Chovar Blues Mobile Size


Mother! Consider the carrion

sleeping inside this red box

could possibly, in the depth of its dream

be drawing the nation’s map!

Think, the corpse inside the box

is a gift remittance has sent to this country!


Make a museum somewhere, and place

all the red boxes that enter every day;

preserve all the dreams they contain

conserve the budding desires with care

house, inside your own museum, all the joys

yet to be distributed.

Oh, why doesn’t the state say

they have all been orphaned?

Mother, tramping with our feet this very paradox

how long are we likely to linger?


Father! It’s not out of desire

that I sneaked into a foreign land

your moist eyes moved me deep

you made great efforts to raise me

and I know, your struggle those days

came at no easy cost;

the sweat-beads flowing down your cheeks

had raised flowers in the vase

though both the foot-heels

had cracked like terraces in the field.


I had ached that day

when blood had oozed out of my feet

the sky could never grieve for me

sunlight never sneaked into my home

the juvenile morning sun

or the moon could never touch my Father’s bald hood

the birds never roosted in the wall-holes!

These were the issues at home

that propelled me to move abroad


People said, cash hangs on trees in foreign lands,

manpower companies shared even greater dreams

I was happy for one reason:

on board a plane of dreams

I was prepared to labour in any land.


It was a dire obligation

to move overseas

Mother had no phariya that was not frayed

and Father had no decent waist-coat.

I had skills in hand

though my head had no Everest-like cap

kids wanted to scribble their first letter

but had no pencil in their hands

my sweetheart pined for eye-liners

but could never afford one,

and for all these, I left my palace-like home

and flew for a land abroad!


By now, news has perhaps reached home.

Mother! It’s good if I return safe

but if I return packed in the red box

do this for me: let no hand of a monger

touch my corpse

let no party-flag cover my remains

pour no honour after death

and play no cadence on the army band,

let no media air the news of my end.


Dear writers—my friends!

Do not write my name on pages of history

I shall reject all these ceremonies!

If you will, do not raise a statue of mine

for, my beloved will have to walk along the same street

and that moment, she will perhaps find it hard

to wipe her tears with a fringe of her pashmina!


On seeing a plane move, apparently touching the sky

perhaps my mother shudders

if another red box was flowing in

perhaps, a nightmare smothers her that moment,

perhaps, a pool of tears fills the eyes

the heart, perhaps pounds to break open from the chest

and come out of it.

Who would, at such hours, soothe my parents?

How would my wife, who came for me in life

pass her widowed hours?

© Translated by Mahesh Paudel