Mango Bites

A corf of Chalk


Caught in the chilling web of sagittal month
Time shivers in the bitter biting cold
Even in the congested cities
The foreyards of houses take a head bath
And get cleansed of their inured dirt

And before dawn
In chalky designs they get adorned
As if milky ways were spread out,
A swarm of swans were floating away,
And seem a queen’s entourage
Has been sojourning in that floral palanquin.
** ** **
And there in that remote corner of the village…
A leftover place after the city had engulfed
Every inch in its reach…on that half-quarried hillock
A hunch-backed old hag
Looking like a hackneyed moon,
Sapped of all energies
Labours in the pit in front
Herself ……becoming a fistful of hunger.

She anneals the bones bitten by cold with the rays of the sun
And becomes a machine to grind the hill to dust.
Filling up her basket with her labour
And bearing her life support overhead,
She march-pasts the six-bus stops distance for three hours.
Measuring distances in her accustomed way
Of the amount of sweat she perspires.
She bargains her appetite with the city dwellers
For a hunk of bread and few drops of tea
And satiates her hunger.

Positing the change in the navel
She retires for a nap under some wayside tree
Or some shade under the sun.
Reminiscing her experiences ripe as her chalky head,
Between those half asleep eye lids she shivers in fear all of a sudden
Fearing her fate if the city were to snatch even those
Remains of the hillock.

When it happens, wont the foreyards of houses pale away
Devoid of chalky designs
Like a queen divested of her decorations?


Original: Aduri Satyavathi Devi (Teulgu)
Translation: Nauduri Murthy