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The Things that Fear Needs

New Bangla Poetry Selected by Subhro Bandopadhyay

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Santanu Mitra, “Charu and Fire”, 2010, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48″

অনিমিখ পাত্র / Animikh Patra

 

যা যা ভয়ের কাজে লাগে

যা যা ভয়ের কাজে লাগেঃ

ক। একটা সময়বাঁধানো দেওয়াল ঘড়ি ( পেন্ডুলাম অবশ্যই দুলবে )
খ। সাদা কাগজের মতো অসীম হয়ে থাকা ( আর ভয় পাওয়া মুখের উপমা )
গ। ঐ তো, দরজা একটু খুলে গেল। দমকা হাওয়া এলো। ( লক্ষ্যণীয় ‘ঐ’ বলে তর্জনী দেখানো )
ঘ। আলো না নিভলেও চলবে। আলোয় মানুষ ও তো লুকোতে পারে না !
ঙ। ফুটফুটে নিজের শরীর। স্নানে তাজা। ( বিশুদ্ধতা রক্ষা হয় এতে )
চ। দু-একটা শব্দ মিহিন। ( না থাকলে ঘরের আত্মা মানুষের ভিতর-বাহির এক করে দেয় )
ছ। টানা একটা অবস্থা।

যখন ঘরের অংশগুলো জ্যান্ত হয়ে ওঠে। কথার মতন হচ্ছে, কিন্তু, আওয়াজের টের হচ্ছে না

তার মানে, কখন যেন পর্দা উঠে গেছে। যার অপেক্ষা, সে অনেক আগে এসে, আমার মধ্যে বসে আছে

 

The Things that Fear Needs

The things that fear needs:

a. A wall clock that keeps the time in check (the pendulum must definitely oscillate)
b. Infinity like a white paper (and a simile for a horrified face)
c. There, the door opens slightly. A gush of wind enters abruptly (Saying “there”, pointing it out with a forefinger)
d. Okay if the lights don’t go off. People can’t hide even in the light!
e. Your lovely body. Fresh after a bath. (Impurities can be kept in check by this)
f. Some faint noise, one or two. (Otherwise, the spirit of the room flattens both the core and surface of man)
g. A continued state.
While parts of the room become alive. Like speech that can’t be heard.

This means you do not know when the curtain has been raised. The one I have been waiting for has come and taken a seat inside me a while ago.

 

পাহাড়ি

শ্রুতিমধুরতা আমি বর্জন করেছি। এক পাহাড়ি কুয়াশায়
জীবনের পা-দানিটি হারিয়ে গিয়েছে। পাহাড় যাদের ভালো লাগে
তাদের জন্য জুড়ে দিয়েছি আনাড়ি ড্রাইভার, যে কোনো খাদের নিচে
ভগ্নাংশ জিপের। রডোডেনড্রন ঝরে গেছে
আমাকে নিরন্তর আমার বাইরে দেখতে পেয়ে, সারা দেহে
ফুটিয়ে তুলেছি আমি ধ্বনির বীভৎস শিরা
তাড়া করে বেড়ানোর মতো

 

Hilly

I have given up on words sweet to the ear. In a mountain fog
my life’s pedestal has been lost. For those who like the mountains,
I have arranged for an anari driver of some car-debris which
fell over the ridge. The rhododendron has shed itself
Looking at my outer skin all the time, I have
blossomed – all over my body – horrible veins of speech
They run after me like a holiday

Translated by the poet and Souradeep Roy.

 

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Nirban Bandyopadhyay

 

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Verses for Chameli

I

Whose shoes did I wear to travel so far?
I’ll take them off today, walk the rest of the path barefoot
Like a flower that bloomed after raising its head up from the dust
only to fall back into it, I will, while carrying a proposal for the water,
walk towards the fire without care

These hands are easily satisfied with holding the sword at someone else’s will
They throw it away at someone else’s will as well
I have thought those hands to be mine and kept them
between yours, I have learnt so many tricks with these hands
have made the child blind, pulled a woman to the bed
I have to throw away even these two hands today!
I’ll take the loan words, the tricky untamed intellect
and leave them on the two sides of the road like pebbles and stone chips
I’ll mix with the light like light, mix with the wind like wind
and then go to the shadowy nest of red piss smelling of Dettol

I’ll become a lonely breeze and put colour on you, Chameli

II

I’m coming down from heaven, Chameli, spread a flowery sheet
on your bed, fill up your empty jug
Don’t spread your legs like that and sleep, Chameli
I’m not that fucking lungichap Jagubabu
I need a prologue
I need a gap between two leaves like a vigilant apple

I see many Champas everyday, everywhere in a variety of trades
but I haven’t seen a Chameli, never seen you, never Chameli
While unwrapping, haven’t seen a saree like this
After unknotting the string of your maroon petticoat,
the red line across your fair belly
is like a lean red path; will I become a traveller here?
Between mountains on both sides and the thrashing of a waterfall
I will come to your edge, onto which road should I jump, Chameli?

Then let me dip into the crimson darkness of the fleshy marrow
Beneath the orbit of sanatan tamasha’s ancient bustle
dance in a circle; spin the way the earth spins…
This tires me, hits me, in a merciless mourning pulls me to its heart
Like a hidden disease spread yourself across various seeds in vengeance

III

You don’t have a veranda, your red door is boltless
But does that mean anyone can creep in anytime?
Chameli, I get very angry, I sit haughty,
pull my body hair; this way I will
turn into a hairless serpent, I will tear into you

Better if you adopt me, Chameli, for two handfuls of homemade rice
Let me become a dog and wag my tail as I roam all the time
After the babus have had their sumptuous meal, you will have the leftovers
from their plate in great joy, the bone-marrow…
I will become your procurer and buy the saree-silver thread-methi-lime
after bargaining for them, keep the desi and foreign liquor below the stairs
will bring the babus’ favourite chilly chicken, chaat in a moment

If the market is down, I will take a bucket full of glue in my cycle
and cover up the entire planet with posters:
“One fifty per shot; just seven fifty bucks for the whole night!”

Translated by Sankar Basu and Souradeep Roy.

 

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Subhadip Mitra

 

এইট বি মেজর

প্রতিরোধ জল দাও তাদের, সার দাও দাও পর্যাপ্ত বৃষ্টি
এইট বি মেজরে বাঁধা থাক সে সব গান নিরন্তর, আগামীর দিকে।
যতবার তুমি বাঁধতে যাবে সেই সুর,
লাথি, ঘুসি, নখ দাঁত নেমে আসবে বারবার। ভয় পেয় না
জেনো তাদেরও রাখতে হবে কন্ট্রাপয়েন্টাল।
আর সেই সজীব অর্কেস্ট্রেশনে হেঁটে যাব আমরা
স্বপ্নের মধ্যে হানা দেবে বসন্তের বজ্রনির্ঘোষ,
মেঘনাদ ভয়ে যেমত কাঁপিলা রাম-সেনা
নিউক দেম বলে স্বেচ্ছাচারী প্রেসিডেন্ট ত্রাসে মরে,
তেমনি বলিষ্ঠ মূর্ছনায় পা চালাবে যাদবপুর, একা নয়,
নিস্পৃহ একুশ শতকের সমস্ত হৃদয় ছেনে নিয়ে।

 

8B Major

The two sides of the coin are the same, its head and tail don’t differ,
it just knows whose hands power is tied to.
So for those who rose up in untimely songs of protesting crops,
give waters of resistance, give manure, give them ample rain.
Let those endless songs remain tuned at 8B Major, walking towards the future.
Each time you try to tune that pitch
blows, kicks, nails, teeth will come down over you. Don’t be afraid.
Remember you have to keep them contrapuntal too.
And through that vivacious orchestration we will walk
The roar of thunder in the spring will raid dreams
How Ram’s rabble-army trembles in the fear of Meghnad, 1
How the despotic President fears even while shouting “Nuke them”,
In that sturdy cadence will Jadavpur walk, not alone,
but after having sieved through the heart of the indifferent 21st century.

Translated by the poet and Souradeep Roy.

Notes:

1. The line in the original Bengali version is a quote from Michael Madhusudan Dutt’s Meghnadbadh Kavya (The Assassination of Meghnad).

This poem was written after the police atrocity in Jadavpur University and which led to the ‘Hok Kalorob’ movement by students. 8B is the name of the bus stand opposite the campus and the four-way crossing as well.

 

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Sanghamitra Halder

 

রয়েছ পাথর

প্রিয় নাম শিস দিলে
ছিঁড়ে যায় আত্মার একক

ওড়ো দেদার
আচ্ছা করে হানা দাও

 

Like a Rock You Stay

If someone whistles your favourite name
the unitary soul snaps

Fly abundantly
Raid well

 

Translated by Animikh Patra and Souradeep Roy.