Image 01

Life’s like that

June 2nd, 2010 by admin

To the ka ka

sound of cawing


father gets up, says

"mother the white

dawn has come."


Picking up his sleeping rag,

he puts it on, thinks

the calf might stray, and runs

to his master's house.


My mother his wife

follows behind him,

mucks out the byre,

spreads fresh dung on the floors,

cleans her teeth and cringes


filling a fold in her sari,

with the house's leftovers.


Under the noonday sun

father ploughs and sows

and draws water from the well;

he pours drops of blood

turned to sweat, and all

to fill someone else's corn bin.


Milking buffaloes, grazing

cows, fattening sheep,

taking them to water and bathing them,

herself without shelter,

my mother stands –

and not even a cup of milk

for her own child.

The lambs are sold for necklaces

for someone else's throat.


In her own house

there's no calf to prance around,

no cows to swing their horns,

no veranda to decorate

with rangoli.


But what devotion

to things that don't belong to her!


The bodies so battered

by master's bad temper

and mistress's selfishness

cling together and enter their hut.

As they fall asleep

an owl

says "guk".


Life's like that is a poem from Mudnakudu Chinnaswamy's selection of poems translated by Prof. Rowena Hill. In 2002, he conceptualized and directed the play 'Bahuroopi' with the Rangayana Repertoire for the National Drama festival held at Mysore. This poetry based drama reflected the theme of social justice in Kannada Poetry from the 10th Century onwards. 

M. Chinnaswamy is a noted public speaker and a vocal advocate for eradicating caste system, the inhuman practice of untouchability and against fundamentalism. He is the founder President, Buddhist Literary and Cultural Association, Gadag and Director, Dalith Sahithya Parishath, State Committee which is instrumental in spreading subaltern culture and literature. 



Comments are closed.

Welcome The Shared Mirror

Log in

Lost your password?