Dinner and Other Poems( Prof Veeran Kutty, Poetry Translations from Malayalam)

1. Flame of the Forest

That lone tree-

In the midst of the green valley!

Perhaps it bloomed suddenly,

Recollecting

A childhood memory:

Of being terrified at the sight of fire!

2. Word

I do not remember the day

I was born.

But the day I died

Was not like that.

It was the day

When I could not keep

The word

I had given you.

3. Haiku

Did love rain within?

Look at the sky above you

Resplendent rainbow!

4. Dinner

Apology!

I made an error

In the invitation I sent

Requesting you to come home.

Happened in my haste-

I have no home.

5. Freedom

Why bewail the withering

And falling of a leaf?

Betwixt the seperation and drop

It lives the life of a bird

For a moment

At least.

**

 

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Without Genre: Poems (By Prof Veeran Kutty, Translated From Malayalam)

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1. Easy Cooking

One can observe

From your eyes:

Passionate love

Burning;

Intense yet controlled.

Yes, that is evident

Even in your wary smile.

Consequently one can conclude

That your life

Would be getting perfectly

Cooked.

Agree?

**

2.  Hope

The earth, which

We have damaged,

Is being steadily repaired:

The flowers  by their fragrance

The tender leaves by their colours,

The fruits by their sweetness.

The rain washes and

The wind wipes clean.

Have you ever seen the sunshine

Rest awhile?

Always in a hurry to

Dry and store

For the morrow.

**

3. Exchange

You extended your hand

Towards me,

While

Standing deep in the night.

I was entrenched in the day

Then.

It was reminiscent of the episode-

When you offered your kiss

Standing on a mountain top,

And I received it

By a sea- shore.

**

4. You and Me

I bloomed forth

Ecstatically,

On hearing your words

Which was spoken in my dream.

What of it, anyway?

I shrivelled up

With

One word

Which you left unpsoken

When we met.

Didn’t I ?

**

5. The Search

‘Where are you?’

Even as I asked,

The Tree

Pointed to all four directions

And cast me into utter puzzlement.

Perhaps

On knowing that

I was searching for you,

The guiding stars ahead,

Resignedly let go of

Their responsibility

And trailed behind me.

The wind twirled me into bewilderment.

And finally,

When I reached the edge

Of the ocean

With a rising scream on my lips,

It snarled back:

The thousand tongues,

Asking me all at once,

Where you had gone?

**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Miles To Go…

http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/9dyR9hntWhTRqu7AgqDipK/So-what-if-they-didnt-win-the-Booker.html

‘So what if they didn’t win the Booker?’ Article in Livemint on some of the best books out there.

Yayyyyy! K. R Meera’s ‘The Poison of Love’ is featured in that list.

DSC South Asian Literature longlist, Bangalore Lit Fest- Atta Galatta short list…

Yours Truly celebrates as the translator.

God works in miraculous ways!

**

 

Poems of Pain : Prof VeeranKutty ( Translation from Malayalam)

  1.  Your Life

The plant that has grown

Over your burial site,

Is resplendent with flowers!

I cannot believe

That you went back

With so many love- secrets.

**

2. Forgetfulness

The Secret which I kept

For your ears

Was lifted away by the breeze.

Wonder on which branch

It has kept it dangling!

In what fire has it got scorched?

Where is the earth,

Which has buried it deep?

What was the secret

That I had kept for

Your ears?

Well, now it seems

You will have to remind me

Of it

Yourself.

**

3. Confrontation

I cannot bear to look

At that emptiness

That was left behind,

When you went away.

How am I supposed

To confront

The void

Which is growing

To your proportions

Over there?

**

4. Unspoken

I might die

In the contraction and dilation

Caused

By the word

That you left unspoken-

Even when  life

Was  being snuffed out of you.

**

5. Loveless

Without love,

The body becomes

The most unyielding tree

Ever.

Though the lips may struggle to sculpt,

It simply does not oblige:

Refuses to transform into an idol.

**

 

 

 

Neypayasam: Madhavi Kutty ( Story Translation from Malayalam ) Part 2

Was it likely that the children had slept? Had they eaten something? Had they cried themselves to sleep? They were not mature enough to grieve. Or would Unni have stood staring when he had hurriedly carried her into the taxi? The little one had cried, because he insisted on boarding the taxi too. He had not comprehended the meaning of death.

Had he known himself? No. Had he ever suspected that she- always present in that house- would one day drop dead on the ground?  That too without bidding farewell to anyone?

He had peeped through the kitchen window when he had returned from the office. She was not there. The sounds of the children playing had risen from the courtyard. Unni was yelling, ‘ First class shot!’

He had opened the front door with his key. Then he had caught sight of her. She was lying  sideways, with her mouth slightly open. He had assumed that she had fallen unconscious due to dizziness. But the doctor had given the verdict at the hospital :

‘ Heart attack. She has been dead the past one hour or so.’

A deluge of emotions had engulfed him. He had felt unreasonably angry at her. How could she have just left like that, leaving all the responsibilities on his shoulders? Who would give bath to the kids now? Who would make them snacks? Who would take care of them when they fell sick?

‘My wife is dead,’ he  had murmured to himself. ‘ Because of the unexpected demise of my wife due to heart attack today, I request for two days leave.’ What a fine leave application that would be! It was not stating that his wife was sick; instead, it said that she was dead!

Perhaps his boss might call him to his cabin. ‘ My deepest condolences!’ He might say. Ha! His condolences, indeed! He had never known her. Her hair that curled at the tips, her tremulous smile, the soft gait… the boss had known nothing! Those were his losses….his alone.

When the door opened, the youngest child came scampering to him.

‘ Amma has not returned,’ he chirped.

How was it possible that they had forgotten everything so soon? Did he expect the body carried into that taxi, to return by itself?

He walked towards the kitchen, holding his son’s tiny hand.

‘ Unni!’ He called. Unni, got up from the cot and went to him.

‘ Balan slept off…’

‘ Hmm… did you all eat anything?’

‘ No…’

He removed the lids from the vessels kept on the kitchen ledge. The food that she had prepared for them: chappati, rice, potato curry, upperi, curd, and then Neypayasam-that she made occasionally for the kids- inside a crystal bowl.

Food that had been touched by death! No, they should not eat that!

‘ I shall make some upma, these have grown cold…’, he said.

‘ Accha..’, Unni spoke, ‘ When is Amma going to come back? Has she not recovered yet?’

‘May the truth have the patience to wait for a day at least’, he  brooded deep. What would be the purpose in hurting the child that night?

‘ Amma will come…’, he replied.

He washed two bowls and kept them on the ground.

‘ Let Balan sleep. Do not wake him up,’ he said.

‘ Accha…Neypayasam!’ the youngest said, and dipped his forefinger into the bowl.

He sat down heavily on the wooden block that his wife had used.

‘ Unni, can you serve? Acchan is feeeling unwell…a headache…’

Let them have the food. The food prepared by their mother- they would never be able to eat that again.

The children started eating the Payasam. He sat dumb struck, staring at that scene. After a while, he queried:

‘ Don’t you want rice, Unni?’

‘ No, the Payasam will do…it is very delicious!’

The youngest child smiled, ‘ Yes…Amma made yummy Neypayasam…’

He got up swiftly and hurried to the bathroom. He wanted to hide his tears from them.

***

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neypayasam: Madhavi Kutty, (Story Translation from Malayalam)Part-1

(Neypayasam: A traditional sweet dish of Kerala made of jaggery, clarified butter, rice, raisins, cashew et al)

We shall call that man ‘ Acchan’ ( *Father): the one who has  somehow organised the funeral rites at minimal costs and has shown deferential gratitude to his work- colleagues, before wearily starting for his home at night. The reason behind that nomenclature is because, in that town, only three children recognise his true worth. And they call him, ‘ Acchan.’

Seated amongst strangers in the bus, he started segregating every single moment of that singular day.

He had woken up on hearing her voice.

‘ It is Monday! Unni, get up now! Do not burrow under the sheets!’ She was waking up their eldest son. Dressed in her white sari- that had seen better days-she had then started working in the kitchen. She had come to him with a huge tumbler full of coffee. Then, then…what had happened then? Had she mentioned something memorable to him?  Even after he pondered for long, he could not recollect  a single word of what she had spoken afterwards. ‘ It is Monday! Do not burrow under the sheets!’ That lone sentence reverberated in his memory. He murmured the words, as if they were part of the Lord’s name. He felt that his loss would become irreparable if he forgot that sentence.

She had packed  aluminium tiffin boxes with snacks, for the  children’s school recess. He had noticed the stain of turmeric on her right hand then. The children had joined him in the morning as he started for office-they had gone to town together.

He had not thought about her- not even once- at  his office. They had married after a year long love affair. Their families had not cooperated at all. Yet, they both had never regretted their decision. Of course, there had been hardships that had often exhausted them :the frequent bouts of illness which haunted their young children, and the precarious finances… She had slowly lost interest in dressing up. He had lost his capacity for bursting into a hearty laugh.

But they had loved each other. They also loved their three children. Three sons. They were aged ten, seven and five; and their faces were never clean. They were ordinary kids with nothing outstanding about them- either in beauty or intelligence.

Yet their parents often boasted about them:

‘ Unni is all set to be an engineer. He is always creating something or the other…’

‘ Balan- we should make him a doctor! Look at that intelligent forehead!’

‘Rajah is not even scared of the dark! He is very smart! He might join the army…’

Their residence was in that part of the town where the middle class lived. A flat with three rooms on the first floor of a building. A small verandah- where two people could just about stand together- abutted one room. A rose plant grew in a small flower pot in that space; Amma taking care of it meticulously. However, it had not bloomed till date.

On the kitchen wall hung various implements- spoons and their ilk. Near the stove was a worn out block of wood which Amma had used as a seat. She would be typically making chappatis, seated on the block, when Acchan returned from work.

He disembarked when the bus stopped. He felt a sudden flare of pain at one of his knees. Would it be the starting of rheumatism? If he were to fall sick, who would take care of the children? His eyes welled up suddenly. Wiping his tears with a rather soiled handkerchief, he quickly made his way home.

Would the children be sleeping? Have they eaten something? ( TO BE CONTINUED)

Namah Tulsi Kalyani…

The AttaGalatta -Bangalore Lit Fest, Book Prize 2017 has announced the short list.

THE FICTION SHORT LIST

Anees Salim for This Small Town Sea
Penguin Random House

Arundhati Roy for The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
Penguin Random House

S.L Bhyrappa for Saakshi
Niyogi

K.R Meera for The Poison of Love
Penguin Random House

**

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Tulsi epitomises the blindness of passion. The sort that we typically associate with the gopikas of Vrindavan. Such obsessive love sees only the idol of worship: breathing him in, dreaming of him always, worshipping him with body, mind and soul.

The loved one is soon bored of such a love. He gets it from every single woman he courts. He loves a hunt and a chase. He values the woman who holds herself back, and taunts him with her haughtiness. Ah, that means she is covetable. If others too covet her affection, that makes her all the more invaluable a prize!

Tulsi is bereft of the tricks of love. She has been invited into love by a Player-God!

What happens when such a love is thwarted and treated with disdain and complacency? What happens when you desecrate what is sacred? And tell her that the  actual pursuit is of another woman, who is ‘ extra ordinary’, and ‘ not like her.’

Is it a tale which rings true only in the precincts of myth? Or do we see such on a regular scale?

The story of the worshipped  – both male and female-who use their powers of attraction for ticking off a virtual ‘ I got her/him  crawling on the knees list’, and then ticking another ‘ Now I am bored with her/him for overwhelming me list’ is playing around us all the time.

You occasionally draw blood with such games. It happens when what was once love, curdles into something frighteningly deadly.

The basil , Tulsi being its cognate, happens to be one herb which would never rot or stink when it dries up. Instead, it remains fragrant, and slowly fritters away, bit by bit.

There is something divine about Tulsi. And her love.

**