Sunday, November 11, 2012

If It Rains: If It Rains Not

If It Rains: If It Rains Not
-Raja Puniani

 ‘Quaff the poison received as reward, if you can.’
‘Walk with a smile trampling upon your own smile-less bosom, if you can.’
‘Trudge on with a moonlit compromise on the pitch dark face of destiny, if you can.’
‘Lock up and leave your prowess inside the house, if you can.’
‘Drag along silently the entire sky that falls on you, if you can.’
‘Forgive the one that never forgives you, if you can.’
‘Be dumb and tolerate and only tolerate, if you can.’

…I suffocate! I am dizzy! I am nauseous!
My veins pulsate almost exploding. Here, look at this…
Merely thinking of this.

And, tell me why this shouldn’t happen. For us one bottle of
Kerosene is more worthwhile than the ‘Vision’. After all
A layman talks of ordinariness.
How splendid a saint seems in the ornament of tolerance. Wow!
Glittering armament of forgiveness! Fluttering ensign of fearlessness!
Worthless we – unable to wage a war of victory over our wandering senses.
‘Talk not, tolerate, forgive.’- This statement is Sanskrit to us. 
The matter is crystal clear- see here! In the interminable lanes of history
This object called ‘Human’ is but a blade of grass.

Even sky is weary of carrying loads of heaviness.
Unwarranted, unlimited- it may rain. It may not today.
When it rains- we fear landslides. We fear floods. We fear fears.
If it rains not- we fear drought. We fear famine. We fear fears.
Whether we fear or not, it definitely will rain. Or it won’t.

If it can, it will rain.
He will talk- after all he is man.
Not solely lump of soil, salt and sweat is he!
It suffices not that he has hunger, thirst, tears, joy, work…
He craves for a sterling life too.

“Well don’t mind.”

It’s not so easy to penetrate into the chapters of the mind.
The mind is the sky. Bit by bit clouds accumulate.
Regardless of whether the birds of dreams fly or not. 
Listen! The mind is the sky. The cosmos of the cosmos.
And so if it rains, we shall talk about the rain, our homes,
Pain and pleasure, and our resentment. Love and envy too.
Come on! In the celebrations this time, let the soul sing a rock ‘n roll.
The picturesque paintings of consciousness be hung majestically in
The art exhibition. Let trees play football-sun on the slushy soils.
(Ole… Goal!) Let tune lose consciousness bewitched by
The dance of crops wairing serenity.

If it rains, in haste we will pick our clothes and sun-dried grains.
We will shelter our fouls.
Let our footwear rest under our beds throughout.
The sky may rejoice when children play games outwitting life and death
On rainbow roads raked by the horizon.

As it rains, the cascading waters may have to listen to the dusting of things.
Scenic sights of sounds.
It will rain on the palms, the empty palms of earth.
Washing away the hollowness. Rinsing the silts of solitude.
Without the teacher’s permission, students will be soaked wet even
With their umbrellas. Drenched will be their innocent now.

Just wait till it rains. We will push out the sick seeds of abundance
And watch them getting wet from head to heel.
The fairy song mushrooms will spring up on the spine of time.
Tribal children of yonder village chattering gaily well come
To harvest these mushrooms next dawn.

Eyes turned inwards- hardened heart.
The law on one hand, the whip on the other.
If it rains not, some faithful illusion will be Charioteer to Arjun
Carrying him in the chariot of clouds- there where villages, cities,
Nations and market squares will transform into Kurukshetras.

Disfigured milestones with peeling numbers stretch their hands like beggars
At the roadside where countless lonely cars are caught in a jam.
But if it rains, leaves will rehearse their wetness in the musical notes
Of a new opera.
Even stones will be drenched- never mind even it’s just from outside
They have never tasted wetness before.

If it rains not, the rain will have to wait chewing on the seeds of hope
That germinated in the last rains.

In his own period of history, people has waited
For long periods of time. (Say not that people cannot wait-
The bird drags to the nest and waits for dawn).

If it rains not- mothers will for their sons weave stories of rainfall.
If it rains not- the streets where Ashok, the conqueror returned
Victorious as Ashok, the Great from Kalinga will return
Of thirst back to Kalinga. Again. Back to Kalinga.

Parched voices born in throat. Squeezed out dry sounds.
Withered pale looks. All these drenched will be
Dead banks of rivers may resurrect gurgling the genesis of flow.
But if it rains not- then let our expectations be like the rain
Falling over our infernal hamlets of hope.
The ordinary talker, the mundane life-bearer, the plain man
May say- “We cannot wait. Why wait for one who never turns up?”
But looking intensely at the quiet sky, he must to himself say-
“We have to wait. Not for the sake of waiting. Waiting while
Not wanting to wait for those that never waited.”

That’s alright- let not the lips of our eyes shut up.
It’s enough that the lashes of our ears are wide open.
We have to wait like one who waits for the waiting.
See – it is so easy!
Like the desolate home that waits for a distant letter.
Like this tree whose last leaf falls and it watches and waits
For the spring to sprout in the tender leaves of the other tree.
Like the travellers on this bank waiting for the boat
That has crossed over to the other bank like a hero
To return empty again.
The first flower in the bough. The first thorn. Waits for the first
Of some last revolution. The final war. The ultimate wound.

The matter is crystal clear. Like radiant reality.
If it rains- the rivers will rise. The sands will surge.
Drenched will be the pathways. Throughout the cosmos.

The pathways
Wherefrom till yesterday demons in disguise of personal dieties
Deluding themselves as our destiny
Circumambulated ceremonial fires lit of our lives
Consummating our tomorrows.

The pathways
Wherefrom the pathways spread their hoods
And slither with hisses to embed their poison fangs
On the Orion of pathways.

The pathways
Wherefrom faceless we- will be trudging on-
And may be trudging back will be our own alien faces.

Oh yes!
Before the rains, the sky may be delirious.
It may vomit lightning streaks. It is alright if it rains.
It is alright even if it rains not. It will be waited for.
The one that has been waiting will wait still
But tolerate – he will not – even the time
That he has been tolerating.
Now on. Now onward.
 (Originally written in Nepali. Translation - Shradha Mani Pradhan, Darjeeling)