സുഗത കുമാരി ടീച്ചറുടെ ചില കവിതകൾ…
സുഗത കുമാരി ടീച്ചറുടെ ചില കവിതകൾ…
പണ്ട് കവി പാടിയത് പോലെ ചില സത്യങ്ങൾക്കു വയസ്സില്ല.
സുഗത കുമാരി ടീച്ചറുടെ ചില പഴയ കവിതകൾ കാലിക പ്രസക്തിയോടെ ഇന്നും വഴി കാട്ടുന്നു.
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!
Kuppi Vala( 1974, Sugata Kumary)
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
Through many paths.
In my youth, in that passionate
Ecstatic time, in front of you
I stretched my slim, glistening
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,
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…
Mazhayathu 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!
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.
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…
From Sugata Teacher’s Krishna Collection.
With love, on a Janmashtamy, also Teachers Day.
Who am I? Where am I rushing to, through
An unknown land,
Over such a vast road?
Strange, these unfamiliar green fields-
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?
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
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,
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
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
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.
I am surrounded by those
Who left me behind
Drowned in tears.
My sister caresses me; she had hurriedly
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)