Dedicated to her loving soul

It was on a big Hindu religion festival day this year that I rang and spoke to him. An 84-year-old grand, loving, affectionate, intelligent, empathetic, sensitive and a gentle man. A mighty personality who showcased honesty, simplicity, values, righteousness and humane qualities. A specialist in identifying medicinal plants, rocks and minerals. Thousands walked the path that he walked. A thousand others embraced his leadership. We are all still walking with him.
When we spoke to each other on the phone that festival day we both cried. I listened to his gently guiding voice that is now weakened by a disease. I wept like a child at times when his words were said too softly – like a whisper. I wept like a grown up when he asked after my family. I apologised for making his festival day a bit damp with our tears. I reminded him how many of us still wanted his strength. I told him how cross I was with that some silly stupid physical ailment. I recalled his wife’s words about how strong her husband was. I called her amma, mother. They regarded me as their own daughter. I told him how annoyed she would be now.
Then he said “After she left me … (this is happening to me); if she was alive I would be fine.” His words just stirred up a well of emotions in my heart. They have stayed with me now forever – “After she left me … Whilst she’s gone.”
Traditional Indian patriarchal culture frowns upon men who talk good of their wives openly. Men and women of his generation would display their love for each other in many subtle ways. I often saw this in their relationship and thought how lovely it was. His words now echoed his loneliness. The lost meaning of his life. The missing link in his lived world.
Days later I wrote a poem. Here is the original poem written in Kannada language and its version in English language.
Here is to him. On Father’s Day.

ಅವಳು ಹೋದ ಮೇಲೆ

ಅವಳು ಹೋದ ಮೇಲೆ

ರಂಗೋಲಿ ಕಾಣೆ
ಬಳೆಗಳ ಆಲಾಪ ಕೇಳೆ
ಅವಳ ಕಣ್ಣ ಕಾಡಿಗೆ ಮುಸುಕು
ನನ್ನ ಕಣ್ಣ ಕಪ್ಪು ಬಿರುಕು.

ಅವಳು ಹೋದ ಮೇಲೆ

ಸ್ಮಿತವಿರದ ಹಿತ
ಎಚ್ಚರವಾದ ನಿದ್ದೆ
ನೆಳಲಾದ ಬೆಳಕು
ಬದುಕು ನಿರ್ಭರ.

ಅವಳು ಹೋದ ಮೇಲೆ.

ಎಲೆ ಉದುರಿದ ಮರ
ಒಂಟಿ ಹಕ್ಕಿ ಕಾದಂತೆ
ಬಾರದ ಸಹಚರಿ
ಹಕ್ಕಿ ಹಾಡ ಏಕಾಂಗಿ.

ಅವಳು ಹೋದ ಮೇಲೆ

ಚಿಗುರಳಿಸಿದ ಮನ
ಮಸುಕಾದ ನೋಟ
ನಿಟ್ಟುಸಿರೆ ದಾರಿ
ಎದೆ ಬರ್ಬರ.

ನೀ ಹೋದ ಮೇಲೆ
ಒಲವಿಲ್ಲ
ಮರೆತ ಪುಳಕ
ಬರಿದೇ ಬಟ್ಟಲು.

ನನ್ನೊಲುಮೆಯೇ
ಯಾತಕೀ ಪರಿಯೇ.
ಕರೆಯೇ, ಕೈ ಹಿಡಿದು ನಡೆಸೆ.
ಆಲಿಸೆ. ಒಲಿಸೆ ಪ್ರಿಯೆ.

ನಿನ್ನವ ನಾ
ಇಲ್ಲೂ ಅಲ್ಲೂ.

ವಿನತೆ ಶರ್ಮ
ಎಪ್ರಿಲ್ ೨೦೧೫

Whilst she’s gone

Whilst she is gone

Gone is her rangoli.
So is the melody of her bangles.
Veiled is the mascara of her eyes
Leaving only dark shadows around mine.

Whilst she’s gone

Unpleasant is the talk about my wellness
Awake is my sleep
The light is now but a shade
Like my life, a mere shadow.

Whilst she’s gone

There stands the tree leafless and alone
Like a lone bird
Waiting eternally for his companion
It is but a lonely tune.

Whilst she’s gone

Oh, the spring stopped its arrival.
My fading gaze is awaiting
To fetch flowers for her hair.
My sigh fills the path, with an empty heart.

Whilst you’re gone
Lost is my breath.
The forgotten heartbeat
Unfilled is the lover’s cup.

My love
This abandoning is not to be.
I am here, waiting.
To be held, to be walked with.
Come, listen to me, love me.

I’m yours, forever.
Here, and there too.

Vinathe Sharma
April, 2015

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About Vinathe Sharma

I am an interdisciplinary researcher and practitioner. My engagment is to facilitate people's understanding of their own agency and the Actionable Space in their life. I draw from various theoretical and practitioner areas of Education, Psychology, Social Work, Environmental Studies, Literature, Sociology and History. I work with communities at the grassroots as well as in the academia.
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