Translation: Chhatradhara

Translation: Chhatradhara

by Kalidas Roy


Year after year, class after class

They troop in, en masse

The leaves juvenile bloom into flowers merry

Radiant in youth’s green glory


You care for them, learn the names of them all

Keep meeting them, through summer and fall

Discipline them, ensure they finish their lessons on time

Yet with the years, the bells of memory no more chime.

These few days together are but lines in the sand

To be washed away by waves new and grand

Footsteps all, into each other do melt

Trodden by marks new and fresh.


They know not what lies ahead

Like travellers at an inn, gathered here from afar

As their friendships grow, do does their knowledge of grammar.

Now, when I meet one of them on the streets,

And am greeted by a voice calling out, “Sir” –

I smile at them, ruffle their hair

Though my memory is no more than a blur

As we part our ways, in vain I search my memory’s maze

Looking for the cherubic version of this man’s face


The daily classes, visits so frequent, we keep meeting everyday

Still the names and faces slip away.

Individuals melt and merge into the collective

In a garland, who can each flower sieve!


The student stream flows on tireless,

Enriching my soul’s soil with blood rich and fresh.20150822_180902

The cheers and exuberant bubbles with time do fade

The waves of youthful energy are put to bed.

The only rays of reminiscence that shine through clear

Are the glum faces – only those do peer.

The shrieks and shouts I might forget, the laughs and noises jolly

But never shall I forget those eyes and faces, drenched in melancholy.


Pangs of hunger shadow some faces, illness cloud some too

While some eyes are overcast by labours old and new.

A few stay locked indoors fearing the whip

While others blink through eyes red from lack of sleep.

Through the window bars, a few eyes try

To escape beyond into the blue sky

Away his mind wanders, sighting kites flying high

Leaving its dark shadow on his face like a sigh.


The winds from afar, hail them with life, with health.

The calls stream in from beyond their locked door.

Fingers and faces stained with ink

Fill my memory to the brink.

I’ve forgotten it all what it felt like, it’s just those faces now,

Those leaden eyelids and those gloomy faces, that tug at my heart’s strings, and how!

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