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Arnapurna Rath


Arnapurna Rath





Those Bronze Sculptures

There are tiny bronze sculptures
at our ancestral home.
Women of the household
call them by multiple names,
and love to love them in different forms;
Ma, Devi, and Gauri
Lakshmi, Krishna, and Kasturi.
The faceless goddesses,
weathered by the
sweaty touch of red vermillion,
rubbed into facelessness,
with the wipe of coarse wet cloth,
and smoothened by the polish of time,
stand as silhouettes in the dusk of eternal solitude,
staring,
through the mysterious corners of a dimly lit room.
Like you and I,
they too are tied by the knots of fading traditions.
They have outlived genres and generations.
There are these small bronze sculptures
at our ancestral home,
that dwell in the shadows of the past,
and live in the uncertainties of the unknown.

Shyama

Shyama,
I saw you last in the Godhuli hour
as a red vermillion stain
on the inky-blue skies
beyond the high-rises of
this soulless city.
Shyama,
I saw you last as the orangey daybreak
smiling mischievously
from within the depleting deeps of Megha hills*.
Shyama,
I saw you last in that flight of cranes,
fighting their way
through the noisy
mechanized,
motor-boat driven Chilika.
Shyama,
I saw you last
beckoning me to enter
through the chinks of time
into the gardens of a lost childhood.
Shyama,
I saw you last
before I lost you
in the confusion of adulthood,
before I lost you
in the battle between tradition and transition.

*Megha hills exist in Dhenkanal district of Odisha; Chilika is a natural salt-water lake in Odisha
*Godhuli roughly translates as early hours of the evening/dusk.

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