunlight intensifies, thirst harrows me

I get down , and stand all alone near the tree.

A young village girl offers red liquid

She is dressed in strange grabs, I do not know

If she is serving wine or grape juice

As I request for water, she shrugs , not understanding.

A blue eyed poet sits and sings, with a full tumbler

What is he singing about?

Love? Death?

The language,I do not know.

I do not recognise the bird chirping

On this sunlit tree branch either!

Machines rumbling across far off fields

Who am I ? What am I doing here?

A sudden depressing loneliness engulfs me

I do not recognise the language, not the bird chatter

Nor the tree murmurs, strangers all around,

An intense , vast, unknown landscape-

Surrounds me, starts to pull me down

With terror, scary darkness that grows within

As it turns into pain, tiredness

Strangulating me-

As I sink to the ground, letting go…

Suddenly I hear

A sweet flute music!

As I open my eyes in wonder

My eyes fall on a young lad

Clambering down the hill!

Dark skinned,dusty long hair

Touching his shoulders:

A bird feather tucked into it,

He is joyously , playfully bounding down!

Around his neck, an amulet shaped like a bell,

A stick to drive the sheep in hand

Curly hair springing all around his forehead!

Through his open shirt, I see

A sun, tattooed on his chest!

He stands so nonchalantly near me,

Drinks from his leather pouch

Strapped across his shoulders.

Turns to look at me

Stranger in a different garb

In that clime

Throws an open, sweet smile my way.

My body cools with exhilaration,

My child,

Your smile showers flowers across my forehead!

I return his smile, my heart blossoms-

You came all this way, only for my sake!

Though your eyes shimmer green,

Though the feather is of a white dove

Though your chest is tattooed

Though you are with sheep,

I recognise you!!

Because of your flute tucked by your waist,

The way in which you sipped your drink, wiped your lips

And turned to cast a glance at me

In the way you then ran off, whistling loudly

Scampering merrily away!

Gently, someone touches my shoulder

As I turn, the young girl stands behind me

Offering water.

As I drink it with gratitude,

The sorrow in the poet’s tune

Becomes two hands folded up high

In faith and devotion!

I recognise that I am never  really alone

Anywhere in the world !

This strange land, suddenly

Becomes mine.

***********

Not Alone ( Thanichalla) Sugata Kumary Poem

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Temerity means well, excessive confidence, a sort of effrontery. Hope dear Sugata Kumary teacher forgives me for the temerity of doing a translation. The sort of precious feelings her lines evoke, I could not help it actually.

Thanichalla ( Not alone)

In the moist darkness of the rain’s aftermath,

In that faint shimmering light

I sit alone,

In the shadow of the even tide.

 

Alone?

I am surrounded by those

Who left me behind

Drowned in tears.

My sister caresses  me; she had hurriedly

Gone away

Just the other day.

Nearby stands my young brother,

With his smile that never sets.

My beloved holds onto my hand,

Promising to never let go.

My  little son comes scampering

And sits on my lap; and

My mother drops a kiss on my forehead.

My father hums a tune, besides me.

My mentors, place their hands on my head.

My friends, who have long left, look on and smile.

 

Magnificent as the roar of the sea,

Their dear voices and the touches

That I recognize seamlessly.

In this cool twilight,

As they entwine my heart and soul;

In this blistering twilight,

Which burns me with loneliness;

Without tears, without parting

I sit next to them, touching them.

(Mathrubhumi, May 17, 2015)