Sourav Roy


Everywhere I look
I see my people die
Memories perish
Conversations disappear casting a silent shadow
And I shudder to think
If we made better servants
Than we do as free men.

An incessant fall, from a great height
Taken amiss
For a soaring flight?

The baffling harmony,
The confounding concord,
Dynamic equilibrium!
Are we weary of the glaring spotlight of our success?
Is darkness enveloping our individual selves,
Mistaken for collective luminescence?

While we rose to touch the peaks,
The mountains sank to meet us.
But did we stop to question,
If this arduous, break-back journey
Was an ascent to the apex
Or a slide to the base?

We have been up and running
With no reach or goal;
Life seems to have stalled, in the moment between
The water breaching the embankments
And swallowing the house whole;
Here, in this moment
Neither scream nor silence; there is,
Like, in the instant after a knock;

(Translated by – Vidya Bhandarkar)

Image on the Window

Events outside
Also unfold within

My head is a tree
Perched on which a bird sings
Clothes drying on a wire is my hair
The wind that flows through, moistens
My eyelashes are leaves
I watch them as they fall

A river darts out of my hand
And my feet are clad in rural alleys

The sound of the window not cracking are my ears
My nose is a fly
That hovers over a cow in the faraway grazing field

My entire existence
Is an empty swing
Whose shadow rustles on the underneath grass

And witnessing it all are my eyes
A wayfarer
Passes through the outside
Peeping within.

(Translated by the poet)

The Wedding Photographer

Everywhere his lens turns
Dozing guests break into a smile
The hymn-chanting pandit hits a higher note
The bride and the groom, the uncles and the aunts, and their tots
Alerted, strike a casual pose.
A whisper ripples through – “A detective of time!
He bears witness to the past.”
Eyes swim for a while
And in a blink
He traps the moment, as if it were
A thief taking to his heels.

People ponder – Did I grin like a fool?
Did I shut my eyes?
(Here lurk the proverbial ghosts from the past)

Piqued by his catch
He grumbles
Curvature, exposure and tint get a mouthful
He mulls over each angle with care
Mister’s neck gets a micro tilt
Fidgeting children, a shushing
Women, a push to the fore
A thought three hundred sixty degrees wide
He encapsulates into five-by-seven inches
A task so profound and convoluted.

At the Bidaai too, he hovers on the fringes
A flash, he strikes at the father’s gloom
The mother’s rush of tears, he captures with delight
The camera weeps, the assembly weeps
The bride and the groom, the uncles and the aunts, and their tots weep too
The daughter leaves behind, he knows, an empty negative reel
He hoards memoriesConspicuous by his absence
He sculpts moments
That will spread cheer for ages.

Stealthy, light footed
Looking down a peephole of nostalgia
He pipes up
“Smile Please!”

(Translated by - Vidya Bhandarkar)


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