Tunnu’s Computer: by Debarati Mitra

Dorothy Smith of South Africa had set my data
Whether I’m woman or man, creature or matter
She alone knows
I am alive, though
I even think of myself as a woman
I was placed inside
A Blue G royal faber machine
Then, bouncing between places
I’m in Tunnu’s hands now
Tunnu skips her classes at school
Plays the synthesiser
Dances with her friends
She doesn’t play games herself, but watches
And operates her computer sometimes.

Actually I’m an awkward robot
Halfway through a game
I don’t know yet how the story ends
It seems there’s a princes in a kingdom
A harassed Tunnu sends me off to find her
Blowing up a pillar, she makes me climb
A cloud in an instant
The next moment I’m swimming, breathless,
With mermaids seven hundred miles under the sea
Rummaging in the freezing sand of the desert for her
She must be in a room in the palace
An immense mirror in front of her
I am forced to shatter it
A part of her soul spills over to this side
Mrs Smith hadn’t meant for me to suffer so
But Tunnu doesn’t care
It’s all a game to her.

One day Tunnu, Bisku and Lyree
Were playing on the computer in the living room
Her friends told her
Change your computer games, Tunnu
So boring and so immature
We’ll copy some intelligent games for you
From the Rainbow Research Centre

My foolish body began to tremble at this
I was almost extinguished, sobbing
Press any key you like, I’m not
Going to respond to your juvenile wishes anymore
Instead I made her hand
Shake and jerk
And bend like a bough

Dr Smith had never even dreamt of such a thing.

An Exchange: Amiya Chakravarty

In return you have got
The silent pool in entirety
A clear mirror framed in blue
Water filled with light
A shadow branch that’s bent with flowers
Fluttering sails of purple clouds
Filling up the heart
An empty breast finds all it seeks
In return you have got
Blanked out thoughts of nothing-at-all
Open roads for feet-with-dust
Bereft-of-tears, the wind
A distant cry, a familiar voice,
This afternoon of all-is-lost
No-glance-back from anyone
Are these what you’ve left

A Poem: Rumi

I never tired of thinking of you, my beloved
Do not deprive me of your compassion

This jar of water, this water-carrier
Must be exhausted with me

A parched fish remains within me
Never given enough water
To quench its thirst

Show me the way to the ocean!
Shatter these half measures
All these tiny containers

All this is sorcery
And mortifying

Let my hut be swept away
By the wave that rose last night
From the depths hidden in my heart

Just like the moon, Yusuf came down into my well
Even if the harvest of my hope has been flooded
What does it matter?

The flames have risen over the tombstone
I seek neither knowledge nor honours
Nor is respect desired

I only want music and this dawn
The warmth of your face on mine

Travellers of heartache are gathering
But I shan’t go with them

This is what happens every time
When I have to end a poem

A deep silence envelops me
And I wonder in astonishment
Why I have been pursuing words

[Translated from the Bengali version included in Rabisankar Bal’s ‘A Mirrored Life’]

An Unequal Extramarital Affair: Mandakranta Sen

You can talk to my parents
I don’t mind if you do
We’ll talk later, you and I

So restrained in every way
But reckless in private
When was it I came to know?

My mother quite likes you
You’re a brother to my father
But actually, you’re my friend

Why didn’t you bring auntie, darling?
You mustn’t tell her ever
How well I can kiss

To open the front door
We’ll go downstairs together
Our moment of madness

A secret storm in our breaths
The scorpion stings without warning
A constant flow of blood and pain

It’ll be staunched soon, it will
Have you seen how easily my face
Fits on the width of your chest

How are auntie and Mitali?
Do they ever come near you
In search of marks and bruises?

I’ll go to your office tomorrow
Exactly at four twenty-five
We’ll lose our way after that

Climbing to the top of Shahid Minar
I’ll scream out to the skies
Indra-uncle is my lover