Apu's Letter To Durga Didi
At last, you too, O my sister, have eaten
by Sayeed Abubakar
the fruit of the forbidden tree*!
Those who eat its fruit are thrown away by God
from the garden of Eden into the dustbin of Earth.
Those who eat its fruit discover youth
within their bodies; that youth sets fire
to all the organs of body; then men, like drunkards,
go to live in a forest leaving their homes behind,
and build there with a great devotion
Now I play on my old bamboo-flute sitting alone
into Kashful garden as white as a dhuti.
Crossing the border, its tone cannot reach you
at your father-in-law's house in Odisha.
It is many years you went to your husband's house.
After your departure, barbed wires came
in the border.
How will I go to you, O Didi*,
when the border-guards, like hunters, raise their
hungry guns towards us as if we were the tasty
Horial doves* sitting on the boughs of a peepul tree?
Now when the fields of Autumn get full
of mustard-flowers, your memory gets alive;
you wearing the yellow sari used to run like a fairy
on the dew-wet boundaries of mustard-fields
catching my one hand tightly- I started panting-
I only recollect those sweet scenes now.
When the mango trees get surged now with small
green mangoes, I rush to our kitchen to steal away
some salt and then I start sharpening oyster
on the cemented ghat of our pond-
it seems to me you are coming within a moment
filling the loose end of your sari with mangoes
and addressing me, you say, 'Look at, Apu,
how big the mangoes are! Surely seeds have grown
O my sister, leaving those wild pleasures behind,
which pleasures do you run after now?
Which peace does one get by getting married,
Which peace does one get by going to a father-in-law's house,
Which peace does one get by getting mad with body
when the salty tears of separation raise waves
into her Apu's two eyes?
Was Adam happy for a moment leaving the garden of Eden?
O Durgadi, are you happy too, leaving your Apu behind?
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*Tree of the Knowledge
*'Didi' means 'elder sister'
*A kind of dove in Bengal