Tuesday, June 9, 2009


In Delhi’s cold
I recall my mother,
the first warmth
that had enveloped me.

I could not take mother to Kasi,
not even her lullaby.
That remorse keeps a compartment
in every train that shuttles
between Delhi and Benares.

Standing on the banks
of the Ganga with my companion
I thought: I could have brought
mother’s ashes for Ganga.

There was no shortage of ashes,
nor of dead bodies there;
but mother had lived
and died in Malayalam.
‘Ram nam sach hei’ would have
turned her an alien.

Yet the Lord knew her
with her coolness.
Didn’t she hide in that
unoiled matted hair?*
Here, she flows in front of me
Let me wash my feet in her
It may not expiate my sins
But it is cool like affection, soiled.

Reaching home in Delhi
I open the tap:
Here comes Ganga, purified.
How did mother manage
to pass through this pipe?

“O, I took a magic potion: Death.
Now I can take any shape,
can go anywhere.”

I scooped her up in my hands:
And was cooled,
In Delhi’s heat.

(Translated from the Malayalam by the poet)

*Remember Siva hiding Ganga in his tangled hair.


Bonnie Bonsai said...

This is very touching and nostalgic memory of the death of your beloved mother. I like the metaphorical ending of her life to a water. No wonder you can't take her to Kasi.

mridula pradhan said...

very touching,beautiful poem.

ശ്രീനാഥന്‍ said...

once you put it upside down ' what remains after the translation is poetry!' yes sir, the poem is in tact!