Saturday, May 31, 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

And now

all our complaints disappear
in the flawless dawn,
and this ice melting tells us
there must be fire

They've made up their minds
not to fly, the birds
find togetherness, and
- taking darkness into its arms -
light makes its home,
paying up now what
it once stole.

You are what it is to win, and
I am only loss, still, I am
the thread between
this winning
this loss.

They never say, but they point out
our faults, the stars,
when they make their calls to us,
when they make those who rob
into those who must care
- it must be luck, we think.

It must be conscience
- it must be what it is
to give it all up, as our complaints

disappear in the flawless dawn,
and this ice melting tells us
there must be fire

tr. from Amitabh Bhattacharya's 'Shikayatein'

Amitabh Bhattacharya

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The road from Kishangarh

was silver-sheeted
by rain

and your words, Hoshang,
were still in the sky.

Sitting by
the open door
in a white-kurta,
you had let me in.

We had stood
on the balcony, eyeing them -
'We fairies are all mad,'
you'd said, 'we don't save money
and we're generous to the fault.'

now white like ivory,
you had toyed with in
your hands all these years,

books, you always
let remain on the floor

and the hugs
you no longer suffered for very long,
knowing the cost,

and no matter that people had come
and gone, all your heartbreaks were your own.

The rain, on my way back,
made into quicksand the ground
I trod on, and

the radio played the song
about how, on a rainy night,
the sky sends stars to the earth,
how, on a rainy night, the sky sends stars to us.

Friday, May 16, 2014

रामचन्द्र कह गए सिया से

ऐसा कलजुग आएगा -
ख़ाकी चड्डी पहन के वो तो 
भगवा रंग लहराएगा। 

सिया जी मुस्काईं, बोलीं 
रामचन्द्र से - इतने से ही डर गए?
माना उसकी चड्डी ख़ाकी है, 
पर हमारी लड़ाई भी तो बाकी है।

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Three rivers north

Three rivers north of his home, the inlayer placing red jasper
in white marble, as the calligrapher ordered, reads
“Waaldduha” – “by the glorious morning light,”
– keep the faith, the Surah says, be it day
or night, so like him, twenty thousand

workers over twelve years would
wait to see the white stone
of the Taj Mahal become
papier-mâché every
moonlit night.

Friday, May 9, 2014

अब तक तो

"हरे पर चलना
लाल पर रुकना"
सीखते आये थे लेकिन

वक़्त कुछ ऐसा बदला
की लाल पर चलना भी सीखना पड़ रहा है

जब सब कुछ रोकने पर हि उतारू हो
तब किसी तरह चलते रहना
आसान नहीं होता

जैसे आसान नहीं होता
नामुमकिन को ही घर बना कर रहना

जो करते हैं, उनको पता है
की आसान नहीं होता
बीज का उगते रहना
नहर का बहते रहना
फसल का पकते रहना
फिर भी करते हैं लोग

आसान नहीं है मेरे लिए
तुम्हारे बिन जीते रहना
इन सतहों पर, यूँ, किसी
तरह, भरोसा बनाए रखना,
यूँ दुनिया के चटकने की
आस लगाये रखना

आसान नहीं होता
- इतना तो मानोगे -
दिल का बहलना

जैसे मुश्किल होता है
संजोयी हुई यादों का टलना
लाल पर, किसी तरह से भी, चलना।

(अमोल गुप्ते और रेनालडो अरिनस को शुक्रिया)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Monday, May 5, 2014

'The dark' - Rahul Rai

tr. from Rahul Rai's Hindi poem 'Andhera'

The dark is not just in the cracks
on the corner 

                             but also in all this

talk of light, 

                             not only in unheard

distances but also in this nearness.

And as I was thrown this

way and that,
                           worn down
I made everything so thick
so dense that things were then 
                                                              almost dry

but then a bird came from the sky

and started poking at me,
                        dropping bits from its beak,
                        and I gathered them
                                                                 one by one;

And as we talked - I listened & he'd speak 
                                    he deceived me,
I, unheeding, kept on hearing,
listening to his every word 
                                                      and he kept on
                                                      nibbling at my trust.

I had an inkling, 

then it became clear,
                                 that this time was against me
                                 was it I out of step with my time?

Friday, May 2, 2014

It was the third lane

It was the third lane
from Pegs 'n Pints.
Before we went in,
we thought we'd walk a little.

We sat on the kerb,
our knees touching,
years later you'd say
"I could have kissed you then,"

we didn't know
then, that in half
an hour, when
we'd go back in, you would;

the Delhi night
would tear then -
we didn't know
after the kiss, it'd be quicksand.