Deepak K Choudhary

Deepak K. Choudhary is a Delhi-based writer, editor and translator. A multilingual writer, he has penned poems and prose pieces in English, Hindi and his mother tongue Maithili. His poems have featured in some widely known journals and magazines such as The South Asian Ensemble, Chrysanthemum Chronicles, Vigil Pub Magazine, Indian LiteratureSamakaleen Bharatiya Sahitya, Indian Africanist, etc. His two poetry books (solo collections) published so far are titled BIRDS LIKE US and THE CITY NEVER SLEEPS. His translation of a collection of Hindi poems titled LIKHA NAHI EK SHABD (originally penned by Amit Kumar Malla) was published as NOT A WORD WAS WRITTEN by Zorba Books in 2017. For his blogs and social media posts, he occasionally uses the pen-name Deepak Darshak.

 

No One Knew The Address Of The Monsoon

 

Before the clouds came

Smiling at a thousand and one

Starving holes in earth’s belly,

They had got riddles growing

Inside their bodies and hearts,

Outweighing their ossified yearnings,

Turning them steadily into wilds of

Their own existence

 

They were questions that

Crept and crawled and shuffled

Inside their premises like apparitions,

Tied to an endless wait for

The magical key to reach from the hills

And free them

 

In the dead of the night,

Someone in some corner of

The world would cry and

Everyone everywhere

Would start feeling emptiness

In their bellies and

Thorns in their minds,

No one knew the address of

Monsoon and they knew

They could only hope for careless,

Imprecise knocks on the door

To keep them moving and

Running rather indifferently into

One another

 

On that night,

When the earth was still burning

And the barns were sleeping

Like deserted isles,

When silos had gone

Grainless to the bottom,

The sky mellowed its wings to

Placate the terrestrials caged in

Their dry persistence that had them forget

Their faces and names

 

After nine scores and five,

I may be too old perhaps to recall

Much of what I have lived through,

But believe me,

I still remember the little urchin

And his ailing mother in a straw hut

Who had outlived the ordeal

When the earth saw the rains


 

 

Living By A River    

 

Living by a river is

Like reading a book of poems

Penned by a bunch of

Anonymous hands frozen deep

Under multiple layers of

Time

 

It’s a like a journey through

Countless cantos

Etched on the terrains of

Undulating topographies---

Deep and shallow,

Straight and curved,

Quiet and vocal,

Dry and watery,

Clean and mossy,

Still and moving,

White, blue, green, black,

With their own beginnings

And ends, albeit none

Bearing the stamp of the first

Or the last one

 

Being with a river is

Quite like fantasizing

A page in a book

Designed with a secret door

Showcasing little gnomes,

Goblins, imps and nymphs,

Who change their shades

In turns, throwing surprises

With an efflorescent bricolage

 

It’s about going through

A bottomless fantasy,

Speaking to the chest of

An unbreakable, asymmetrical calm,

And wondering why

We never thought of

Walking down the lonely road

That passes through its

Inconstant belly?

 

Living by a river

Is quite like living      

A mystery,

With multiple latent depths,

Tempting prospects,

Sleek longings to discover

Narratives of belonging

In the everlasting flow of

A sequestered history


 

 

Doves In My Dream

 

Doves are missing

From the map of the day

 

I keep looking for them

Here and there, in parks and bushes,

In streets and boulevards,

On my house’s roof,

In farms

 

Invisible, light-footed,

They visit me sometimes

In the undisturbed locations of

My dreams,

When the world sleeps

And silence reigns our thoughts

 

They come

To tell me that

Their songs have been stolen

And their nests have been sold

To fill in the bellies of

Wanton greed

 

They promise that

They will come back again

With longer beaks,

Bigger talons,

Stronger wings

To protect their nests

Against the army of demons


 

 

FEAR

 

“Everything sinks here--

 Livestock, crops, children,

 Men and women, houses,

 Trees and barns,

 Hopes, prayers, smiles...”

 Mother informs

Calling from my village,

 

“Son! There will be no festival

This time,

The temple of the Goddess

Will remain submerged

In dark waters,

Waiting in hapless silence

For the dying of

The inclement downpour

And for the angry waves of

The malevolent Kosi to recede...

 

 “But don’t worry,

We will survive again

As we have done before

The countless assaults of nature

So far...”

 

 A tremble in her voice

Towards the end

Leaves me scared, tongue-tied,

As I fear the collapse of

The oldest pillars of

Our house

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