We all lose our umbrellas
at least once in our lives.
And then we get drenched.
Such misplaced accidents make poetry.
After many a season,
quite unexpectedly, she writes to him:
it's raining outside in sheets;
the monsoon is making up for lost time.
Bombay is happy.
By her side on the floor
are two black umbrellas,
in their full rotundity,
spread out to dry.
They leave little puddles on the floor,
which visitors must side step
before they can reach her.
She thinks about the season of rains
in her childhood in Kerala,
of pebbled sand and stones
speckled orange or pink,
the moss on the walls,
and the strange man in ochre,
walking down the by-lane,
bearded and grim faced.
There are three naughty girls
in that scene. All of them
shriek in mock terror:
fleeing, she lets go of her umbrella.
Later, home and dry, they laugh
over their harmless skit,
but she's worried about how
to fabricate a dramatic lie
to cover up the loss.
That every poem is an invention
is well-known, but that it suspends us
in a state of non-being makes it comical.
The success of a poem is in being able
to lose grip and hang safely in air,
like those trapeze artists hooked on wires....
Her letter stirs unknown longings in him,
but, like her, he knows too much.
When two wayfarers seek shelter under one
umbrella, both of them get wet;
instead, it's better if one remains dry,
while the other walks bravely in the rain.
There's nothing funny about what we lose,
yet we smile.
The distance between us
but somewhere in the chasms,
there hangs this poem.
|Copyright © 2005 - Makarand Paranjape|