Bridge to Global Literature

Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

Vidyut Aklujkar

Feb 27, 2021 | Front And Center, Poetry | 1 comment

The House Of Many Doors 

I try to catch them as they are but they are hard to tell apart without their clothes which they change as they pass from room to room in this house of many doors where each room has a two-way door that opens to a special key that locks letters and sounds in just-so strings. The name plaque on each door reads like a secret code unless you possess the exact combination of syllables and deep structure. Each door opens to only those people who know how to turn the key so that the right thought comes out to greet them dressed in proper words and sentences.

They love to change clothes from room to room, from person to person. Thus they get dressed in sonorous Konkani when my parents are on the telephone and also for my cats who are Canadian by birth but fish-loving Goans at heart. In the family room, they don a soft saree for my children who grew up on cotton quilted lullabies and loved tongue-twisters in Marathi for a mid-morning snack. The clever changelings remember to slip into their salwar-khameez-dupatta or their three piece suit of ‘too-tum-aap in Hindustani when my students come to visit, and never forget to carry the exact change in nickels and dimes of “Please and Thank-you” when outside.

They like to hide in the attic sometime and wear each other’s clothes and play a game of ‘peek-a-boo’. Each room has a different roster of the silent ones and the vocal ones tease them by sticking their tongue out as they pass them. At playtime both the vocal and the silent ones slide and swing and tumble in a heap in the noisy back-yard of my mind.

At the end of the day when they shed their soiled clothes and kneel at bedside just before turning in I hear them pray in silence and that is the right time to catch them as they are but sleep descends on my heavy eyelids and I give in to silence.

 

Vidyut Aklujkar

Vidyut Aklujkar

Vidyut (Vidyullekha) Aklujkar is an award-winning writer, author of several books of fiction and non-fiction in Marathi, and an editor of Ekata, Toronto, a Marathi literary quarterly journal.
She has served as visiting faculty at Harvard University, and faculty at the University of British Columbia in Canada.  She has numerous publications in international journals on her name.
For two decades, she is in the final judging committee for the Prestigious Maharashtra Foundation Annual Literary Awards.
She lives in Richmond, B. C. with her family and enjoys fine arts, gardening, photography, and several other crafts. Most of all, she enjoys storytelling.

1 Comment

  1. Madhav Deshpande

    What a beautiful poetic description of the experience of multilingual life that many of us live. Congratulations, Vidyut. Would like to hear more of your creations.

    Reply

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