Monday, 7 November 2011

The Bridge On The Ocean

                             The Bridge On The Ocean

The chess board is
Slowly folded back
By a restless Mandodari and
In Ashok Vaatika,
Like the drooping branch of Ashok
Still sits the sorrowful Bhumisuta.
The war,
Can breakout,
Any moment, but
On the shores of emotion, alone,
Stands Arjun,
Overcame by indecision.

The soldiers stand face to face, and
The warriors are ready to sacrifice
Ram is looking at the ways to
Build bridge on the ocean, and
While Krishna is bridging the gap
With his words,
Sits a sobbing Subhadra
In the solitude of the camp.

The bridge is in process and
Soldiers are screaming with excitement
Bheem and Sugreev are not able
To control their frenzy
The very thought of victory
Makes Vibheeshan shiver and
Dharmaraj is preparing himself
To utter an untruth.

Recollecting the struggles of life,
Krishna, the Poorna Purush, is writing
His role for the history,
And in the oceanic waves
Purushottam Ram is trying to find
Meaning of Maryada

Tired of himself
Waits Bheeshma
To return to the laps of Ganga,
Vaidehi, tired of the tests is
Counting the days to
Return to the earth’s bosom.

Madhav has returned from Hastinapur
And is all alone in Dwarika
Raghunath has returned from Lanka
And is all alone in Ayodhya
In this lonesomeness the victory
Nowhere is the rice of Sudama
Nor Shabri’s berries, and
Neither is the dinghy of Kevat

An endless stillness
Hovers over Kurukshetra and
In Rameshvaram lays
A deserted bridge,           
And trapped in memory of Ram
An old squirrel
Thinks, again and again
For whom the war was fought
For whom the bridge was built
Who has won
And to what end.

Explanatory Notes

·         Mandodari- wife of demon king Raavan, credited with invention of Chess,
·         Ashok Vaatika- orchard of Ashok trees where Sita was kept after her abduction by Raavan,
·         Bhumisuta- daughter of the earth, Sita,
·         Arjun- one of the five paandav brothers, archer par excellence,  was unwilling to go to war with blood relatives, Krishna recited Gita to him in the battlefield and motivated to fight the holy war
·         Subhadra- Arjun’s younger sister, her son Abhimanyu was deceitfully killed in the war
·         Bheem- one of the Paandav brothers known for quick temper
·         Sugreev- hot tempered monkey king in Ramayan, ally of Ram
·         Vibheeshan- younger brother of Raavan, sided with Ram, became king after the war
·         Dharmraj- eldest of the Paandav brothers, credited with always speaking truth, lied only once during the war and lost his miraculous powers
·         Poorna Purush- Krishna is supposed to be the perfect man representing all traits of human character
·         Maryada Purushottam- Ram is always fastidious and judicious, would never compromise with principles come what may. Maryada – limit never to be crossed, purushottam: uttam- ideal, purush- man
·         Bheeshma- grandfather of Pandavs and Kauravs in Mahabharat, son of river Ganga, fails to prevent the fratricide
·         Vaidehi- another name of Sita, daughter of king Videh- one who has got control over physical and material desires. Deh- body, Videh- above the body
·         Madhav- another name for Krishna
·         Hastinapur- capital of Pandavs, Dwarka- capital of Krishna’s kingdom
·         Raghunath- Ram, descendant of king Raghu, Ayodhya- his capital
·         Sudama- a poor childhood friend of Krishna, brought him a sac of rice as a gift
·         Shabri- tribal women offered jungle berries to Ram in his days of exile
·         Kevat-  a boatman offered a boat ride to Ram believing in his other worldly powers
·         Kurukshetra- where mahabharat was fought
·         Rameshwaram- where Ram built a bridge to cross the ocean for reaching Lanka
·         Squirrel- helped Ram by bringing wet sand on her tail for building the bridge

A Poem in Hindi by Lalit Surjan

Translation by Vani Xaxa