Mango Bites

Man of the Universe – Papineni SivaSankar

జూన్ 2015

1. Man of the Universe

Not physically challenged
But the one who challenges Physics
He that conquers the progressively destructive
Motor neuron with a constant exercise, of knowledge!
He that stabilizes with speech synthesizer,
The word that splits into sounds and bits
He that gives a strong heart
To every being who is physically challenged.
He is the expert swimmer who with thinking hands
Swims across the cosmic sea
He is the one who does all the aerobics
In pitch dark black hole of time unknown
He is the one who on the thin strings swings on
Atoms and unborn galaxies.
He is the one who visualizes a grand design
That can explain the infinite and endless time
That mires the universe
And refuses entry even to the grand God
Of the Universe who lives in faith.
Is he lame, no!
He is handsomest man of genius.
Stephen Hawking!
A true heir to Einstein!


2. The Flame of One Thousand Nights

I have burnt one thousand nights for one sentence
In the cradle of whose comfort the infant sleeps
The rope that helps man to pull himself out of the deep canyon
To reach the summits of the mountains,
The call of that brings back the departing life to the body.
In the deserts of ocean’s waves, in the sandy seas of the deserts
In the sky of the forest trees, in the cloudy forests of the sky
The sentence that reverberates
The sentence that invites creatures from alien lands
The sentence that disarms all hands
The sentence that fills itself with kindness, completing it
The sentence that forms the invisible thread in garland that adorns earth’s threshold
Binding those who differ in looks, appearances, colour and blood,
For the birth of that one sentence I died thousand times.

I entered into every human being, accepted the anguish of man
Suffering with them and discovered the root of suffering
By being angry with them found the root of anger
Facing death, I conquered the fear of death
I am born again now as that one sentence an atom with a fountain of life-
A Sentence that can never be burnt or destroyed.

Sentence is my hereditary trait
The shape that has my features stamped
Like small atoms and cool flames
It ignites and spread within
Synchronizing flesh and blood
With mesmerizing and graceful moves
The creature that stands before me and talks is
A new being with a wonderful body.

One day I will not be here, my sentence will remain
Sentence will not stay but the generations that imbibed it will be!
Generations will pass on, but the world lives on.
From the silent pond of the universe another great work of art emerges.
It will enfold the entire creation under its wings
Like love infinite
Like bird, compassionate!


3. A Song of the Sword

He wanted to write his love letter with a sword
As witness to two thousand years of barbarism
It was written on her throat.
Love or die is the new slogan
That echoes in the human jungles.
On society’s forehead a scar of blood, like a tilak.
Half closed eyes, imaginary swings, the fragrances of dreams on pillows
Sweet pampering from mother, henna on the hands
Gold palaces of the future – all lay shattered
Only the silence of death
For a sister not connected by blood, for a daughter
My soul weeps, my letters weep
Tears are the weakness of the muse.
Buds, do not blossom,
Flowers nip off the colored fragrances
In a world which cannot tolerate the song of
The natural blossoming
It is a crime not to fall before you reach your youth
Green belts do not survive on sandy soil.
Talli, my mother, you should have been born a tree
No one lusts after a tree
You should have been born an animal
They do not go for sexual assaults
Man and only man can hunt and harass
The beauties of the world
It is only man all around
Wherever you look like ants out of ant holes
Men, men and men only!
Everything is fearless
We think only darkness begets sins
But the deserts in the cities and humiliations in public!
Independence for the swords alone
The hardened rocks that can not
Be touched by sorrow and suffering
The many, powerless, tolerate everything around
The intellectuals read new meanings
It is all darkness amidst light!

What a cinema which has closed its nine openings[1] do
Other than releasing its sperm in the immature minds
What can justice and security rings do
Other than guarding the criminals all their lives
What can rights bodies do
Other than shedding tears for the rights of the accused
What can one poem washed in the fire of pain do
In the dark and ignorant human jungles
Other than handing the weapon of anger
To mitigate the ghosts of fear from the still and
Graceful forms of women!


4. Along with Bottu…

Has erased her face along with her bottu
From flowers
From laughter
From her hopes
From the existence of people
From pasupu- kumkum
From the greenness of life
They ostracized her, mercilessly
For her no sweet thoughts, no goose bumps like dew drops
No fragrances from henna painted hands,
No muggu -patterns drawn with rice flour on the threshold, of her dreams

People said thus:
Poor lady, she lost her husband
The string of her veena with sacred notes, is broken.
Everyone and every comfort is a distant reality for her now.
She is bad omen for them if they see her face.
She is another word for darkness now.

She is an outpouring tears on the cheeks of society
A nonstop downpour from the depressing clouds
She is the criminal who has not committed a crime.
In fact society is a big bad omen for her.
Whenever she walks outside
She erases her own footprints as she goes along.
She never lifts her head, her eyes are rooted to the ground
She walks sliping behind many unseen questions.

If one lamp is snuffed out should we extinguish the other?
If one man dies should another’s existence end?
What about the life between having a bottu
And not having it?

I wish I come across one face without bottu everyday
Fearless and frankness should be her high brows
I wish someone would put a bottu between those brows
With love.

Bottu: A red/vermillion dot on the forehead of Indian/hindu women. It is indicative of her marital status and of the fact that her husband is alive. A woman is not supposed to wear it if she is a widow. In a ritual after the husband’s death the bottu on a woman’s forehead is erased. It is to be noted that this bottu does not come with marriage as girls wear it even before marriage right from their childhood, through their adolescence but are forced lose it once a husband dies.
pasupu- kumkum: Turmeric and kumkum with which vermillion mark is made on the forehead
Muggu: Muggu is pattern drawn on the threshold with rice flour to protect the house from evil eye.

Translated by: Kallury Syamala
Original: Papineni Shivashankar (పాపినేని శివశంకర్)
Titles of the Original Poems:
1. విశ్వనరుడు
2. వెయ్యి రాత్రుల జ్వాల
4. బొట్టుతో బాటు
(‘ఒక ఖడ్గం ఒక పుష్పం’ అనే సంకలనంలోంచి)