The Path To You and Other Poems (Prof.Veeran Kutty, Translation from Malayalam)

IMG_2119

1. The Path To You

I was searching for your footsteps

By the sea shore.

Footsteps over footsteps-

A veritable ocean of footsteps!

Yet I discerned the way

To you-

By trailing the lotus buds

Blooming unseen therein.

**

2. Death

No words exist

In the universe

Except that one.

The rest  of the words

Are elaborations

Or opposites

Or synonyms.

Some astounded at it,

Some rueing.

Dictionaries grow thicker

Trying to describe it.

Poems fail at the task.

One day,

The word meaning

Resounding

From it

Shall have to be answered

By each of us.

Who can speak it out?

So we demonstrate it.

One day,

I too shall try it out-

Wonder if it will work!

**

3. Wings

Have you ever watched

Girls clapping their hands

Delightedly?

Using their hands to fan themselves?

Wringing their hands?

You can see those hands recollect

Having been Wings

Once upon a time!

When did those feathers

Start withering away?

The wing letting go, and

Cut off from flight,

Dropping on earth –

As a mere crawler?

I wish to see her

Making the festival flag

Fly high with the resounding

Applause

Emerging from her hands

Akin to bursting of crackers!

I want to see her

Turn into that ancient, magnificent

Flying creature,

Which converts every  stumble and fall

Into speed and movement.

**

4. A Plea

Did you know

When you were

Uprooting it

That  the Touch-me-not plant

Was pleading silently

With folded hands

‘ Please desist,’ and that

It was speaking

For the Earth herself?

**

5. Dance

As you thread the needle,

As you tie the laces,

When you plait your hair…

The way your fingers dance!

I swear

I have never seen anything

So beautiful till now.

**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Poems of Sagacity : Prof Veerankutty,(Translation from Malayalam)

IMG_2098

1. For You

**

It is good,

That God  has kept

My mind

In an unseen place.

Even you  won’t be able to discern,

The love I have,

( For you, dearest)

Which is hidden inside it.

**

2. On Aging

**

On aging,

My words shall not

Regret painfully-

That they have to

Recline forever

Inside

A dictionary.

After all,

The memory of having spent

Their youth

Indulging in poems

( About you, dearest)

Is constantly with them.

**

3. Till The World Ends

**

Language was drawing

Its very last life- breath.

Then

Someone whispered,

‘ I love you.’

And  the heart beat

Started again.

The heels pulsed with

Energy,

To leap

Till the world’s end.

**

4. Dying

**

Dying

Is like the parting of ways

After a  lover’s tiff:

Shall never disclose

Where it is headed for.

**

5.  The Secret

**

What the Rain was shy to reveal,

Was written  down by the Lightning.

But Thunder turned out

To be a tactless confidante!

Blurted it all,

Noisily

To everyone.

**

6.  With God

No lightning flash,

Or any lit lamp,

Hereabouts.

Then from where

Has this light arisen?

Look-

When no one is around,

An infant in the cradle

Is gleefully playing

With God!

**

7. The Fence

**

Behold!

The thorny fence

Has sprouted flowers:

Much loftier

Than all the  hate-filled sounds

We made

Over that border!

**

8.  Love-Grape

How bitterly

You rued

The day when you

Got a pimple

On your face!

I longingly looked on,

As sweetness welled within,

At that

Love- grape

Ripened by God.

**

9. Visit

**

Like sunshine  falling on water

You entered my life.

Like the dew drop on a leaf

You left me behind too.

Yet I am grateful to you-

For those few moments of togetherness:

When you made our embrace,

Look like pure crystal.

**

10. Corrigendum

**

What I had perceived

While staring at the darkness

Turned to be all lies.

The light

Revealed the truth.

**

 

 

 

Virunninu Munpu : Before the Dinner ( Story by Madhavi Kutty, Translation from Malayalam)

IMG_2047

Before the Dinner: Virunninu Munpu

Madhavi Kutty, 1961

That day too, they were getting ready for a dinner party. He felt that in their lives, the posturing before the mirror, and the careful checking of the face, were like the oft repeated chorus of a song. These occurred frequently and never changed their nature. The way she sat,  the way she combed her hair, the way she would ask stupid questions without turning to look at him…

She pinned up her hair and went to the bathroom to wash her hands.

“Which sari should I wear ?” She asked,  “Mohan, just decide finally and tell me…Blue or white?”

“White,” he muttered.

“But I have worn it for Mitra’s party last month. And we cannot rule out the same crowd from being there tonight… “, she said.

He straightened the knot of his tie and pulled on his white coat. Pursing his lips together, he walked away to the verandah.

“Oh, have you finished dressing so fast? I am just about to start…”, she called out.

Pulling a chair near the iron bars of the  balcony , he seated himself. The gardener was trimming the henna shrubs of their neighbour’s garden patch using huge scissors.

“Mohan!” The young woman called from inside the house.

“What is it?”

“I have a  feeling that those people would be there too for the party tonight.”

“What people?”

“Those people staying above us…”

“Hmm..”

“I heard the sound of the stitching machine in the morning! She must have been stitching her blouse for the party! What is the need for such miserliness? As if there are no good tailors in Calcutta!”

“Hmm…”

“Yet she goes out wearing such ugly blouses! I feel such pity for her husband…Mohan, are you listening?”

“Yes…”

She appeared in the verandah momentarily , looked at him, and then vanished immediately. Her face was caked with rouge and face powder. He felt that it was the face of a cheap doll. He lighted a cigarette.

“She is so proud about the fact that she writes poetry! ‘ I am a poetess, why do I need beauty? ‘ That is her attitude! Now that infuriates me!  Even if she is not fair, if she carefully works on her  make up, she might escape being utterly plain…But..”

“Even if  she does not carefully work on her makeup, I find her beautiful,” he replied.

She appeared outside yet again; this time with a smile.

“Oh, Mohan! Now you are trying to vex me, aren’t you dear? No one can ever think that she is beautiful! Beauty indeed! Haha…”

He stared  for a few moments ,emotionless, at his wife’s  face and thin frame wrapped in white silk. Then for  some reason, he too started laughing.

“I am looking fine, right? There isn’t too much face powder on my face, is it?” She asked.

He made agreeable movements of his head.

“I get mad when I see her vanity,” She waxed on.

“Vanity? Where did she show off her vanity?” He queried.

“Imagine! You have never seen that? Lord, men are such fools! Haven’t you seen her walk?  The way she holds her head high, never looking down at the ground for  a moment?  Then that lopsided smile!  Her various  conceited  affectations…I feel so…”

“It is seven thirty now,” He said, getting up from his chair, “We have not yet attained the stature  for reaching late at cocktail parties.”

She trilled with fake laughter. Then turning on her heels, she went inside their bedroom.

He heard the  tremulous sound of a top whirling from the flat above theirs. It was followed by children’s laughter. He raised his eyes upwards. He wished that she was standing there- leaning against the iron bars of her verandah. What would happen? She might smile at him once. She might query whether his wife was hearty. Were these of any significance?

With a fury that had no obvious cause, he stamped at a flower pot with his shoe clad foot. All the flower pots on their verandah were full of thorny plants.

“I am ready!” His wife announced. She held a vanity bag of silvery satin in her hand.

“What happened to you ?” She asked,”You look so pale!”

He sat down heavily in the chair and looked down; his forehead was ensconced in his hands.

“What happened Mohan?” She asked again. He was extremely irritated by the thick fumes of her heavy perfume.

Without lifting his head he replied, “Please let me sit here   for a while. I don’t feel like going anywhere today.”

“What do you mean?” Her voice became sharp, “Not going to the party after committing? You have forgotten all basic manners! You are absolutely fine!  I know that. Get up now! Let us leave- it is quarter to eight now.”

The children staying in the flat above them, were still playing with the top: pulling at the thread. That sound rose like a sliver of excruciating pain and then thrummed within his heart.

“I am not going anywhere,” he announced.

“How childish you are, dearest!” She was sweet- talking him now. “It is your boss’s party! As if you have a choice! Can you afford to aggravate him?”

Yet, he continued to look down. He muttered, “I will not go.”

She caressed his hair, and then dropped kisses on his fingers.

“Get up darling!” She whispered softly , “We cannot have him vexed at us…”

He got up and then without glancing at her, crossed over the drawing room and reached the main door. She accompanied him with a smile.

“We have not yet attained the stature of reaching late…”, she teased. As they descended the stairs, she inspected his face. A smile? An angry, brooding silence ? She saw nothing. Consequently, she tried to change the topic of discussion.

“I wish it will not rain tonight! If it rains, even if I take extreme care, my sari will get dirty! The hems will get wet, by the time one gets inside the car! That is what scares me!”

When he started driving, a sudden rain fell all over the lane.

“I told you, did I not!” She trilled, “I knew it! My poor white sari! Oh my poor white sari!”

He thought that if she mentioned that sari one more time, he would most definitely strangle  her. His hands started shaking.

“Mohan! What happened to you today? Are you feverish? Your hands are shaking dear!”

“Fever?!” He burst into laughter. Praying that the unwanted laughter would cease soon, she sat there quietly. The rain drops kept dashing against the glass panes.

He kept on laughing for a long time. She realised that he did not love her. ‘Has he ever loved her?’ She wondered to herself. There was no answer to that question.

During the dinner, the host accosted her: “I think that you have become more beautiful…!”

Her eyes overflowed for some reason at that moment.

**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sentence and Other Poems: Professor VeeranKutty (Translation from Malayalam)

IMG_2030

1. Memorial

Watch the flight of the milk weed fluff,

A very humble effort indeed.

Wingless,

It is disallowed the crossing of borders,

And denied the  ownership of the skies.

Yet it flies, carrying the seed

Cradled like an infant.

‘Under the shade of the tree

It imagines-

Some one will  rest tomorrow.’

The milk weed fluff is unaware of these lines.

In the weightlessness

Of its ignorance

It flies.

In the compassion that we show

By not calling it a bird,

It might float a bit more distance.

A humble but valiant effort!

Where it falls,

Unknown to anyone,

A plant might stand

In memorium

Tomorrow.

2.  Embrace

The trees that we planted

Far apart from each other,

Terrified that their leaves would touch-

Their roots are embracing ardently

Under the earth.

3.  A Dazed Mind

That day you waited

For the ants to leave,

Before you washed the tea cup.

You stepped softly on the ground

Not wanting to harm any living thing.

You did not pluck any flower,

Instead opened the bird cage wide.

Really,

Who can  ever hide

A mind dazed with love?

4. Silent Girl

Hey girl,

You, who do not speak much!

Your undisplayed love

Is like the  splendid flowering of a tree

Unseen by anyone,

Hidden far within a deep forest.

5. Yet

Yet God does not decide to end this world.

Why?

He must be waiting for those two

Deeply in love,

Sitting in some corner of this world,

To stop their conversation.

One can safely surmise that

The world will not be ending very soon.

6.  After You Left

Some colours disappeared,

Some fragrances vanished,

The sounds stopped in entirety.

This place  here-was constructed from

All those shortcomings,

After you left.

7. The sentence

As punishment for the crime,

The sentence was to circle the world.

The plea was to request

That both should endure it together;

And circle a million times,

Not just once.

****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blue Light…Basheer’s Neela Velicham, StoryTranslation Part -3

IMG_1996

I told myself that it was my imagination. I could not swear  that I had actually seen that glimmer. Yet, how could it be possible that without seeing anything, I sensed a light? Was it a lightning bug?

I walked for a long time. I gazed from the windows for a long time. It was futile. I tried to read something. I could not concentrate.The chair was  still empty.

Deciding to sleep early, I made up my bed and snuffed down the light. Then I felt like listening to a gramophone record!

I  got up and lighted the lamp again.I fitted a new needle into the sound-box. Then I keyed up the gramophone.

Whose song shall I play? The world was eerily silent. Still, there was a rumble. The sound was emerging from my own ears. Was it terror? The hairs on my back stood on end. I wanted to shatter the horrible silence into a million bits. Whose song shall I play for that?  I searched and found a record by Paul Robson. The gramophone started singing: a sweet and magnificent baritone!

‘ Joshua fit the battle of Jericho.’

It got over. then it was Pankaj Mallick’s turn.

‘Tu darr na zara bhi…’

You please do not be scared even a bit!

Then came the enchanting, soft, dulcet female voice:

‘ Kattinile varum geetam…’

M.S.Subbalakshmy too finished singing.

Somehow, I felt at peace after these three songs. I sat like that for a while. Then I invited the revered Saigal himself. He sang in that sweet, melancholy, gentle voice:

‘ So ja  Rajkumary…’

Princess, you please sleep now; sleep dreaming beautiful dreams…!

That too soon ended.

‘Enough  for today. The rest tomorrow!’ Muttering that, I shut the light, and lighting up a beedi, lay down on my cot.

Near me was my torch, my watch and a knife. Then that empty chair.

I had shut the door which opened to the portico. The time must have been Ten at night. I was alert and listening.

Except the mild tic, tic of my watch nothing could be heard. Minutes moved, and then hours. There was no fear in my mind. Just a cold, creepy wariness. It was not a new experience to me. Across many a country, many a place, during a long time period….during a twenty year stint of loneliness…I have had many experiences whose meaning had been indecipherable to me. Hence my attention spanned across the past and the present. In between, came the doubts…will someone knock at the door? Open the pipes? Try to suffocate me? I kept on like that till three in the morning.

Nothing happened.

‘ Good Morning, Bhargavi Kutty! Thanks a lot! One thing has become clear to me! People are just spreading rumours about you! Let them! What do you say?’

Days and nights passed.I would think about Bhargavi Kutty. Her father, mother, brothers and sisters…there would be so many stories that were unknown to me…Almost every night, after I grew tired of writing, I would play the gramophone. Before every song, I would announce the singer, the meaning of the song etc..

I would say,’ Listen…the next song is by the great Bengali singer Pankaj Mallick. It evokes sadness and memories. The times past…listen carefully!’

‘Guzar Gaya woh zamana kaisa…kaisa…’

Or I would say:

‘ This is by Bing Crosby! ‘In the moonlight…’which means in the light of the…Oh I forgot! You are a B.A degree holder! Sorry!’

I would say all these…to myself. Two months passed by in this manner. I made a garden. When the flowers blossomed, I told Bhargavi Kutty that it was all meant for her. I finished a novella too in that time period. A lot of my friends came and spent the night there. Before they slept, unknown to them, I would slip downstairs and speak to the darkness.

‘ Listen, Bhargavi Kutty!  Some of my male pals have arrived  and plan to sleep here tonight. You please don’t throttle any of them. If something like that occurs, the police will catch me! Please be careful! Good Night!’

Befor leaving the house, I would say: ‘ Bhargavi Kutty! Look after the house. If some thief creeps in, feel free to throttle him. But do not leave his corpse hereabout. Drag it at least three miles from here. Else we will  both get into trouble!’

When I returned after a  film’s second- show at night, I would submit: ‘ It is me, okay?’

It all began like that. With the passage of time, I forgot Bhargavi Kutty. No intense conversations. Just an occasional remembrance, that was all.

A remembrance which I shall describe. A lot of poeple have died on this earth. Since the origin of human life, how many had passed away! They are all a part of this world-as dust, as water, as smoke. That we know. Bhargavi remained a memory like that.

It was then that the following incident occurred. That is what I shall describe now.

**

( Will Continue)

 

 

 

 

 

This Lovely Herbarium

‘Herbarium’ by Sonia Rafeeq, is a debut novel which has won the DC Literature Award in 2016. It depicts the relation between life and nature- like the amniotic fluid of a mother’s womb- through the story of a little boy who suddenly loses his mother. The child has grown up in Dubai and his mother, who loved the earth and mud, trees and insects, has always struggled to create an island of green on her Dubai flat’s balcony. Tipu’s Ummadu, is an earth woman: the one who breathes in and out the simplicity and depths of Mother Earth herself. But she is lost one day.

The child comes to his maternal home and discovers what is nature. From a life of playing with tablets and video games, he gets into  a world where a ‘chicken’ in KFC is actually a haughty rooster who pecks around worms in the sand. There is a grand Peepul tree- splendid in its canopy and width- reigning gracefully within a snake grove. And the child sees through wonder struck eyes a wriggling white worm which emerges from within a mango seed, as the ripe flesh is cut into pieces. Apparently, it has eaten up all the food meant for a baby mango sapling, in its greedy feasting adventures!

I am at page 63 of a 231 page novel. And it has been simply delicious till now! I could not resist writing a paen!

Extraordinary observations connecting human emotions with nature!

We have a phrase in Malayalam: Tottavady pole- like a Touch-Me- Not plant! It is used to describe very sensitive nature in human beings. Men and Women and Children, who cannot withstand any unexpected disturbances in life. It is a phrase which cautions – not to be like the touch me not plant which folds and shrinks up in terror when touched at random!

Tipu happens to glimpse a school senior- a teenager- jump to his death  from the flat because he has lost top marks in two subjects at school. He sees his mother- enraged and upset- to see that wasted life.

She mutters: ‘Why do children turn into Touch Me Not plants ?’

***

Trying to translate a stunning paragraph.

The notes left behind by Fatima, turned her into a stranger to Asif. He could not fathom her: he had not known her. Inside her had been an island which he could never reach. It was inaccessible by ships or aeroplanes. He was in a sojourn to reach that island by deciphering her notes….

One of Fatima’s Notes:

This cot too had been part of a tree at some point of time. A tree that was green and vital: its roots sunk deep into earth. Ah… trees, such enchanting symbols! They lay dead- in multiple formations- in our bed rooms and sitting rooms, carrying their own biers. If  one casts a glance at the kitchen, one can notice a bigger cemetery. If you open the refrigerator, you can see solid evidences of ruthless killing obscenely gloating at you: in the form of fish and goat and rooster. Then the dead seeds stocked in the bottles of the kitchen racks might shock- beans, mustard, pulses. There are more dead bodies in crushed forms too. A real graveyard. And I am the keeper of the graves.

****

Strong recommendation to pick up this green book. The author is a postgraduate in plant pathology and worked as an Agricultural Officer before shifting to Dubai.

Her dedication reads ( In translation)

To the earth that no longer emits fragrance,

To the dead trees,

To the rivers which have sunk deep,

And to children:

Who carry the gift of God’s imagination

To rebuild, re-create everything.

***

 

Poems of Compassion : Shri. Veeran Kutty (Translation From Malayalam)

IMG_1850

1. The Heaviness of the Rain

If someone were to dislodge

A pot full of water over your

Head

All at once,

Your scalp will sting

Your breath will struggle

The song in your throat-

Will break, slide

And slip inexorably down.

Someone is emptying

The pot of the sky.

Splayed into multiples

Trickling  into  cloth-wicks

It gently

Touches us.

The moist threads

Absorb

All the heat

Burdening  us.

Someone

Picks up  our shocking failures,

Split them into  thin

Hair-like strands,

Places those

Feather-like

On our heads.

Someone

Who has rain

Within Him.

**

2.  The House of The Dead

No house in this world

Can equal the Taj Mahal.

Yet

There comes a time

Glorious:

When every house

Turns into a Taj.

When someone

Lost in an inexplicable

Helplessness,

Or otherwise,

Mutters to himself

That his home

Is like a tomb.

**

3. House

I know now

That there is no room for me

In this house.

What is a room?

Just a  stifling thought,

Of those within.

Something which suffocates

As you contemplate.

It is a mere possibility-

Which occurs when there is a wall.

How can you conclude

That the walls belong to the

House?

They belong to the great

Outdoors.

If the walls are not of the house,

There is no room.

Hence, no house either.

Look at the outdoors-

That is my room, house.

I am going home,

Do not call me back.

**