Poetry: Supatra Sen

Supatra Sen
The Mother

It would all begin with 
“No Puja this time…”
And then the usual pleas
Of dwindling funds, space, manpower, health…

We would then know for sure
That the Mother’s advent was certain
In her damp dimly-lit cramped 
North Calcutta dwelling

Pandal, craftsmen, lights, flowers
All arranged on impulse
As was her temper
Never satisfied, never at peace

Then finally the four days
Of the mighty Goddess
She would be everywhere
Delicately working on the petals
Of the 108 lotus buds
To create the sacred offering
The earthen lamps with wicks deftly trimmed
The oil neither too less nor brimming
Their flames to merge with the celestial glow

The ‘bhog’ next to perfect
All in right amounts and proportions
So that no grain would go in vain…
The ‘Homa’ would see the flames rising
To illuminate every dark obscure corner
To mingle with the blaze in the divine eyes
The smoke bringing effused tears of fulfillment  

‘Bijaya’…time for the Mother to depart
The earthen idol to be immersed
In the flowing waters
The five elements…

Clad in a wet red-bordered saree
The ‘bindi’ smudged in sweat
She would at last lie in peaceful slumber
On the floor where the idol had stood
The Mother…
***


Imprisoned

Nineteen years of confinement
Duties and responsibilities, promises and commitments
And then one day came freedom
Leisure to travel, pleasure to roam
Go wherever the heart wanted,
As far as the eye reached

Stepping into light, into sunshine
Into limitless… vast…endless… space
Suddenly, a voice from behind 
A wail? A scream? A protest? Or a call…
She turned – she retraced
To lock and bolt and fasten securely
Tight, gripping, strangling
To be her own eternal prisoner
***


Existence – The Price

A part of me died 
When my best friend in nursery class
Left for a prominent city-school

A part of me died
When the scarlet ‘Krishnachura’
Was axed to widen the avenue

The same emptiness
When our childhood getaway – the ice-cream factory
Made way for a super market

Then again – the fatal accident 
Of my month-old fur baby
And thereafter countless followed…

Betrayals, let-downs, fall-outs
Drifting apart, compromises, settlements
Gracious retreats, moving-ons
Even quiet acceptances…

All that is life ---
All that comprise 
The Art of Living
All that life takes as a price of existence…

And so is death in dynamic equilibrium
With life...

A part of me died
So that I may
Survive…
***


Trail of a Storm

I carry a storm within
And also a calm 
To suppress the storm

A smile to mask
A heart unfathomable
A mind elusive
All wary of the storm within

Uncared and unfed
The storm continues to grow
To build -up
To attain a colossal proportion
A fatal concoction 
Of denials and humiliation
Fears and rejections

Then with time like all others
The storm too subsides
Leaving a trail …
Unspoken words, vacant looks
Greying streaks, stooping shoulders
Trembling hands, the dragging feet
Skin sagging…
Wrinkles, the creases on the forehead
All have their own stories
And there are so many
So very many
Whose stories I carry…
***

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