Madhu Sriwastav (Voices Within)

Madhu Sriwastav is an Assistant Professor in English at B.H.K. Mahavidyalaya. She is involved in academic as well creative pursuits. She writes poems, short stories, academic papers, reviews, short plays and translates into English. She is a performing poet, performing regularly at various National and International platforms such as Guntur Poetry Festival, Newtown Boimela National Poetry Festival, IPPL, Poetry Conclave, ISISAR forums, Apeejay Literary Festival. She is a member of the executive committee of IPPL i.e. Intercultural Poetry and Performance Library. She has published her poems in Setu, Glomag, OPA, The Quest, Culture and Quest, The Amravati Prism Spectre etc.

People’s Nation

People form Nation
Or Nation forges people?
National leaders
Human torches
Leading the mindless
Through dark times
What if the torches
Falter and flicker
And set alight
The place to secure
Destroy the hearth
As a Lakshagriha…
Caution is the key
To unmask the faces of friends in foes
To connect with the thinking
Who can take up the cudgel
Unite and hold hands
Express mindful solidarity
A well thought out plan
To counter the fire set ablaze
The tyranny loosened to spur
The youth , the future of a nation
The sky is foggy
Sunshine eludes
Yet the blowing wind
Drifts the clouds apart
The golden Sun in parts
Shines through the mist
Surely there will be light
All will be right
Where is a Nation without its heart
People swear by
Take oaths in its path.

Scorned bride

Dressed as a bride
Heart full of love
A flutter in its beat
Resplendent in her finery
Her eyes looked up
Hesitantly, looking for the one
Who had stolen her dreams!

Among a bevy of princes
All in royal splendour
Amba located her mate
 Her eyes lit up; cheeks glowed
Secretly she smiled, her eyes drooped down
Awaiting her turn to garland him
And become his wife foe life!

Suddenly came in …a gush of wind
A chariot fiercely galloped in
There was hue and cry all around
Like a flash of lighting
The brides were gone!
All stood agape…princess and king
Shocked by the prompt act!

As the chariot galloped by
Kissing the wind in its embrace
The three brides trembled in fear
Trying to meet the eye
Of none other than Bhisma the great!

The guardian prince stood at the helm
Having abducted the brides to be
Vichitravira the weakling prince
Was hence brought forth beautiful wives
Ambika and Ambalika accepted their fate
But restless Amba pined for her mate
Thus, set free she came to Shalva
The one she loved and longed , day n night!

But alas! He turned her down
Amba was now an abducted woman
She was retuned but out of pity
How could one of Kshatriya clan
Take for wife a discarded thing
Taken by another then given in charity
Thereby Amba’s heart was crushed!

Homeless, hapless she returned to the weakling
Only to know her fate was sealed
Once given she couldn’t be taken
In anger in frustration she turned to the one
Who brought her to this…
One who had twisted her fate!

Bhisma was bound to his vow
Had broken hearts when taking the vow
Of Kashi’s sister the then betrothed
But none could stand in his path
The dutiful path carved for his clan.
Shattered and shamed stood Amba enraged
She wouldn’t spare him, have him killed!
For she was now the most terrible thing
Nobody’s chattel, nobody’s wife
No place to go, no one to love
Her life destroyed; her youth wrecked!

From door to door, from fort to fort
Searched and sought the scorned bride
For someone worthy of Kshatriya clan
Befitting to take upon the one
One and only Bhisma and quell her shame
Restore her honour by his blood
Avenge for her, her humiliation

Her search was rare for all went pale
When it was Bhisma to be avenged
Her determination which was irresolute
Took her to the warrior’s guru
None other than Parashuram Himself
Shocked to hear of Amba’s plight
He unsheathed his axe and challenged the one

Both equal in might and in valour
 A terrible fight did ensue
All set to destroy the whole wide world
As Bhisma was blessed to choose his death
The duel was stopped to save the world.

But Amba bent to fast till death
Till the gods answered her prayers
Standing on one foot on the hills
Till Lord Shiva appeared to her
“You will be the cause of his death
But have to wait till next birth”
Impatient, angry and resolute
She jumped into the fire to die
To be born again in Panchal Rajya
As Shikhandi the child of Drupad
A woman, yet not, to bring the end
Whenever he wished but by her hand!

It took two lives, so many years
So much anguish, so much pain
To quell what was whimsically imposed
A bride to be, to have a family
Brought about the end of Kshatriya clan
Of a dutiful guardian, worthy son
But abductor also was he
Foe needlessly, shamelessly scorning a bride
Irreparably destroying a women’s life!

Daunted Rain

Droplets: Have been flying around for long
Cloud: Look it's a city, tall buildings abound
Droplets: No, no don't send us down
We will be lost, we will be trapped
There are so few trees, that too in concrete box
How will we come back to our aerial form?
Cloud: There is a river and some ponds
Droplets: That's more of a drain, ponds no better than pits
All the waste and chemical have throttled its life
Ponds are breeding grounds for fatal disease
What's scary is the concrete boundaries
It's stops us from going
To our mother earth
We have to linger about
Till the strong sun
Changes our form
We sail up and form a cloud
We are happy here …don't send us down
Cloud: It's sacrilege for you to say so
Who has come up, must go down!
Droplets: We are bound by law but are afraid
Drop us when you will, we'll wash all by force
But hold us till you can n we grow in strength
Then the concrete will crack, the soil below give way
We will be happy to come to our lay.
Cloud: You want to wreck destruction
On those who have destroyed all
Indulging in themselves as none other lives at all!
Our dear earth is suffering under their whim
Droplets: You don't worry they will have their due
Many have come and many will go

We have been here and will be so.

Voices Within-2020 :: Setu, February 2020

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