From the Editor

Monson months may a blessing to the earth but a misery to the mankind nested in their urban homes. The unprecedented rains, followed by floods have ravaged thousands of homes in Kerala and Kodagu. The deluge in Brahmaputra and its tributaries have caused havoc in Upper Assam. Heavy floods in Krishna and Godavari have left a trail of destruction in the coastal districts of Andhra. While writing this, television sets blare about the devastation caused by the cyclonic storm ‘Daye’ in Orissa. Reports on death and devastation, from different directions of the country, are frightening

But nature’s fury is poets wonder as they know misery is ephemeral but nature is eternal. Poets like innocent children, are excited about the arrival of the silver strings from the sky and have spun poems. Matured major poets are no exception.

“The rain-water is running in rills through the narrow lanes like a laughing boy who has run away from his mother to tease her” wrote Tagore in his poem “The rainy day”.  Bharati sees the thunderstorms as dances of mountains and cries in excitement, “Divine beings play soccer in the sky, what a divine scene before us!”

August –September are months of the demise of these two mahakavis of Indian literature. Tagore left for his divine abode on August 7, 1941. Bharati became immortal on September 11, 1921

Akshra fondly remembers these two legends who enriched the Indian writing. This issue has a rare collection of tributes to Bharati in many Indian languages by eminent poets, writers and scholars. (To name a few: Mulkraj Anand, Sukumar Azhicode, Dasarathi, Prof. Dandekar). We gratefully acknowledge Mahakavi Bharathi Centenary Souvenir published by Tamilnadu Government in 1982 for these tributes

And to crown these rare collections of tributes, we add the tribute of Bharati to Tagore! This was piece written by Bharati, two weeks before his demise, on  August 25, 1921, in Swadesamitran, commending Gurudev’s visit to Europe

To commemorate the literary geniuses, we also carry a short story of Tagore in English and its translation in Tamil by no less a person Bharati! And a poem of Bharati in Tamil and its English translation by James H.Cousins, a master poet of Ireland (who was living in Tokyo)

Few other master poets adorn this issue. We proudly present the poems of Malayalam Mahakavi P.Kunjuraman Nair and an eminent bilingual poet H S Shivaprasad in this issue.

I thank all the contributors for this issue. I am also grateful to all other contributors and editors who have made this issue possible.

I look forward to continued support from all litterateurs in all Indian languages.

 

Maalan

Editor

Special Feature- Rabindranath Tagore

ஸ்ரீ ரவீந்திர திக்விஜயம்: பாரதியார்

गुरुदेवाचो उडगास : आनन्दन एन एन

Special Feature-Mahakavi

SPECIAL  FEATURE

Mahakavi

Tributes to

Subramania BHARATI

Assamese: Pulin Behari Barthakur

            Torch bearer of Nationalism

Bengali: Purabi Dutta

            Immortal Poet 

Dogri : Padma Suchadeva

            High Priest of Pen

English : Mulk Raj Anand

            I salute!

Gujarati: Ramprasad K.Jha

            A profound Philosopher 

Hindi: Dr.Ravinder Kumar Seth

New expressions to dumb aspirations

Kannada : Prof.K.K.Gowda

            Gave vent to lofty sentiments

Kashmiri

                        Nectar of Bharati

Maithili

                        Nectar of Integration 

Malayalam: Prof.Sukumar Azhicode

                        A Majestic Voice

Marathi : Dr.Ramesh Seth

            Unique Insight

Odia

             The passionate voice of poetry

Punjabi: Prabhjot Kaur

            Miracle Man

Rajasthani : Anna Ram Sudhama

            Bharati, the snow-clad mountain

Sanskrit : Prof. Dandekar

Bard of Universalism

Sindhi

Telugu: Dr.Dasarathi

            Wave -offering to Poet Bharati

Urdu: Musud Hussian Khan

            He is like Iqbal & Ghalib

In this issue

Vol-1 No 4

SPECIAL  FEATURE

Mahakavi

Tributes to

Subramania BHARATI

Assamese: Pulin Behari Barthakur

            Torch bearer of Nationalism

Bengali: Purabi Dutta

            Immortal Poet 

Dogri : Padma Suchadeva

            High Priest of Pen

English : Mulk Raj Anand

            I salute!

Gujarati: Ramprasad K.Jha

            A profound Philosopher 

Hindi: Dr.Ravinder Kumar Seth

New expressions to dumb aspirations

Kannada : Prof.K.K.Gowda

            Gave vent to lofty sentiments

Kashmiri

                        Nectar of Bharati

Maithili

                        Nectar of Integration 

Malayalam: Prof.Sukumar Azhicode

                        A Majestic Voice

Marathi : Dr.Ramesh Seth

            Unique Insight

Odia

             The passionate voice of poetry

Punjabi: Prabhjot Kaur

            Miracle Man

Rajasthani : Anna Ram Sudhama

            Bharati, the snow-clad mountain

Sanskrit : Prof. Dandekar

Bard of Universalism

Sindhi

Telugu: Dr.Dasarathi

            Wave -offering to Poet Bharati

Urdu: Musud Hussian Khan

            He is like Iqbal & Ghalib

Rabindranath TAGORE

ஸ்ரீ ரவீந்திர திக்விஜயம்: பாரதியார்

———

English

Poem:

            If I reach your shore…. : HS Shiva Prakash

Fiction

Subha:  Rabindanath Tagore

Essay:

Role of Kalkame in A’chik Folklife: Bellvydha S.Momin

Konkani

Poems:

             गुरुदेवाचो उडगास : आनन्दन एन एन

                मनां धर हीं तत्वां : एन.बालकृष्ण मल्ल्या

                मन म्हजें पिशें : अविनाश कुंकळकर

                हय सायबा : उदय म्हांबरो

                पावस : ग्वादालूप डायस

                ते  दीस गेले : संतोष हरमलकार

                कायळो : शरतचंद्र शेणै

                तुजी शिकवण : मनोज नरेंद्र कामत

Essays

            सुधा मुर्ती हांच्या पुस्तकांनी म्हाका कितें दिलें ? : सुनेत्रा जोग

 

Malayalam

Poem

കേരളം : മഹാകവി പി. കുഞ്ഞുരാമ നായ

ഒരിടം : ഗ്രെയ്സ് നെത്സ

ദ്ദേഹം  : സെബാസ്റ്റ്യ.

 

Marathi

Poems:

आला श्रावण : अतिशा सुर्लीकार

 

 

Tamil:

Poem:

விடுதலை : பாரதியார்

ஒன்றாய்க் கலந்த உலகு ; கவிஞர் மகுடேசுவரன்

 

Fiction:

குருத்து : இந்துமதி

செருப்பு: ரமணன்

Essay:

ஸ்ரீ ரவீந்திர திக்விஜயம்: பாரதியார்

 

Translations

English

Poems

            Yes my Lord (from Konkani)

            Keep these principles in mind (from Konkani)

            KERALAM (from Malayalam)

            A  PLACE TO HIDE (from Malayalam)

            A  NICE  PERSON (from Malayalam)

            Liberation : (from Tamil)

Fiction:

            THE  HERO (from Malayalam)

            Birthmark (from Konkani)

Other Languages

Fiction

                ஸுபா (from Bengali)

            பால் டம்ளர் ( from Telugu)

 

 

तुजी शिकवण

– मनोज नरेंद्र कामत

बालगितां गावन तुवें
संगिताची लायली गोडी
बाराखडी शिकयतना
शिकपाच्यो लागल्यो ओडी

अक्षर वळण शिकयतना
धरलो तुवें म्हजो हात
तुजी शिकवण आसासर
सोडलो ना केन्नाच सांगात

शिस्त तुजी खर
नीट मार्गान वचपाची
वायट मार्गान गेल्यार
चिचे फोकान बडोवपाची

जिणेचीं मुल्यां शिकोवन
बरे मनीस घडयले
शिकोवप करून जीणभर
मनांत बरे विचार रिगयले

तुजें शिकोवप सामकें सोबीत
फळ्यार चित्रां काडिल्लीं
उतरां वांगडा अर्थ तांचो
वाक्यांय तांची घडयल्लीं

गणीत करून सामकें सोपें
पाडे तोंडार घोळयल्ले
विद्न्यान शिकयतना तर
प्रयोग करून दाखयल्ले

वर्गात सदांच एकवट आमच्या
दुस्मान केन्नाच जालेना
इश्टागती फुलत गेल्यो
कोणूच कोणाक विसरलेना

किदेंच नासलें व्यर्थ
तुवेंच शिकयलो जिणे अर्थ
संकल्प केले व्हड
धाडसान करूंक शिकयली सर्त

सगळ्या मळार पावलों फुडें
जोडले उंचेले पावंडे
शिकनाशिल्ल्या भुरग्यांकलेगीत
दिले मोलादीक जिणे धडे

उमेद तुवें जागयली
विचारसरणी घडयली
समाजाचो वांगड सादूक
जापसालदारकी शिकयली

शाळा म्हजी सोंपूनलेगीत
उगडास तुजो आयलो
शिक्षक दिसा आयज
मान तुजोच सगळ्यांत पयलो

manojkamat27net@gmail.com

कायळो

– शरतचंद्र शेणै

करताय काणी कायळ्याची
जळकाय ताका मोराची
ढोंकाची आनी कीराची..
असली कल्पना चुकयेची !

कायळो पळयना मोराक
ढोंकाक वा कीराक
तो संतृप्त ताजे ताज्यांत !
समजूक जायना हें मनशाक ?

कायळो सोदीना गोरबाणी
हे ते रंगाची कांती
ताका नाका कोकिलवाणी
ताका स्वताचेर संतृप्ती !

कितले खोशयेन तो जियेता
जिणे पीयूष पियेता !
ताजी खरेली वळख दिवूंक
मनशा, कित्या रे भियेता ?
ना ताका जळकाय, मात्सर्य
ना लोकांले जिबेचें भय
कित्याक काणयो विणताय ताजेर ?
बोट दाखयताय आमीच आमचेर !

saratchandrashenoi@gmail.com

 

 

 

सुधा मुर्ती हांच्या पुस्तकांनी म्हाका कितें दिलें ?

– सुनेत्रा जोग 

म्हजें ल्हानशें कुटुंब, म्हजे इश्ट इश्टिणी आनी म्हजीं पुस्तकां इतलेंच म्हजें सुपुल्लें जग. सगळीं पुस्तकां  विकतीं घेवन तांचो संग्रह करुन दवरपाक म्हाका खूब आवडटा. केन्नाय मनांत आयलें काय खंयचेंच पुस्तक उगडून वाचचें. एकूच पुस्तक परत परत वाचपाक लेगीत म्हाका आवडटा. अशींच केन्नातरी सुधा मुर्ती हांचीं कितलींशींच मराठी पुस्तकां विकतीं घेतलीं. तांचें “सामान्यांतले असामान्य” हें पुस्तक वाचपाक सुरवात केली आनी तांच्या लेखनाच्या मोगांतूच पडलें हांव. मागीर तांचीं हेर सगळीं पुस्तकां वाचलीं. इश्टांक भेट म्हण दिलीं. तांचीं पुस्तकां वाचप्यांक सामकीं मंत्रमुग्ध करतात. तांकां मेळिल्लीं मनशां, तांणीं केल्लो जगभराचो प्रवास, समाजकार्य करता आसतना तांकां आयिल्ले बरे वायट अणभव हें सगळें वाचता आसतना, हें सगळें खरेंच घडलां आसत काय अशें दिसता. विंगड विंगड क्षेत्रांत तांणीं केल्लें समाजीक काम, गरीब भुरग्यांक शिक्षणाखातीर केल्ली मजत, आपदग्रस्तांखातीर केल्ली मजत.. एकाच मनशाक आयिल्ले हे सगळे अणभव आमकां अजापीत करतात. तांची पुस्तकां वाचपाक सुरवात करचेआदीं सुधा मुर्ती कोण हें म्हाका खरेंच खबर नाशिल्लें. म्हळ्यार त्यो इन्फोसिस फावंडेशनाच्यो अध्यक्षा, नारायण मुर्ती हांची ती घरकान्न आनी ताणीं खूब व्हड समाजकार्य बी केलां अशें आयकल्लें. पूण जेन्ना तांचीं पुस्तकां वाचलीं तेन्ना तांचेविशीं मनांत आदर तर निर्माण जालोच पूण केन्ना तरी तांकां मेळचें ही उमळशीक लागली.

तेच वेळार तांचें एक तरी पुस्तक कोंकणींत येवंक जाय अशें सामकें तीव्रतायेन दिसलें. त्या खातीर कितें करचें हाचेर खूब विचार केलो. तांचेमेरेन कशें पावचें हें खबर नाशिल्लें. तांचो फोन नंबर वा इमेल मेळटा काय पळोवपाचो यत्न केलो. निमाणें तांचो इमेल मेळ्ळो. तितले म्हणसर तांचें एक तरी पुस्तक हांव कोंकणींत हाडटलेंच हो विचार सामको पक्को जाल्लो. फाटीं फुडें जायत तांका इमेल केली आनी हांव तांचें पुस्तक कोंकणींत अणकारुंक सोदतां, हें तांका कळयलें. तेखातीर कितें करचें पडटलें तेंय विचारलें. अजाप म्हळ्यार रोकडीच तांची जाप आयली. म्हाका दिशिल्लें त्यो इतल्यो व्यस्त, प्रसिद्ध, आंतरराश्ट्रीय पांवड्यार नामना मेळयिल्ल्यो. त्यो म्हाका जाप धाडटल्यो अशें हांवें चिंतूकूच नाशिल्लें. पूण ताणीं मेकळेपणान परवानगी दिली. आनी अशे तरेन हांवें तांच्या “How I taught my grandmother to read and other stories” ह्या पुस्तकाच्या अणकाराचें काम सुरु केलें.

जिणेंतलें हें पयलेंच काम अणकाराचें. ह्या अणकारान म्हाका खूब खोस दिली. हांव काम करतां अशें म्हाका दिसलेंच ना. ह्या अणकारान म्हाका खोस तर दिलीच पूण हांव अशें कितें करुंक शकतां हो आत्मविस्वासूय दिलो. फकत एकाच म्हयन्यांत हांवें तें सोंपयलें. हें पुस्तक “आजयेक वाचूंक शिकयलें आनी हेर काणयो” ह्या नांवान प्रकाशीत जालें. वर्साभितर ताची पयली आवृत्ती सोंपली आनी दुसरी आवृत्ती ब्रॉडवे बुक हावसान काडली. ह्या पुस्तकाक बरो प्रतिसाद मेळिल्ल्यान हांवें तांच्या आनीक दोन पुस्तकांचो अणकार केलो. “Old man and his God” हें पुस्तक “जाणटेलो आनी ताचो देव” ह्या नांवान आनी “The day I stopped drinking milk – Life stories from here and there” हें पुस्तक, “हांवें दूद पिवपाचें सोडलें – हांगाच्यो थंयच्यो जिणे काणयो”, ह्या नांवान.

ह्या तिनूय पुस्तकांच्या अणकारांतल्यान म्हाका कितें मेळ्ळें हाचो हांव जेन्ना विचार करतां तेन्ना हांव खरेंच नशीबवान अशें म्हाका दिसता. ह्या पुस्तकांक लागून म्हजेसारक्या एका सामान्य मनशाचें नांव एका व्हड आनी असामान्य अशा मनशाकडेन सदांखातीर जोडलां. तांकां प्रत्यक्ष मेळपाची संद म्हाका मेळ्ळी. तांच्या लेखनांतल्यान त्यो एक व्यक्ती म्हण, लेखिका म्हण, समाजकार्यकर्ती म्हण तेचपरी एक शिक्षिका म्हण कितल्यो व्हड आसात हें कळिल्लें. तांकां मेळ्ळ्याउपरांत त्यो कितल्यो साद्यो आसात आनी इतली नामना मेळून लेगीत तांचे पांय कशे जमनीर आसात हेंय समजलें.

वाचकांक लागून हांव लेखिका जालां अशें त्यो म्हणटात. जिणेच्या प्रवासांत मेळिल्ले लोक, काळजाक भिडपासारके अणभव हातूंतल्यान तांचें लेखन निर्माण जालां. मेळटात ते सगळे लोक लेखनाखातीर तांकां विशय दितात अशें तांकां दिसता. जिणेंतले सगळ्यांत बरे धडे हांव गरीब लोकांकडल्यान शिकलां. तांच्या सादेपणान म्हाका प्रभावीत केलां आनी हेंच हांवें म्हज्या लेखनांतल्यान तुमचे मुखार मांडलां, अशें त्यो म्हणटात. तांच्या सगळ्या लेखनांतल्यान हेंच तर दिसता आमकां.

खंयचीय भास समृद्ध आनी गिरेस्त जातली जाल्यार त्या भाशेंत खूब साहित्य निर्माण जावपाक जाय. इतलेंच न्हय तर हेर भाशांतलें बरें साहित्य लेगीत त्या भाशेंत अणकारीत जावन येवंक जाय. तेच वेळार त्या भाशेंतलें बरें साहित्य हेर भासांनी अणकारुन लोकांमेरेन पावपाक जाय. अशें जालें जाल्यारुच खंयचीय भास चड आनी चड गिरेस्त जावंक पावता. सुधा मुर्ती हांचीं इंग्लीश पुस्तकां कोंकणींत अणकारुन म्हजे तांकीप्रमाण हांवें आमची कोंकणी भास  गिरेस्त करपाचो यत्न केला. तो कितलो येसस्वी जाला हांव नकळ. भास गिरेस्त जावंक जाय हें जरी खरें आसलें तरी, छापिल्लीं पुस्तकां चडांत चड लोकांनी विकतीं घेवन वाचपाक जाय. आपल्या संग्रहांत तीं दवरपाक जाय हें लेगीत खरें. अशे तरेन जेन्ना पुस्तकांची विक्री जातली तेन्ना पुस्तकां छापपाखातीर प्रकाशक लेगीत अनमनचे नात. सध्या पुस्तक छापप कशें हो एक व्हड प्रस्न प्रकाशकांमुखार आसा अशें म्हाका दिसता. पुस्तकां छापलीं तरी तीं खपनात अशें तांचें म्हणणें. हाचेर मार्ग कसो काडप? जेन्ना वाचक पुस्तकां विकतीं घेवन वाचतले तेन्नाच प्रकाशकांक पुस्तकां काडपाक उमेद येतली अशें म्हाका दिसता.

(Jaag monthly, July 2015)

sunetrajog@gmail.com

ते दीस गेले

– संतोष हरमलकार

ते  दीस गेले
शाळेत वचपाचे ।।
शाळेचां  मैदानार
मिलानी खेळपाचे ।।
ते  दीस गेले
इशकोलाक वचपाचे ।।
इंटरवला वेळार
आयसकूटी खावपाचे ।।
ते  दीस गेले
कॉलेजाक  वचपाचे ।।
कदंबा बसीत
हाफ टीकीट मागपाचे ।।
ते  दीस गेले
शेतात वचपाचे ।।
हातांत खोरे
घेवन मेरो तासपाचे ।।
ते   दीस गेले
सांकवार बसपाचे ।।
सांगातान बसुन
चाकाटां मारपाचे ।।
ते   दीस गेले
सायकल चलोवपाचे ।।
हात सोडून
झेतान मिरोवपाचे ।।
ते  दीस गेले
बाजारांत वचपाचे ।।
हातांत पोती
भाजी हाडपाचे ।।
ते  दीस गेले
आतां परत ना येवपाचे ।।
आतां फकत
याद काडीत बसपाचे ।।
फकत,,,,,,
याद काडीत बसपाचे ।।

oshhar@rediffmail.com

 

पावस

– ग्वादालूप डायस

जिणेंत हांवें भोगले
कितलेशेच पावसाळे
दर पावसाळ्यांतलो मात
पयलो  पावस वेगळो
करपल्ल्या काळजाक म्हज्या
फुट्टा नवी कोमरी
पुराय बदलून उडयता
संवसार म्हजो सगळो

पावसा तालार खळी गालार
व्हडीं तीं कागदाचीं
अजून मनांत धांवतात
सपनाची घेवन रास
ओगीच एक पिशी आस
पयल्या पावसा नादार
जिणेंत गोल घुंवतात

अंदुय़ हो पयलो पावस
भान सोडून झडटलो
विसर-भोळ्या मनांक म्हज्या
यादी आदल्यो हाडटलो
चोय दिकां फांकतलो
परमळ ते मातयेचो
खिणाक जातलो आसोर
काळजांत मात झडटलो
सतत पावस यादींचो

guadalupedias@yahoo.com
 

 

 

 

 

Birthmark

Konkani Original : K.Gokuldas Prabhu
English Translation :  Suman G.Pai

The front door of the house was closed. Bhundi turned around. It seemed no one had got up-it was calm and quiet. These days nobody gets up at the first crow of the cock! Only the old, hardworking mother would get up so early in the morning. She alone must have got up now.

Bhundi quickly reached the kitchen and knocked on the door. The stars still glittered but lazily in the deep blue sky and dawn broke out from the eastern horizon.  The chirp and twitter of the birds in the trees and the sky mingled with  the cawing of the crows. But Bhundi did not pay any attention to any of that. She tried to hear whether anyone was coming to the door. Then she struck the latch, to announce her arrival. Bhundi heard footsteps reaching the door. And the door opened. As she had anticipatd, it the old lady stood inside. Bhundi  got in and asked-

‘Has Khoth not got up yet?’

‘No , Bhundi, Ram came home a little late last night.’

‘Oh’- Bhundi, kept the vessels she had brought with her down on the floor. She then took the dirty, overnight vessels, carefully gathered the coarse fibre of coconut  shell she had preserved below the roof and searched for the ash container. As she was about to keep the container in the brass water-pitcher, the old lady asked-

‘ Bhundi, your grand-daughter has not come today?’

‘ No, it seems she has got migraine. She will not come today.’

Bhundi walked away towards the pond.  Placing down the ash container, she filled her pot with water and poured it over the vessels . Then she re-filled her pot with water and returned to the house. Kamath was now up and coming out. Bhundi made way for him. Going to the kitchen she took a broom from a corner and started  sweeping in the front yard of the house. After cleaning it. She mixed cowdung in the water of the pot and sprinkled it all over the front yard. Whilst going to the pond again, she met Kamath.  As he neared her, she noticed the grey  hairs on his head and chest. A young boy only a few years back!-she remembered. When was it – yesterday or day before yesterday – that she had carried this boy on her waist?

When I came with my mother, the first time, he was a two year old and I was fourteen years old . After that so many things happened! I got married. I Had five daughters  and  one son. In time, the daughters were all married off. The son left me. My husband drowned and died. And I continued my life by working here. This boy whom I carried on my hips became the Khoth and then a father. Today his hair has turned white! Oh God, thought Bhundi simpering. How time flies.

She took the water pot to the pond, dipped it and filled it with water again and poured it on the vessels. The previous day’s waste  and the grains of rice in the vessels, soaked in the water, got loose and it was now easy to clean the dirty vessels.

The sunlight was slow in coming out from the leaves of trees. The daylight was not yet bright.  The sky was still blue. Sunlight continued to play hide and seek! Bhundi went into the house, took the broom and began sweeping the rooms. The old Khothinn was packing arecanut with lime on bêtel leaves plus a tobacco leaf and pounding it in the pestle placed on the ground. Seeing Bhundi coming with the broom she asked:

‘Are you going to sweep, Bhundi?’

‘Yes, Madame.’

‘Okay, go ahead…..sweep.’ She took the pounded betelnut leaves mixture and at one stroke pushed it into her mouth.

‘Any letter from your son ?’

‘Letters from my son ?’ – Bhundi laughed. Letters and my son?  Nobody knows where he is and I certainly do not know his whereabouts! Even when he was here he would drink and run to beat me. And now he will write me !

‘ Does he send any money to you?’

Bhundi could not bear -‘You know the truth, madam. Its so many years that he has gone. Did he turn up even when my daughter died?  Son of a bitch!’

‘Its  alright, Bhundi. Don’t curse him so early in the morning !’ Bhundi kept mum. Khotinn asks me not to curse him. But what else can I do? Giving birth to someone like him is a big mistake, a great sin. I brought him into this world, thinking he would be a support in my old age. But he has forgotten me and hardly thinks about it!  He is somewhere around drinking and fighting  away. My third daughter died in childbirth, all my fate! I am left with  her daughter, who is my support now. How could I bring up other daughters?’ Bhundi released a sigh of relief. This granddaughter is lucky to be with me. She looks pretty and is healthy too. She does all her chores very quickly. She is very neat and tidy in her work. But Bhundi was worried about one thing – the girl has come of age quickly and has to be married within two or three years. Let me see.

The younger madam was sleeping in the nearby bedroom. Bhundi felt bad. It was nearing seven o’clock and she was fast asleep even now. If the owner of the house, Ram’s father was around, he would have poured water on her. During his days, who would be sleeping like this till seven or eight o’clock? She remembers those times when she would arrive before dawn and Ram’s father would be up early in the morning and get ready for his morning Sandhyavandanam. His wife and Ram  would be up along with him. If the lady failed to sweep the room clean and wipe it dry before the time for his Sandhyavandanam, the house would shake with the rage of the senior. And now see Ram’s wife deep in sleep-

‘Now, madam, still feeling sleepy, eh?’-Bhundi asked in an irritated tone.

Kamath’s wife opened her eyes-Oh-Bhundi!’ If it was anybody else she would have puffed her cheeks and would have been angry. But Bhundi was no ordinary  Kunbi woman. She was like her mother. She had been around working for the last forty years! Like us she has been through the ups and downs of this family! She has shared our sorrows with us and been a part and parcel of our joys! She has spent all her life for us!

‘What is the time, Bhundi?.

“Get up,   getup – its seven o’clock,’ Bhundi hurried her up. Kamath’s  wife  got up with a yawn and watched Bhundi folding the mat and mattress. She was overcome by remorse watching Bhundi’s lean, aged hands folding the mattress and  said, ‘no, need, I will do the work, Bhundi, just leave it alone’.

‘ No , it’s perfectly alright madam, Just watch me doing it. Its not yesterday or today, I am doing this. For the last forty years I have been doing it. Go on , Madam, go ahead and make me some tea ’

Kamath’s’ wife went inside. Bhundi was like that, always willing. She would always do all the work herself, not dependent on others. Even at this age, she would never sit idle in her hut!

Bhundi kept the folded mat and mattress on the cot. Taking a broom she began to sweep the room. She gathered all the litter and left it outside the door. Then she went to sweep the next room. There close to the wall near the door Rai was sleeping. The door-windows being closed, the room was totally dark. She proceeded to  open the doors and windows and sunlight flooded the room. As she turned away, her eyes fell on his body. He was wearing only drawers. Standing there and seeing him,  her heart was filled with a certain sensation-he has grown up, become knowledgeable and his chest has broadened and become strong. There was hair on his chest and over his lips. His hands and thighs have become muscular. Bhundi saw on his thigh the birthmark, the size of a pappad.

Suddenly her heart became wet.  She was proud about it – He was her very own!  Having grown up, feeding on her breast milk, having sucked her juice and love from her heart!

His mother had a Caesarian operation. While she was resting in the hospital , the senior madam called her and told her- Bhundi If you have breast milk , give it to this child and I willingly did it!  Earlier, for two whole years after the birth of my youngest daughter, I had been breastfeeding her.  Now I suckled him too.  My hands would tremble whilst holding the baby and taking the mouth of the fair child with the headful of jet black hair to my breast. It was then I saw the black birthmark on his right thigh I loudly called out to Kamath and his wife, ‘Did you see the black birthmark – on the boy’s thigh? This boy will bring you success.’ As the black birthmark became bigger and bigger, my love for the child grew more and more.

Bhundi had an urge at that very moment, to sit on the cot, to cuddle him and give him some breast milk as in the past. Or else to run her fingers through his hair and pat his cheeks. But then she realized – he is no longer the child, whom 23 years ago, you carried on your waist, walked around, one who had your breast milk and beat his little feet on your belly. He has matured into a young man of 24 years… She arranged the coverlet which was lying haywire and covered his body completely with it. She then took back the broom and started sweeping the room again.

…..The Sun was right up in the sky. It was really very hot. The Sun’s rays came through the trees exploring the earth. The pond reflected the trees on its shores and the patches of sun and shadows played hide and seek in the water. Everything seemed to be in its place! Only the leaves of the Pipal tree began to flutter away.

Bhundi, mindlessly began to wash vessels sitting on the edge of the pond. As her stomach was full, in the heat of the sun, her eyes were closing automatically.

Today, in the absence of Shaku, she could neither wash clothes nor rinse them… Am I sixteen years old to wash clothes now? Thank god, I am yet not blind or deaf.  But my teeth have fallen, skin is wrinkled, flesh has become soft and maybe I cannot run around as before but am I not getting older? Let the children of these days grow as old and see how they fare!

That reminded her of her grand-daughter. Shaku gets a headache from time to time, God alone knows what has happened to her. Today I must show her to a doctor.

Bhundi got up after cleaning the vessels, went down to the pond and filled her pot with water. She washed the scrubbed vessels and took them to the kitchen and kept them in the almirah. Today there was no work remaining. Kamath’s  wife and mother  were sleeping. Kamath had gone outside.

Bhundi closed the outer door of the kitchen and sat down. Now no extra work for the last ten to twelve years for afternoons are usually free. Back then she would do so much work, like grinding and cleaning the rice and when there was no work here, she would go to her house and do some work there. Now it is not possible…. Coming here early in the morning and doing the work till afternoon, I feel so tired. Then to go home in the burning sun is so horrible, that I take an afternoon nap which has become a regular habit with me.

Bhundi spread the free end of her saree on the floor and lay down over it. She began thinking.  What was her future, who knows? She saw the three generations and slogged for them in this house. She was always available all day. Let things go their own way. The only  concern was that Shaku should be married into a good, family.  That is no great difficulty. Without any outside help, I have married off five girls! Their present joys and sorrows are according to their fate! The third girl died after giving birth to Shaku.  I did not want the child to miss her mother’s absence and brought her up myself.  Good that she grew up in the manner I wanted her to. Within two or three years I must find a husband for her. That should not be difficult for me. She is good looking, slightly dark girl. But attractive enough for anybody will turn around to look at her!

Just a moment..…Bhundi laughed by herself- Why are you in such a hurry? The girl is only seventeen and you are worried about her marriage!

Quickly Bhundi got up and sat down- Did I oversleep? What is the time now? She glanced outside.  Seeing the play of shadows and sunlight, she concluded that it must be three or four o’clock in the evening. She got up and saw that Kamath’s  wife was making tea in the kitchen.  She went to the pond, took water in both her hands and washed her face. After going home, must take Shaku to the doctor. Whenever I am leaving the house, she complains of a terrible headache. Again and again she complains of this headache! When I come in the morning, she will be lying down complaining of pain.  God alone knows what has happened, how can I wake her up? But whilst returning, there is no sign of her headache. But can I leave it like that? Must show the doctor. After all within a few years, she must go to another house – after marriage!  Then her in-laws should not blame me!

Bhundi went to the kitchen and Kamath’s wife gave her tea. Gulping it down, Bhundi asked:

‘Can I leave now?’

‘Now!?’Kamath’s wife asked surprised, ‘Why so soon, today?’

‘I have to go, madam, My child has been complaining of headache and has stayed behind alone at home’.

‘If Shaku gets headaches from time to time,  show her to a Vaidya.’

‘Today I am going to take her to a doctor.’

‘Wait, Bhundi,’ Kamath’s wife went and took a vessel, filled it with afternoon’s rice, put a small vessel of curry, added pickles to it, closed it, and  packed pappad in a banana leaf and gave it to Bhundi. Bhundi  carefully balanced the vessel on her left shoulder as usual and said, ‘ Bye,  Madam’.

The evening sun of four o’clock fell on her dark body  and flowed over her wrinkled skin.  As she walked on,  her long shadow closely followed her. She perspired  slightly because of the sunlight falling on her body. But the sun was not burning her skin. That felt better.

The children were  playing on the road. They  did not stop  give way even on seeing Bhundi. Not bothering, she went forward. Behind her, she could  hear their cheerful voices and laughter which reached her inner soul.

While crossing the road, the shadow near her feet moved to one side. In front of her she saw Lord Hanuman’s temple. Why should she not go there and prostrate before the Lord?….. Let me go there now. The door of the temple was not yet open. If I wait for it to open, it will be late. I will pray from outside itself.

On reaching there, she took the vessel off her shoulder, kept it down, joined her hands to pray, closed her eyes – Oh, Lord. Keep me safe and secure, Lord Hanumantha………Give my son the right wisdom…..Oh Lord, let him get a job soon……keep my daughters always prosperous so that they are never hungry…help them, help everybody’.

As  Bhundi bent down to lift the vessel,  she remembered that the ‘holy water’  the tirth of the God’s morning  flows into a pit- I should take some of it with me.  She sat down, removed the small vessel of curry from the big vessel of rice , poured it into the rice. She then wiped the little vessel clean with the edge of the  saree ). She then took the vessel of rice and the little vessel and went around the temple. Outside the right wall of the temple, the holy water of the Lord’s bath had fallen into a pit. She filled the little vessel with it – Oh Lord do cure my Shaku soon.  She is my only support.  I have only her and nobody else. Be my support always.

Her heart became lighter and she began to walk faster with greater enthusiasm. On nearing her hut, she knew that the front door would be closed. Her child would be sleeping. Bhundi’s heart was filled with fear. She thought of going in and patting gently her child’s forehead. Slowly, she tried to open the door- Yes. It was closed, the child was sleeping. I should not wake up a sleeping child. On her waking up, I will give her the Tirth. Bhundi quickly went to the back of her hut. The door there could be opened from outside itself. Holding the vessel with her left hand , she pushed the door open with her right hand and went in.

And Bhundi was shocked. Inside the room, she saw Shaku’s naked legs interlocked with those of a stranger  . The vessel on her shoulder fell down on the ground. The plantain leaf slipped away and the rice and curry splattered on the ground. The Tirth  from the tiny vessel fell and flowed away. She felt the impulse to take a piece of wood and crush both of them to death. But, her teary eyes  recognized the large birthmark on the legs which covered Shaku’s thighs. Bhundi turned into a stone.

gokul1954@gmail.com, amanush48@india.com

AKSHRA
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