అనువాదలహరి

A Film of Fog … Vamshidhar, Indian Poet

 “Oh, you are an MA?

Even those MSc’s and M. Com’s are lurching in the dark.

Want to become a teacher? Who cares for your Telugu?

The medium of instruction is only English here.

What? You want to be a government teacher?

Even the CM is ignorant when the DSC shall meet.

Till then how can you survive?

Chewing your poems? … Ha! Ha !!Ha!!!”

That was the head master of a techno school,

trudging the badge of MA M.Phil. after his name,

speaking to a poor job-seeking mendicant like me

struggling for a square meal …

.

It was a mistake…an awful mistake to cheat parents

to lay the foundation with lies, to a fragile morrow

one never knows when it would crumble.

With no pal to guide me

that a BA Telugu can’t fill my pocket

Worse still, to tell, an MA Telugu

can’t even buy a shirt with pockets,

I settled for an attendance in a speed bar

unable to beg in the land of Telugu,

after doing PG in Telugu

out of my craze for the language…

Then

 *

“Hey buddy, how long will it take?

Two Mansion House and one liver curry…”

“oy! What is the delay for, bastard?

What are you f….ing there?

Come on quick…y…o…u…”

I was just thinking whether he called

the name of my mother or sister…

He was an old customer.

But his swearing anew…

 ***

 “Hey Suri! Hello! Look here. It’s me, Mahati.

Didn’t you recognise me?

Pal, we were classmates in BA.

What are you doing here?”…Mahati

who did not care to hide her navel

in that Georgette sari.

After listening to my story…

“If you are forced here with no other option,

it is my vocation here.

Gender harassment is common everywhere.

Four years ago, I visited even Raj Bhavan.

Only one-day week…

that too, only if I like it…

at least a three-star hotel…

You see that Rhino over there in that Innova…

with him for today…

If you speak of tradition and society,

that society has long been my enemy

when it failed to find me a job for my education…

If some people can’t spend their nights without me,

it only means I am still welcome in society

My house is very near …

visit me on Sunday if you can make time…

That too if you don’t think I am a whore…

“… am a facultative Prostitute,

not an obligatory one you know”

Briefing the social transformation in just three minutes

and making my nascent respect for her

grow multifold instantly,

Mahati got into the Innova.

“Looking more beautiful than last time…

like lady nature personified…

Should I wait till Sunday to meet her…?

Getting a feel of love… for the first time…

Is this ‘that’ really?”

*

By the time I reached her home on Sunday,

There was a skirmish with a Marwari in his fifties…

“Why, aren’t you aware that should repay the loan

the day you took money from me?

If you don’t pay me by day after tomorrow

I shall collect it even by playing a pimp;

That anyway, is your way, bitch!”

He was shouting at her,

painting the walls of her house with his Zarda spittle.

“Speak civil!  Else, we complain against you to police.

Do you think she is helpless?”

I found a hitherto unknown boldness in me

coming to her rescue…

“Oy, hero! Who are you? Her customer, or her husband?

She has to pay me three lakhs. Can you pay me?

Every bastard speaks in her support.

You whore! Remember …

day after tomorrow… three lakhs… bye”

Rubbing the last trace of the spittle on the door…

the Marwari had left.

As the growing silence was distancing us

building a bridge of unfamiliarity between,

“Suri! Please get in.  I am used to these things.

To pay my sister’s college fees that day

I could not find a better source than this fellow…

Do you know what happens the day after tomorrow?

All that the oldie could do is

to stomp on the rusted tambourine…

That’s all!”

I was amazed for a while

at her display of self-confidence

and speaking with such disarmingly natural laughter;

couldn’t help admiring it with a clap,

when she held my hands.

I was gauging the house

with my dirty masculine instincts…

“I am sorry; I should have asked you earlier.

Are you married?

Ha! Ha! I know you are not.

Else, you shouldn’t have been here

no sooner I had invited.

OK, will you marry me now? I am just kidding.

I am in no need of marriage; I need a man. That’s all!

By the way, those days weren’t you writing

poems and editorials  for periodicals?

What is this bloody bar attendance

without settling for that?

Are you interested in writing for cinemas?

Don’t worry, people have all started their careers

first as ghost writers

before they could read their names in the credits.

Tell me if you are interested…

there are many producers who die for me.”

Taking no notice of change of colors in my face,

She coursed the dry towel through her wet hair

making it damp;

picked the plastic sticker from the face of the mirror

and befriended  it to her forehead.

“Neither do I have the connections

to lobby for the poetry page in the magazines,

Nor have the mental strength

to run after the filmy people to hypothecate me.

All that I have is

the desire to do something in the present

to fill my belly for today.”

Has the world become lonely abandoning me?

Or, I became an alien to myself, forgetting about me?

Maybe, life is an enduring journey

In search of an ever eluding, invisible goal.

To my long-haunting question

Whether it was ice, or Varoodhini* that had melted

the ointment under the feet of Pravara*,

Mahati comfortingly took my hands into hers,

As though she were asserting it was only Varoodhini.

Carnal compulsions incite me

to turn this familiarity into experience…

Can anyone imagine a Platonic friendship

between a man and woman devoid of desires?

At least, can they prevent

such ideas cropping up in their mind?

Perhaps, impossible.

And can I be an exception to that?

“Ay, Suri? What are you woolgathering?

Entertaining some crazy ideas

as there is nobody around? Ha. Ha.

That is the way to wash basin.

Come on. I am so hungry.”

Drawing circles on her belly with her right hand,

Mahati reminded me of my forgotten childhood…

 “How is the food?

Definitely better than your hotel stuff.

I know you would turn up and prepared it myself.

Have that eggplant curry… Pal,

Do you know what an emaciated look you have?”

 “ Ma… Mahati! Will you marry me…

I ask you in all earnest

This moment we spend together…

Your laughter that reminds me

that I am still alive…

I want it forever…

I am so exhausted in life

that I can’t care to think about our past.”

“Suri! I am having aids.

Only the day before, I came to know of it.

Other than by sleeping with me,

you won’t get it by dining together.

That is why I invited you.

Perhaps I should have informed you before.

I am sorry. I was afraid

that you might change your opinion about me.

Now tell me if you still want to marry me?”

There was no expression  in her face.

Whether it was fear,

or the despair of the carnal appetite

that the desire can’t be fulfilled for the today,

the morsel in the mouth had become unpalatable

and the silence devoured

the words within the gullet…

“Suri! Please speak something.

Thinking about what?

To know where your stand,

or, which side you should take

to the unfathomable abyss

that divides the values and reforms

you sermonize in your poems

and your unconquerable realities of life

you run away from?

Should silence be your answer,

please see me no more.

I don’t know how I returned to my room

or how I was able to drag my feet…

that night I made a bonfire of all my work

written under the false impression

that I knew everything….

After that,

there never occasioned a compelling reason

that prompted me write again.

And that was the last time I saw Mahati…

I went up to her house any number of times,

but returned as I failed to muster enough courage…

But, that was a conversation I cherish so much….

***

“You idiot!

You served the order of this table on the next.

Has your commonsense been f…ked?”

Some new customer,

rewarding me for my absentmindedness…

I still believe

that Mahati must be watching me

from somewhere…

As the stream of consciousness whirl in my mind…

bidding to rend the films of fog

under the shade of loneliness or some isolation

to wail…  without empathy

or laugh … a casual laugh

in my wonted way,

and as simple as ever,

I abandon this world

and go all alone.

.

Vamshidhar.

Dr. Vamshidhar Reddy
Dr. Vamshidhar Reddy

(Notes: * Varoodhini : Is the   Gandharva damsel and heroine of the story “Swarochisha Manu Sambhavamu (The story about the birth of Swarochisha Manu)”a noted work by Peddana, of the Court of Sri Krishna Devaraya, of Vijayanagar .

*Pravara: Is a devout Brahmin who has a fascination to see the Himalayas and with the help of a yogi’s ointment to his feet, and the instruction to return back before it melts, visits Himalayas for few hours.  He fails to notice it melting away having lost himself in the wonders of the Himalayas.  He stumbles upon Varoodhini while searching for some divine help to get back home before sunset. Varoodhini, who falls in love with him the moment she sees him, delays his departure. Finally with the blessings of Lord Agni he gets back home.  The twist of the story is that a Gandharva,  who  loves Varoodhini but whose love she refuses, comes to know of her affections for Pravara and consummates his love by impersonating Pravara. )

The Telugu Original:  మంచు తెర

Meghasandesam (a stream of consciousness poem) … Vamshidhar Reddy

.

Oh! It looks it might rain any time.
When two oppositely-charged clouds interact
What reaches us first, thunder or lightning?
velocity of sound is lesser than light, they say…
Where is my bava?
Thanks to Einstein…

Clouds are veritable thieves, no doubt.
Stealing water from the sea, and amassing,
get heavy, lazy and lame
and vomit it on us…
Tat! Why doesn’t a good simile strike me ever?

There it is, the first drop of rain
tumbling down with terminal velocity
thinking of breaking some head.
Why does a rain drop take the shape of a sphere?
Maybe, to reduce its surface tension,
Otherwise, won’t it break down to smithereens?
Perhaps, this is what they meant
when they said life is but a bubble.

Charge! Prepare for the battle!
Reminding the music of war scenes in a movie;
Filling nostrils with the scent of first drops on earth
comes rain pouring down heavily.
How many houses might have caved in?
And how many people might have died, who knows?
The Mahabharata story of Rock Pigeon Jarita
And her son Jaritari flashed in my memory for once
and touched a chord somewhere.

News item flashes in the dailies next day:
“Rain sweeps away nine lives…
Heavy rains lead to cholera in agency…
Farmers left high and dry.”
Ranganayakamma should be informed
that rain is a bourgeois,
for, all ills somehow, converge only to BPL.

As for me
I fondled the drizzle with my fingers
through the balcony grills,
blissfully taking tea with Pakodi(1)
and humming a childhood rhyme; or,
was leaving paper boats in the streams; or,
entertaining dirty ideas about taking advantage of rain
chewing the sweetcorn to the limits in the eat-street
with the girl friend; or,
draining down the 90 ml,
dipped in the KFC or sand-witched by the MacD burger
was pretending my share of grief
for the devastation caused by the rain.

You Lord of the clouds! Just one request!
Please give your priority to villages, not to towns.
Otherwise, we don’t get anything to eat.

“You fool!” he replied
“Your towering buildings,
and the signal towers in towns,
the dust and pollution …
stop, trap and harvest my water
What is there in a village…after all
neither a tree nor house worth mentioning.
Take note, fellow!
Your globalization has boomeranged on you!”

It was like a modern version of “Meghasamdesam”
unveiling a universal truth.
.

———————————————————————————————————–

Notes:

Bava:  first Cousin;This is with reference to a famous rain song from a Telugu movie of yester years Malleeswari starring NTR and Bhanumathi. Follow the link to hear the song.

Jarita and Jaritari : Mother and son Rock birds, respectively, from a story from the Mahabharata. When they are surrounded by wild forest fire created by Arjuna in the Khandava forest, the mother-word would grieve for her helplessness to protect its younglings. When she suggests them to save their lives hiding in an opening, then Jaritari tells his mother that it would be pragmatic  to risk a possible death from a probable death, since there in the opening lives a rat that would eat them away if they have tried to hide there.

Ranganayakamma: A noted short story writer and novelist, with leftist ideology. For more details the link can be followed.

BPL: Below Poverty Line, a statistical measure employed by governments to help poor people.

Meghasamdesam is a Classic Sanskrit work by Kalidasa wherein an accursed Yaksha condemned  for separation for a year sends a message to his wife through the Lord of Clouds. However, it has no such overtones here. It is not a message through, but message by a Cloud.

(1) Pakodi is an afternoon snack prepared with Bengalgram / Besan Flour and onion, and  is normally taken with tea ( some people particularly prefer it when it rains.)

———————————————————————————————————-

.

Photo Courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/vamshidhar.reddy.

Vamshidhar Reddy

Dr. Vamshidhar Reddy (1986) hails from Gajwel, Andhra Pradesh. A student of Osmania Medical college, Hyderabad, he is now preparing for his PG study.  He has a blog:  https://www.facebook.com/VamshiKavanaVanam.  Contemporary images, satire, novelty of expression are his forte.

(The present poem runs on the stream of consciousness technic.  Interestingly, he uses exactly the same comparison what Mayura, another great Sanskrit poet in his Surya Satakam does… that the Clouds suffer from the disease of excessive drawl of water from earth’s water resources and vomit it during the Rainy season.

I think remembering Ranganayakamma garu during the course of poem when the poor are always put to suffering and calling Clouds bourgeois is perhaps the best part of the poem. There is no disrespect meant for that reputed marxist-feminist writer.

And in the end, the message is clear and straight… warning about fall-outs of our globalization.)

.

మేఘసందేశం

వానొచ్చేట్టుంది,
పొలారిటీ మేఘాల్రెండు కొట్టుకు చస్తే
ఉరుము ముందా, మెరుపు ముందా,
ధ్వని వేగం కాంతికన్నా చాలా తక్కువట,
ఏడ తానున్నాడో…
థాంక్స్ టు ఐన్ స్టీన్…

మేఘాల్నిజంగా దొంగలే,
సంద్రపు నీటిని దోచి, దాచి,
బరువెక్కి, కదల్లేక,
మన మీదే వాంతిచేస్కుని,
ఛ, ఒక్క మంచి పోలికా దొరకదెందుకో,

అదిగో తొలి చినుకు,
టర్మినల్ వెలాసిటీ తో,
ఎవడి తల పగలగొట్టాలా అనాలోచిస్తూ,
చినుకు గోళంగానే ఎందుకుంటదో,
సర్ఫేస్ టెన్షన్ని తగ్గించుకోడానికేమో,
లేపోతే, పగల్దూ,
జీవితం నీటిబుడగంటే ఇదేనేమో,

ఆక్రమణ్, దాడి చేయండి, ప్రిపేర్ ఫర్ ద బాటిల్,
సినిమాల్లో వార్ సీన్స్ మ్యూజిక్ గుర్తుచేస్తూ,
కమ్మటి మట్టి వాసన ముక్కులోకి దూరుస్తూ,
జడి వాన..
ఎన్నిళ్ళు కూలాయో, ఎందరు చస్తారో,
“మాతృహృదయం”లో
జరిత, జరితారిల కన్వర్సేషన్ కళ్ళలో మెదిలి,
తడి తేలి..

పేపర్లో వార్త,
వర్షం ముంచిన తొమ్మిది ప్రాణాలు,
హెవీ రెయిన్స్ లీడ్ టు కలరా ఇన్ ఏజన్సీ,
వడగండ్లకు రైతు కడగండ్లు,
రంగనాయకమ్మ గారికి ఇన్ఫార్మ్ చేయాలి,
వాన బూర్జువా అని,
మరి కష్టాలన్నీ B.P.L కిందేగా,

నేను మాత్రం
బాల్కనీ గ్రిల్స్ లోంచి చినుకుల్ని చేత్తో తడుముతూ
తాదాద్మ్యంగా పకోడీ తో టీ తాగుతూనో,
వాన వల్లప్ప హమ్ చేస్తూ
కాలవల్లో కాగితప్పడవలొదుల్తూనో,
గర్ల్ ఫ్రెండ్తో ఈట్ స్ట్రీట్లో
మొక్కజొన్న పొత్తుల్ని స్కూప్స్ అంచుకు నముల్తూ
వర్షాన్నెలా అడ్వాంటేజ్ తీస్కోవాలా అని దరిద్రపాలోచన్లు చేస్తూనో,
నైన్టీ మి.లీ. గొంతులో పోసి
K.F.C బకెట్లో మునిగి, Mec.D బర్గర్లో నలిగి,
వర్ష విలయానికి నా వంతుగా ధారాళంగా బాధ నటిస్తూ..

మేఘమా, వన్ రిక్వెస్ట్,
నీ ప్రయారిటీ పల్లెకివ్వు, పట్నాలకొద్దు,
తిండి దొరకదు లేపోతే,

“ఒరేయ్, పిచ్చోడా,
పట్నంలో ఎత్తైన మేడలూ, సూదిలా టవర్లూ,
దుమ్మూ ధూళి, పొగా పొల్ల్యూషనుండి
నన్నాపి నీటిని కొల్లగొడ్తాయ్,
పల్లెలో ఏముంది, ఇల్లా, చెట్టా,
మీ గ్లోబలైజేషనే మీ కంట్లో పొడిచిందిరోయ్”
మోడర్న్ మేఘసందేశంలా,
విశ్వ రహస్యం విడిపిస్తూ,

కాళిదాసు,
మేం మేఘాలూ కబ్జా చేసామ్ మాష్టారు,
మీరు వేరే వస్తువు వెతుక్కోండి,
పిచ్చి పిచ్చిగా అరుస్తూ,
వర్షంలో తడుస్తూ
నా లాంటి పిచ్చోళ్ళు…

.
Vamshidhar Reddy

%d bloggers like this: