Translated from the Kashmiri by Nisar Azam
He changed the gas cylinder
made the kitchen functional again
Hurried towards the ration depot
somehow managed provisions and returned home.
Right away he left for the market
to get medicine for his mother
went to optician
for fixing the glasses of his father
He wandered from shop to shop to fulfil colourful dreams of his wife
He fatigued in queue, while trying to pay the fee bills of
At 4 o’clock came his turn
and around 5 o’clock he was back at home
The day was drawing to a close
The autumn wind was roaring in his yard and the flowers on shrubs in his lawn
had turned pale.
Your Loneliness Wrenches My Heart
For a couple of days
you befriended the wind
Wind is blind and knows not
how many homes has it rendered roofless?
Vision inhabited your eyes, you forbade it
and preferred to lament in
the forest of fallen trees
Fragrance entered your lawns and you started to collect it.
You knew fragrance could never be stacked for it had no entity
It comes and goes, so it did
and you are now alone at threshold chasing its way.
Witnessing ebb and flow of river, a gold medal glittered in your eyes
You resolved to cross the river
Boat was still ashore
Some unknown ocean gulped down the whole river
With exorbitant pain dreams went belly up
Realising your loneliness
I wonder how witless you are
Did you ever perceive
Wind is faceless,
and rivers are always
subservient to oceans
Your loneliness wrenches my heart
just a pyre
a walking stick and
an ailing man
You ripped up your royal robes
abandoned the city
embraced the seclusion in wilderness
afflictions encompass me from every side
All around is blood and gore
piles of dead bodies.
like you, these spears are piercing my heart
howbeit, I never ripped my clothes up
nor did I leave the city
or my kinsfolk
Leave this timidity
strengthen your heart
let you spend a couple of days in my city
I need you badly
to help me carry the dead bodies
to rinse off the blood from the roads
to offer the aurora and the twilight as an oblation to
time-worn sightless night
How can I take care of it alone?
For a couple of days
come to my side
spend a couple of days in my city.
In the Dreams, Feet are Shackled
In the dust lay tens of a dozen diamonds of vision
Connecting wire of the electric bulb since broken
burning wick about to go out.
From both sides of the macadamized bi-lane,
the beams of light from the headlights of vehicles,
flare like a thunderbolt through the transom into the murky room of a hut.
Under ruptured feeble roof,
a frosted hearth,
a hungry plate
Cups awaiting tea to fill them.
Some dreams send tremors through every part of the body.
Man wants to flee from the weird forest of dreams.
I too strived, in this dream to run away
from this hungry and murky room but I could not.
For that no one can run away in a dream
No one can escape from a dream.
It is said that
early in the morning
dew washes away
stains of tulips
Crepuscular rays awaken
Chitter of birds flits from branch to branch
Breeze helps the boats to
reach the shore
Find it out
whether at all, the summer downpour
washes away the dusty eyes?
If true then convey to the swifts, the pleas of windows and doors.
Wash the cold feet of the Harmukh*
with inebriating currents of the Wular**, hurry up
If not true, get some tittle- tattle instead
Say that we spotted crystalline water in the Jehlum***
Say that we witnessed virgin dreams moulding pearl beads
Ascertain that while climbing which hillock,
Village damsels perceived the pubescence of the peach trees
Whirl in round dance holding hands of green paddy fields.
Verify is it true that
Shraz**** is not
Gnawing our moon anymore
Do the doors and windows still gift roses to gazelle eyes
Get some message for
If not true, get some tittle- tattle
tell something fallacious
shower giggles upon the hopes.
* A mountain, part of the Himalaya Range located in Kashmir.
** World famous Lake.
*** Famous River.
**** A mythical creature which is thought to eat the moon.
Also read Gujarati poetry in translation : Spider and Other Poems – Niranjan Bhagat