Puja holidays draw near.
Sunshine is draped in the colour of Champa flower.
The air ripples with dew,
Shiuli’s fragrance lingers
like the delicate caress of someone’s cool hands.
White clouds make the sky lazy—
seeing which, the mind becomes laid-back.
Mastermoshai continues to teach
the primitive story of coal
While a student sits on the bench and paddles his feet,
his mind awash with images—
The cracked ghat of Kamal pond,
And the fruit-laden custard apple tree of the Bhanjas.
And he sees in his mind’s eyes, the zigzag path
that leads from the milkmen’s neighbourhood
by the side of the haat,
into the tishi fields, next to the river.
During the economics class at college
the bespectacled, medal-winning student
jots down a list–
which recent novel to buy,
which shop will give on credit—
the sari with the “Do Remember” border,
shakha washed in gold,
a pair of red velvet chappals, handcrafted in Dilli
and a silk cloth-bound poetry book,
printed on antique paper—
the title of which eludes him.
At the three-storied house in Bhabanipur
a melange of shrill, hoarse voices talk—
This time will it be MountAbu or Madurai,
Dalhousie or Puri,
or that ever familiar Darjiling?
And I see, on the auburn path that leads to the station
five or six lambs tethered with ropes,
their helpless cry rending
the calm autumn sky that lilts with brushing kaash flowers.
How do they know
their puja holidays are nigh?
Mastermoshai = Respectful term for teacher (Bengali)
Ghat = Bank
Haat = Weekly village market
Tishi = Linseed
Shakha = White bangle made of a particular stone. Is worn by married Bengali women.
Chappal = Footwear
Translated by: Bhaswati Ghosh