Author: Nana Patekar (Published in Loksatta on Sunday, 19th May 2013)
Translation: Sandeep Meher
There were only alphabets in the dream.
Unknowingly, started tracing them with fingers.
Didn’t realise when the earlier letters had started moving on their own.
There was just a jumble of letters.
A B C D did not have an existence on their own.
It had to be words.
Words that grew with self.
Or the self that grew with the words.
Unknowingly, these words teach you.
And it is beautiful because it is not known.
Everything is unknown when one learns the A B C D.
Anger, love… everything.
Everything happened before deciding. It was the age.
There was no caste, class or colour. Everything was pure.
Not bothered about investment. Not interested in interest.
It ended with small quarrels. In a moment.
Today, A B C D is forgotten.
Forgotten or lost?
Everything’s getting lost in this town?
Air has been lost, rain has been lost,
Sunshine has lost its gentleness.
The infertile sky just has one cloud to make it up…
One which seems like a lost sheep from its herd.
A weak flutter, that remains of the birds in the tree on the corner.
Colourful ants, spread all over the place, in the shape of human beings.
Barren mountain, under siege from the embers strewed by the sun.
A dry leaf, lifted up by a dust devil, momentarily
Again lying in the dust.
Tarred roads are lazing shamelessly with injuries on their bodies.
There are tombs of ideals built in every square.
True faces cannot be seen now behind the veils of religion.
Everybody a crony. Bending and kneeling for favours and kickbacks.
And that is why faces have been replaced by arses.
Flesh trade is numero uno.
Caged parrots are happy though. No need to worry about the daily meals.
Pimping has a esteemed status.
Gangs are ruling here.
I don’t have a big heart to say
‘Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’.
I am carrying the crucifix on my own shoulders.
Cursing along the way.
There are throngs of people on the river banks for salvation of the dead.
Crows are in demand. But those ***** are conceited,
no time to complete the ritual.
The dead, though, are held on the gates of the heavens.
The ghost is getting on the nerves with his new tales.
Would like to throw away the burden.
But I fear if the head will shatter in hundred pieces.
Breathing has lost its rhythm.
Suddenly there’s a spasm and the throat becomes dry.
I quench my thirst looking at the tears in the eyes of others.
Everybody around is as miserable as me, that’s the only consolation to live.
Light has gone. Shadow of darkness is deeper still.
Horizon has gone far.
Strange sounds from the unknown seems to tell something;
But I cannot understand,
I have lost the sense of time.
It seems the blue-throated one has spit the poison from the churning.
Ailing almighty is counted among the invalids.
Gods have a rate card, have lost their value.
I die everyday, but why do I fear of death?
All slaves to the powerful.
Gang leaders have shared us among themselves to gulp.
They have five years to ruminate.
Far away in the mountainous forests, there are gathering
Some hapless victims, supporting each other.
They are also forming their gangs.
“Will that mountain air suit me?”
I question myself everyday and suffocate here.
Everything’s being lost slowly in the crowd here…
Need to trace the alphabets again.