Treasure Island

Bijay Kant Dubey

The Chandal And The Karta, O, It Is My Mother's Asthi-kalasha (Urn) , Let It Hang By The Peepul Tree

(Comes he wrapped over a woollen blanket and a thick lathi in his hand And followed by a dog) :

Whose, whose kalasha is this?
Whose asthi-kalasha hanging by the tree?


It is my mother's, my mother's
Who used to love me so much.
(With tears in the eyes and remmebering her)


Who, who gave you the permission to cremate here
And to post the asthi,
The asthi-kalasha?
(In an argumentative mood of his)


None, none permitted me,
None, none told me about
And in time, people pass away.
(in his answer to that)


Do you, do you know it that one who comes here
Has to give some taxes
As for creamtion?
(Give me woods, thrown off things, clothes and others
And some money as per duty)


I've, I've nothing with me to give to,
To give me,
Just the loving memories of my mother.


Nothing, nothing with me,
These words fallen flat,
Not endearing to my ears
And thoise who come to dispense with,
Give they and it's a binding on them.


Empty-handed, bare-footed stand I before you,
Don't, don't you see me,
Motherless, fatherless stand I here,
What to give, what to give to you?


You give me, give me
Whatever you have
And think you
The duty that do I by loitering in silence.


In this hour of pain, distress and agony,
What to give to you,
I have nothing with me?


Whatever you have, you give that to me
Taking that as the collection of mine,
That that as the taxes and the duties
To be submitted officially.


Though I've nothing, nothing with me,
You take the old and tattered coat of mine
Given by my mother
Which I am wearing it not.


In this dead silence, away from human haunt,
Into the deadland,
Who will, who will like to keep a vigil,
Who comes from where,
Who is from where?


I am a doer, doing the kriya-karma of my mother
With the tears falling from the eyes,
You let it be, let it be
The asthi-kalasha of my mother
Hanging by the centuries old peepul tree,
O, it's the asthi-kalash of my mother,
My dead mother
Who used to be once!


O Man, weep you not,
It's, it's the way of the world,
One comes through
And one goes through as thus
And I am but a chandal,
What is it within,
What can i do it myself?


I am a karta, a karta for my mother's funeral rites,
I am keeping the mournful days
Alive with her memory,
A doer doing the jobs
for her memory sake, for her peace sake.


What, what a chandal,
A ghat man, a ghat watchman to do,
Keeping a vigil over,
Levying taxes
And my job so much menial and low
But I doing for profession sake
In a traditional way
As my ancestors used to do?
I am but a representative of kaal, doom, end
Which is samay, time, gat-mati, movement-direction.


Chandal, it is, it is my mother's asthi-kalasha,
Let it be, let it be,
Let it be,
O, my mother is dead,
She has died,
She is no more in thsi world,
Only her navel is there,
My lifeline
with whom lay I connected someday,
o Chandal,
Hold the hand and stand me,
I am giving you, giving you your taxes!
(And weeping inconsolably,
With tears into the eyes,
Welling up in and falling down to the soil,
On the earth by the banks of the night-time solitary river) .

Submitted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, September 18, 2013

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