Divik Ramesh
 

Grand Journey


Only you will quench my thirst
O, River
I am only an ocean
With unfathomable thirst.

You have flown unabated
To reach me
I will embrace you
O River, in entirety.
You entreat the mountain to dissolve in you
Entire devotional pollen sprinkled on his body.

A means you are not, O River
Nor a bridge
You are
The entire journey unto me
The awakened consciousness of Dewataa’s !
The creation of a rocky body
Only you will quench my thirst
O River,

I am only an ocean.


Little Open Arms

And the sky, how large is it ?
Very large!
Very very large!
Answered the child
Spreading his arms
Stretching them with all the power
At his command
As if the blue sky entire
He had encompassed.
And water in the ocean, how much is it?
So much, so much!
He waved his arms
As if straddling the ocean.
And the mountain, how high is it?
That much, that much!
Extending his arms up above
Standing on his toes,
He looked at me
And the earth?
This much, this much!
And he ran
And embraced his mother
In his little arms
And how weary was I
Sizing and gauging the sky
Fathoming the ocean
Scaling the invisible summit.

Piecing together the fragmented earth
How exhausted had I become
Struggling and wrestling with
These simple questions ?
Indeed, I had forgotten
The sky is he,
The ocean is he,
The mountain is he
The earth is he
Truly is, the whole creation
In his little open arms!

Ghosts

In this village of mine, ‘KIRARI’
Apart from this pond, ‘MANGOTHAR’
And this tomb of sufi saint
Ficus religiosa, the peepal tree
Is the only survivor now
That is worth talking about.

Now surrounded by
Grass rough and tall
Is a large abandoned well
Just by the side of the peepal
Nobody knows whether
The mighty peepal sprouted first
Or the well was sunk first.

Since my childhood
Often I have heard
Sobs, shrieks and laughter
In the dead of many a night
Gushing from the mighty peepal

Hoary persons swear
Naag and nagin, the cobra pair,
The residents of this ancient well
Indeed are spirits.
And the mighty peepal
Is the abode of ghosts, male and female.

I cannot recollect any night
When I could pass the peepal
Without a numbing fright.

Villagers walk past the mighty peepal
On nights only when they must
But their hands they fold
As in prayer
And chant names of gods in holy fear

They listen
With rapt attention
Fascinating tales by the cowherds told
Of male and female ghosts
These are cowherds only who are blessed
With ghosts’ affection
Dining with ghosts
Gossiping with them
Making them the guards for their animals
Incidents mysterious
Are all commonplace
In the world of cowherds

By the side of peepal
On this road, this year
The traffic has increased
Yet many oil lamps are lit
On the platform under the mighty peepal
Though some have voiced their discontent
Many still shiver with fear
Of the residents of the mighty peepal

(part – 2)

I have heard it said
The gentle wife of Choudhary
Committed suicide
When so much tortured
By the younger wife in rivalry
She is the only one from the wealthy
Who has become a ghost.

There are male ghosts, only two,
One simple brahmin
The second Raam Singh Kahaar
The water carrier and menial too.
Jumped both had in this large well
The brahmin simple
Due to his rife poverty
And Raam Singh Kahaar
Due to rape of his wife Imartee.
Raam Singh Kahaar then
Was only eighteen.
It is said that
The Cobra couple
Residents of the well
Are no other then Raam Singh and Imartee
Bigger oil-lamps are lit
Specially for these two ghosts
But people are frightened
Of Raam Singh most.

Raam Singh Kahaar attacks only foul and wanton
And can be exorcised
Only after painstaking difficulties
Whom nobody wanted to know
Who could be beaten and paraded
Same Raam Singh Kahaar
Is now dreaded
In villages far and near
But call him names, nobody dare
And say people wizened
Nobody had ever heard
Of a ghost
So cruel and intractable
As Raam Singh Kahaar, the menial

It took a long time for people to believe
It is Raam Singh Kahaar
Who has become so shameless
After turning into a ghost
His innocence he has lost

Raam Singh Kahaar, the menial
Attacks only women immoral
And to get him exorcised
Is an expensive ordeal.
Raam Singh never attacks women
From families poor and simple
He only, if at all, warns them
Often, she-ghosts attack women sinful
At the instance of Raam Singh Kahaar,
No More menial

The brahmin simple
Comes out, if ever, hardly,
A shy ghost is he
Who is satisfied easily
It is very amazing
This world of ghosts
There is no divisoin
Of class or damn casts.
She ghost, wife of Choudhary even
Respects fully Kahaar Raam Singh.


(part – 3)

Often in the nights dark
Drivers and conductors
Returning from their jobs
Have seen the Kahaar
In deep mournful sobs. It is heard,
All the ghosts cry and mourn
Loudly for the Kahaar

But Raam Singh has never
Said as much as a word
To the drivers and conductors,
Yes, he has shared
Jokes and tales with them
On occasions rare.
But nobody is so daring
As to look at Raam Singh
Return all of them
With a dread in their hearts
Cowherds only have dined with them
And have, at times, for their cows
Made them act as guards.

It is really strange
All the she-ghosts residing
On the mighty peepal
Belonged to this village.
Jumped have them all
Into this large well
Cloistered by rough elephant grass.

Nobody sympathises with these
Women of poor families.
Yet to safeguard themselves
They all get nails
Driven into door frames.
Causes unknown of suicides
Of many ghosts female.
Each one has exposed
By ‘possessing’ a woman
Of decadent abode.
But nobody sympathise s
With the victims who have died
Although they are all terrified
Of the female ghosts.

It is a wonder
Women of families poor
Are slaving still under threat
But powerful and fearless
She-ghosts of families poor
Get worshipped, again, under threat.


WAR

An Imperial was here.
He told and
Kissed his arrow.


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