GUHA, THE BOATMAN INTERROGATED ON SUSPICION
Yes, the lord came this way
Accompanied by his wife and brother,
How did I know he is coming?
I ferry travellers, and they discuss
The latest news from Ayodhya.
What else do you hear about Ayodhya?
Nothing much, that Rama is now in exile,
Bharata has taken over. That is what is heard.
You seem to know much more than you reveal.
Why did you demand to wash the Lord’s feet?
I gave a reason and the lord was convinced.
Did I get something in return? His gold
Ring or something precious? No, sir
There was only exchange of words,
Not of things. Unless you count salvation.
Do not try to be clever. You are hiding things.
Why did you call the family to meet him?
Did they all get precious gifts from the Lord?
Yes, the water we washed his feet with.
We will have to search your house.
Are you in touch with the forest-dwellers?
They hardly come this way. I know a few
Of them. What do they eat? I have no idea.
Must be roots and fruits. Animals they hunt.
No, there are no cows around this place.
Nor have I ferried any cattle across the river.
No sir, I don’t maintain log book of any kind.
MADE IN INDIA
Dense fumes of miasmal fog
envelope the city.
Home is the collateral damage
we have titles for
in the volcanic war zones of
smoking garbage mountains.
It is always late in their belly
where the rope of time slowly winds
round the neck of the inmates
rendering everything legible
like a court order.
A letter re-directed seven times
is finally held and put on trial.
Its testimony is a tract on
what transpires in a mind on the brink
going blank just before lights go out.
A commuter knows only his
aching joints, not the entire body.
With every hurt he learns a little more.
He wears decay like a life-time
of scholarship that cannot be downloaded.
Those who are not fit to be recycled will have to
Mortgage themselves. Finally we have
authentic Indian masks
that are made in India.
E.V. Ramakrishnan is a bilingual writer who has published poetry and literary criticism, in Malayalam and English. He also translates between these two languages. He has published four volumes of poetry in English: Being Elsewhere in Myself (1980), A Python in a Snake Park (1994), Terms of Seeing: New and Selected Poems (2006) and Tips for Living in an Expanding Universe. He has translated literary works, particularly poetry from Malayalam, Hindi and Marathi into English. He is presently Professor Emeritus at Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Prof. E.V.Ramakrishnan has been the recipient of several awards and honours.