Bashonti

On January 20, 2012 by admin

Chandril Bhattacharya

Is this Bashonti Sanyal who imprints red-lac dye and rubs lotus-petals on her palms.

Is this Bashonti Mukherjee who lights candles every morning on the window sill so that her lover gets irritated

Is this Bashonti Seth who plans on jumping into the pond along with her son on MonTueWed and on ThursFriSat plans without him

Is this Bashonti Mondol whose short stammertongue evokes rabid jokes at the morning bakery

Is this Bashonti Saha who fills up forms in such a calligraphic hand that folks mistake it for print

Is this Bashonti Halder who everyday voluntarily crosses her appointed bus stop and walks back again, slipper-worn, toe-strained

Is this Bashonti Sen who doesn’t kiss men who don’t smoke because men’s lips ought to be dark and bitter

Is this Bashonti Ghosh who rings Thebun-mashi everyday so that she can listen at least once to her maiden petname

Is this Bashonti Saha-Ray who stopped buying fish since every time she would sit on her haunches to check them out men would breathe nasty over her goosebumpy-neck

Is this Bashonti Ganguly who always wears sarees and  chhichhis her husband every single time he brings her a nightie

Is this Bashonti Sarkar who finds her Upanishad text every time on the third shelf

Is this Bashonti Chakarborty who said “Ufff, so warm” and got herself into the fridge  and didn’t realize neighbours were arriving in droves to look at her tanpura-posterior saying “Boudi, a glass of sherbet for you”

Is this Bashonti Dasgupta who created so much sound and fury while screwing that her in-laws fainted with laughter in the next room

Is this Bashonti Chatterjee whom her brother-in-law ordered “Switch on the fan, woman” and as punishment clipped her nipples

Is this Bashonti Laha who aimed her dartlike rubber-band perfectly at the nose of her grandfather’s portrait

Is this Bashonti Roy who quotes Jibabananda Das right, left and centre so that this evening’s intellectual can suck that name from her lower lips

Is this Bashonti Guha who undressed herself on the rooftop and later learnt that such cheap tactics would be censored

Is this Bashonti Banerjee who put all the utensil stickers on the rear-doors and cello-tapes on her stomach and pulled them out rough one at a time

Is this Bashonti Tarafdar who sent her Ma off to get some sweets so that she could close the windows and ventilators right away and hold her lover’s tool

Is this Bashonti Bhattacharya who shuttles in space so that she can manage her parents’ fights and comes flying back to the loo to get the urgent job done

Is this Bashonti Parui who makes boats out of foolscap papers for young birthdays and the young ones hate that kind of a gift

Is this Bashonti Sarkhel who can sprout herbs on her thighs just like that and then hide them just as fast

Is this Bashonti Sen-Sharma who will die before she goes to the Elgin Road crossing because she discussed divorce there one day

Is this Bashonti Chowdhury who put bananas country aubergines car keys in her vagina so that no one could go to the Dakshineshwar temple that day

Is this Bashonti Biswas who could not hold back puking every time her husband would swallow gloppy mucus but ended up with cheekmarks from the window bars

Is this Bashonti Bardhan who midnightly stands on the verandah and a bitch makes eye contact

Is this Bashonti Thakur who doesn’t care much about risks. She knows that the thin plastic bag won’t feel the hurt when it is hurled down

Chandril Bhattacharya is a journalist and non-fiction writer from Kolkata. He is also the singer-songwriter in the popular music band Chandrabindu. The Bengali version of this poem was published in the magazine Apar in 2011.

One Response to “Bashonti”

  • Sabitha

    This is extraordinary! Thank you, Prasanta, for pushing the boundaries of poetic utterance with your brilliant translations.

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