Note: Inspired by and dedicated to the fiery woman poet of Bengal, Mallika Sengupta, whose verses on the essence of womanhood often shake me out of my gender stupor and compel me to see myself as ‘Vasudha’, a being of the primeval earth.
To the frothy waves churning in the oceanic core
To the mermaid smell, the mélange of Ganga and Yamuna
That coalesce in my shore,
To my Indus soil, bearing the imprints of my winsome horse trails.
To the crimson surge of thoughts whipping my fertile brain
As my womb, my moist flesh becomes the ‘Vasudha’,
The earth that they feast on.
To the hands, the supple fingers that feed the alchemy of dreams,
I whisper my name. I tear my name into zillion blood-dripping petals
And scatter them into nameless directions of this urban wasteland,
In cobbled sidewalks, in forlorn alleys, in bare-bone street corners.
My ‘Vasudha’ had still not risen from her mother’s womb,
Her sheltered core… her contours were still not formed, well enough
When her shackles were created, the flowers to dangle in her hair,
The gold anklets garnishing the feet, to hopscotch within the ‘laxmanrekha’.
The iridescent sky, looming above my questioning self,
The insolent sun, lavishing his rays on my wild, volatile skin,
The voluminous clouds, bursting forth in torrents, had claimed to be my paramours.
I took them all in, they penetrated my fertile core and I became whole.
My ‘Vasudha’ has been the earthen nymph,
her arms have been entwined with the sky, and with her primeval man.
And yet, they have bound me in shackles, left me sunless,
called me barren, loose, wanton.
There, my oceanic core calls out again, the mélange of Ganga-Yamuna
In my bloody ripples. My ‘Vasudha’, the earth that they feast on,
Is the womb, the blood riot, the mantra of this life, flowing, rippling, gorging.
Let them not taint the earth that they feast on.