Only Pelvis Revived

One summer night

Stretched the clean blue sky

Heated breeze that

Did not move

Over the leafy bed in the courtyard

But found in the wave

Of a fan of dry leaves in

The wrinkled hands of

Grandmother……….

A sleepless sixteen

Asked “I cannot sleep,

Tell me a story granny “

 

So unfolded a story……

Once upon a time there was

A village, like the only flower

In a tree ….it was the only village

Near a city

All green fields

Fruit trees, temples…

And Nethravathi river that flows

On the shores of the river

A herd of craftsmen lived.

Tilling the fields of others

Sweating honesty…….

One of them was Doyen

His house was full of daughters….

 

More beautiful than pearls

All married quickly

One earlier than the next

The last one who remained

With parents was the “True Beauty”

What a beautiful baby born in a shack

Exclaimed, the mothers of the village.

 

The old doyen pampered

The last daughter, never sent her

To the forest to gather fire wood…

Nor to the fields to gather cashews

Nor to clean the houses of rich men

She helped her aging mother

Built castles in the sands

Listened to the howling sea

Watched the river flow

 

She would jump in to the river

Swim till her arms ached

She would roll over the sands of

The sea shore

Swing on trees, clap her hands

Call the birds in the sky

 

Jasmines, daisies, gladiolas,

Violets, all flowers would dress her hair

Playing at the edges of the green fields

Grew the beautiful damsel

Like a goddess of nature

Pleasing your eyes

 

On a summer noon

Hot sands, burning sun

Over the dusty roads

Rode a valiant knight

On a white horse,

Thirsty……

Whole village gathered

Around him,

Serving him tender coconut

Water, sugar, rice

Waited upon him

As he was the knight

In King’s army

 

A sprouting moustache

Silk turban, shining sword

In his belt, he was a sight.

He drank coconut water

And when he looked he saw the

Bronze brown beauty

 

He fell for her in that first sight

Pleaded with the doyen

Can I marry your daughter?

I have too little time……

Gods, parents, elders

One and all of the village

Blessed their marriage…

 

After a month there was news

That on the outskirts of the city

They had found a house

Beauty was wearing ornaments

of pearls and precious stones…

 

Sumptuous food,

Lessons of pleasure

Games to forget the body

No, there was no deprivation at all…….

Yet, she was nostalgic

For her village

The shack, tattered boat and

Swing of drying leaves…..

The sandy bed, flowing river

beckoned her in dreams….

 

The knight obeyed the orders

Of the king, constantly on tour

No stipulated time

Would visit home, once a month

Rarely once in a fortnight

No sweet talk, no stories of adventure

He hugged her and slept

 

A young girl

Never exposed to the ways

Of the world

No neighbors, not one to talk to

Time stood still …

She paced the floors

Climbed the stairs

Stared at the moon

Counted stars

Laughed and cried alone

Found all sorts of pets

Green plants, parrots, cows

Dogs…..She was a   golden parrot in a gold cage

 

A year was gone

Now, she had no time

Twin cradles and babies

To sing lullabies to …

A baby per year,

She had a house full

Of children…..

He thought it was magic

She was more beautiful

After every child

She laughed…..

 

One morning the knight

Straddled his horse

Beauty did not come to the door

To bid farewell….

He saw that she was asleep

He tried to wake her …..

Called her by name

Shook her, kissed….

No response

He sent word to the doctors

Whatever happened to my

Beauty

The expert shook his head

She was dead

He cried falling unconscious

Small toddlers gathered

Around her crying

“Mummy …”

 

All the people of the town

Surrounded their house

Time to burn the corpse

All those who are born

Have to die one day,

They consoled the knight

He was not him self

Anymore

He was mad, he rode away

On his horse

He roamed the mountains, forests

Caves, amidst lions

Tigers, scorpions, tigers

He starved, did not take a drop of water

Sat inside a cave doing penance

One night there was thunder

And lightening

Inside the rays of light there dropped

a sage with powers

 

Wake up Knight,

Open your eyes,

Beauty has no more debts on earth

Yet I grant you the boon

 

Draw a picture of your beauty

From head to toe

Inside the pages of your heart

The perfect details those are life-like

will breathe life again

 

Rules are within the time

It should be drawn

And only the part you

draw with feeling

And experience

Will come alive…

This is a caution ….understand?

So, woke up the knight

Beating his eyelids as if in a dream

He meditated on her

Drew her picture

 

Time was over

Open your eyes

Said the sage

He had disappeared

In the air floated

Like a garland

The pelvis of

Beauty’s body

Wearing a gold chain that

Knight had lovingly put on her waist

The first night of their marriage……….

written by  Shalini Srinivasa ( My Mother ) 

Translated to English by Vyjayanthi

 

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