Bhagiratha’s Bounty and Other poems-13

English Translation: T.S. Chandra Mouli

Telugu Original : Kandukuri Sreeramulu 

13. Goa

Like an ant climbing on a snake’s back
I boarded the train.
As ant crawls, snake slithers
stretching neck, with hissing hood.
Kacheguda to Yashwantpur express
traversing through
Guntakal, Hubli, Dharwad, Londa, Madgaon
train performs disco dance till reaching Vasco.

Railways outlook different entirely
what’s ahead, what has been passed unknown
looks like Russell viper with wings of light
windows on either side kept wide open
it’s a world that rolls.
As one meets strangers in shops
here too new faces greet
diverse back grounds
varied faiths
different countries
incessant journey like a row of ants on the move—
if the world is elliptical in shape
the world of railways is like a river bank
ships, aero planes survive
selling land mass
train performs gymnastics trusting ground.
So long as the journey continues follow
myriad shades of stink and scent
inhaling varieties of smell,
exhaling similarly
she runs as a cluster of clouds.

Rural pond, salty sea
elegance of tree beside the bund
naked body in the lap of beach
‘Baagaa’ beach lap shimmers with lighted lamps
just as the sun at dusk emerging  at dawn.

A young lady
moves like banded Krait among colorful umbrellas
crescent a mermaid
in the sea a day before full moon night.
As she raises two hands
when two stars and a moon appear in sky
inability to reach the sky in a trice
is not cowardice or craziness.
When viewed with sunny eyes
charm of fishes shimmering on waves,
pirouetting prettiness learnt from the sea
stretching to the horizon envelop
charming curves of sea,
cloud covering the crescent
as a part of sari covering bosom
is an unfading painting—

A tree on one side, sea on the other side
in torn blouse under the tree
crescent’s mesmerizing moonlight,
warm hug of a new shoot
and tumbling love sliding like
grains of sand in gentle sunshine
differ not much.
Foreigners’ love, Indians’ love—
love remains same anywhere
charisma of love can’t be concealed among rollers
nor among tree leaves
if not on second day or the third
crescent unfolds on its own!

Sky is the mother
and earth the child—
as they look at one another
fresh butter of fondness flows fascinatingly.

As one teaches archery
breakers on Anjuna beach,
surges surf as a torrent on three sides
it’s like Shiva opening his third eye.
Water can’t be held in palms, nor relaxes in rivers
won’t even rest for a while in the abyss.
Sea is like throbbing pulse of crores of men
who turned into embodiments of blare—
heart a wave, caged bird is sea!

As one walks on ground, they are there in sea
they are aero planes in flight across dynamic wind
sea staggers like people in shore bar
every moment Anjuna beach is munched by sea.
Unless one knows Konkini language
tinkle of bells on ankles of waves not audible
bracelets on dancing wrists remain invisible,
only those knowing spirit of the beach
can converse with spray of sea,
making a garden out of sea shore
can’t touch each leaf, every flower—

Anjauna beach is hustle and bustle of wedding
under canopy of sky,
it is a parachute tied to a boat on sea
like a baby tossed up by a mother.

Here earth is mother
sky the child.
Whatever it is, however
association is a kite in touch with string in hand.
As long as the charkha in hand whirls
happily in the sky
kite keeps flying fabulously—

Dated one craves for novelty
whether it is bark or bird tries to look good
soaked in rain one, sucking in rain another.
Whether it is a rare cloud or lilt of love
longs for novel vigor.
In return journey met a doctor from England
her name was Dr Lorna Donnelly.
We got down from berths, initiated conversation
four of us like four directions
like a star she was in Centre.
With a jasmine like smile she narrated
completing sentences sequentially
describing her life and tour—

If only bonds are there, smog is cleared
amity blooms as a blossom between strangers,
had she known poetry
we would have shared ideas for a while.
But she knows psychology
so we opened up to share,
as she was a psychiatrist, grasped our modesty.
Whether it is India or England
nation not so significant
people dwelling there matter most
their noble nature impresses.
How modest! How sweet was she
unwrapped book of England page wise
moving from Vasco to Hyderabad in India.

We know not nuances of accent in Telugu
her English accent was beyond our ken,
but some nectar like words we understood.
That’s enough to stir poetry in me,
opening her heart as oxygen she spoke
we filled our hearts, renewed our lives!

chuckles galore…
Marine beauty of eyes of fish
with sun baths, body odor of foreigners
climate was contaminated as a whole.

Fleeing from whirl wind,
a dragonfly I am,
among white woolly dogs
a bunny I am.
As a minor canal joining a river
to merge in sea finally, I don’t desire.

Unable to bear your bear hug
I have escaped this way…
find not fault, bring not boat.
My legs used to walk on ground
can neither fly in sky
nor wander in nether world.
I for one who loved rural sweat as rose water
don’t wish to be awash in tidal wave of briny sea.
Very little water only
on digging ground spring sates thirst
what use three fourths of water, anyway?

A little water suffices
for glow to sprout in eyes
for sprinkling on fatigued face
to make my heart’s thirst infinite
to seep in ground to emerge as a shoot of paddy
on evaporation to dazzle as a cloud in sky
to become river on turning into rain drop.
Pure water on addition to anything
neither slips in nor gets clotted.
Having become miniscule mercury
escaped as a fly,
I mounted forehead of elephant, the ocean—
enough of friendship with you


(To be continued-)

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