4. ASHTAMI

SUDEEP SEN

 

1.
 
Evening air is filled
             with perfumed incense-smoke,
                            sound of beating dhaak leather-drums,
brass and copper cymbals,
and baritones of conch-blowers —
                                                                  you dance,
swaying
              from side to side in slow motion
wrapped in your pink dhakai saree,
 
shiuli petals pinned to your hair —
              tiny flowers, so fragile
that even their slender orange blood-filled stems
              string themselves together
                                        into a bracelet or garland
cannot resist the intoxication of kama
Navami’s love stored for tomorrow.
 
 
2.
 
Where you are, it is meghala
overcast, grey lenticular clouds
                                        threaten to burst —
but instead, withdraw in the shape
of a convex halo, in shy deference.
 
You are preparing to sing
             for a concert tonight —
Rabindranath’s lyrics drenched in Bengal rains.
                          Like your sari-pallu pleats, the notes
of rabindra sangeet are carefully gathered
within Gitabitan’s pages,
                                        secretly, just for us.
 
 

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