English Poetry


Chirag Jain

Translated from Hindi by Amrita Bera

Guddi’s father
during the office lunch hours
closes his eyes while
opening his tiffin box,
because he cannot look
at the chapattis,
bearing the brunt of
the holed tawa.
An honest clerk
cannot understand
the game of destiny,
that’s why he gulps down
the holed, burnt chapattis.
Guddi, most of the days
reaches late to the school
and she doesn’t make any
mistake in that.
Because the rules of the school are:-
For the late comer students
two lashes of staff were enough,
and for dirty uniform
even four lashes were less.
Utilizing her intelligence
Guddi saves herself from
the bonus lashes,
because the uniform supervisor
of the school, doesn’t check the
dresses of the students,
who came late.
Guddi’s mother
more than often
remains irritated.
The whole day she keeps grumbling.
For small-small things,
her heart keeps languishing.
When she feels herself helpless,
She keeps cursing Guddi & her father.
“Oh! God, never ever give
such a child to anyone.
Girl! Can’t you give me some poison?
Atleast I’ll be saved of screaming
the whole day.
Atleast I’ll be saved from fretting
for this family.
What a hell is this living?
Just giving rupees two thousand
for running the house,
He thinks he has done some
great thing.
He changes a pair of clothes
twice in a week.
As if his father and ancestors
are running factories.
So is the off spring
As if under the spell of a witch,
while cleaning the utensils,
scrubs the tawa hard with
the piece of brick.
All this rubbing has made holes
in the tawa.
She doesn’t realize
a tawa is a tawa,
but it’s our destiny
Which is bleak as the black colour.”
When I watch this standing far
I find poverty – the demon Sursa
Who has swallowed the motherly
feelings of a mother.
The nails of adversities have nailed,
the childhood of an innocent child, forever.
Guddi fearing her mother
Covers the torn chunni (scarf)
Into it’s folds.
Mother hides the poverty of the house
Into the barely covering saree of hers.
Guddi’s father seeing all this
breaks down into pitiable sobs.
An honest clerk, in an offense of honesty
Can do nothing else than
Shedding tears.

Click here to read the original poetry in Hindi

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