Udayan Thakker

Udayan Thakker is a post modern Indian poet writing in Gujarati. English translations of his poems have appeared in: 'Poetry' magazine (Chicago)' Young Indian Poets' (Editor: K Satchidanandan) 'Digest of West Indian Languages' (Sahitya Akademi), 'Indian Literature', 'Modern Gujarati Poetry' 'Modern Indian Poetry'(Editor: E V Ramakrishna) 'Breath Becoming Word' (Government of Gujarat) 'Beyond the Beaten Track' (Gujarati Sahitya Parishad) and 'Stand' (Leeds).
A volume of English translations of his poems has been published by Onslaught Press, England.
A book of Japanese translations of his poems has been published by JUNPA. Udayan has recited poetry at about 25 places in U.S.A. (including at Harvard College, MA), Antwerp, London, Kenya, Dubai, Muscat, and Lisbon. His first book of poems was prescribed as a textbook at SNDT University, Mumbai. Two of his books have received the award of 'Best Poetry Collection of the Year' (by Gujarat State Sahitya Acadamy, & Gujarati Sahitya Parishad.) He writes a weekly column on world poetry in the newspaper 'Janmabhumi'. Udayan is Editor of poetryindia.com


”Let Papa teach you,
What family is”
I said to my daughter
And started asking questions.

“What’s your name baby?”
“Richa” she hesitated, “Richa Thakker”
“Whose pet are you?”
“Mama …. Thakker”
“Who’s your horsey?”
“Papa …. Thakker”

Tring… Tring ….
Enter a bicycle laden with laundry
“Washerman!” Daughter’s face lit up
“Washerman …. Thakker!”

A bird for who a grain is granary
Was surfing the winds
Daughter tweeted “Birdie …. Thakker!”

Dear daughter, you have taught me
What family is

(Translated from Gujarati by the Poet)

Fancy Dress

After forty years we met
- buddies from our school days.

At the fancy dress party
One is dressed as Humpty Dumpty
Another, Robin Hood.
Susan as Cinderella, Bob as a headmaster.
And me? The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Without make up, mind you!

“Remember that loo, guys, on the first floor?
Someone had drawn a line on the wall
And scribbled: If you can sprinkle upto here
Go join the fire brigade!”

Frederick, the Fatso?
How the Science teacher had dressed him down.
“What’s with the blank book?”
Freddie said, “Sir, you wrote on the blackboard,
I copied it in my book,
Then you wiped it clean..."

Freddie used to open a bottle of Coke with his bare teeth.
He dare not laugh now
For fear his dentures may fall out.

And Paul! He knew times tables backwards
Today he can’t remember his name.

Susan used to laugh like wedding bells!
A spinster yet she is.

And Carl, the high jumper!
…jumped from the ninth floor.

Helen used to wear a butterfly on her blouse.
She now has one breast.

We party till midnight
For a while…

Under the mask of childhood…
We cheat death.

(Translated from Gujarati by the Poet)

Jumma Masjid

In the marble mosque of Anhilvad
Built by Alap Khan
There are so many pillars
So many many pillars
Worshipers count and forget
As they count

-Twenty in each row, four such rows
-And what of the one fifty there?
-They were added later
-They do not count
-Count again from this pillar
- Maulvi’s is the final word

Devout ones wash their hands, feet, face
Get ready for prayer
They are at it again
Each offers his own calculation
Counting the beads
Counting the beads
Counting and recounting

In the marble mosque of Anhilvad
Built by Alap Khan
There are so many pillars
So many many pillars
Worshipers count and forget
To pray

(Translated from Gujarati by Pratishtha Pandya)


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