The Antonym has picked up two poems from the Poet, Vidyut Aklujkar.’s Trans-plants series of poems. This is how she defined Trans-plants-
Trans-plants : transient plants, plants in transition, transformed plants,
No matter how you break up the compound,
the hyphen remains in the composite word.
These trans-plants come with individual name-tags,
they are found in different stages of getting settled in the new soil,
traces of old soil still can be seen clinging to their roots,
sometimes nurturing, sometimes thwarting them….
It is easy to see the clods clinging to another plant’s roots,
rare is a plant that sees under its own shadow.
I came here last Christmas to my son,
Yes, that’s when I saw all your lighting, gift-giving
and festive fever. Visiting friends forty miles away in snow,
and on return, spending silent nights in the house.
Children and grandchildren in rooms of their own
and silence on the roads all along.
Glass houses with garlands of lightbulbs
and we inside like dumb dolls in decorated boxes.
Yes, my daughter-in-law speaks for hours on the phone
she tells me to use it too, she says ‘phone the mother
or the mother-in-law of such and such friend, and talk with her,
you get bored otherwise sitting all alone.
But you see, I feel I’m groping in darkness when I talk on the phone.
My husband? Oh no, He doesn’t feel that way, he worked
in the post-office in India, you see, he was used to wireless messages
But all my life I moved with my friends
from home to the yard and from the river to the temple.
Now I have to play musical chairs in silence
Four months here with the elder son,
and then again on the move to the next one.
All three made their homes on this land,
and now our burden is on their shoulders.
Don’t the hands of the clock move twelve houses?
I follow my husband like the small hand
hobbling along with the strong long-hand.
Thank God, we have only three sons.
I don’t like to brood, but sometimes I can’t help thinking
it’s all right so long as both hands are moving
along with each other
But what if
what if tomorrow the fast-moving long hand stopped moving?
what will the small hand do then?
Your case is different, you see,
you grew up in the heart of Poona,
chose a local bride sanctioned by horoscopes,
married her with proper rites, spread wings, and
flocked here in search of better pastures
settled down, nestled. Nonetheless
within the four walls, you still are in the heart of Poona.
You eat sago khichri every Monday,
use Vajradanti for cleaning your teeth
and wash hair with Shikekai
Even as you commute to work,
you listen to Geet-Ramayan on your car-deck
So it’s no wonder that your kids speak Marathi,
read stories in it, and write long letters home.
To be honest, you are tied to this country only by your paycheck.
As for my kids, you ask me why they don’t speak Marathi?
well, it’s a bonus that even I speak it.
You see, my father spoke Konkani, my mother was a Parsee,
and my wife is Japanese.
Now tell me, if children were to speak only their mother-tongue,
each generation would be unable to speak with the next.
To tell the truth, my whole family knows
only one language,
that of the neighbours wherever we go,
of sweets and gifts on festivals,
of holding hands in hand
In Marathi Kakoo means Aunt and Dubhashi means Bilingual