Translation of Dibbendu Palit’s “Rajenbabu”
For Rajenbabu, were the days
And the nights were the days.
Came every now and again—
And pressed the bell with a force
More than usual.
Neither a penance nor penitence
Was in his mind;
Then laughing a fool, he said,
You know, nobody thinks I’m
A decent man.
Only for Rajenbabu, lamps were
Beaconed in our midnight house.
Floated in air from the kitchen a smell of yellow yolk—
And the music of dancing spoon.
Suspecting the paw-running of cornice-crossing cat
Pigeons from the pigeon-hole stretched
Their wings in the scary sky.
Rajenbabu often said, how strange,
Tram-car rests so early!
Passenger’s got no range!
And taxi fare? Oh my Gosh!
You know what? Four times my daily meal.
Anyway, leave it.
What about you? Bought the flat?
Price-hikes of cars are the hot news in the newspapers—,
So what’s new? How about them?
Don’t worry— it can also be cured;
I’ve witnessed many cases like this.
(Daughter-in-law), why have you gone so gaunt, my child!
I’m afraid, it’s Anemia!
You better test your blood— and so on.
We had never been eager for
Neither about his coming,
Nor about his going away.
Letting him speak and counting through
The stairs we used to
Mount the rooftop—
Our excited eyes were at him;
As people from far-away look at
The Magicians to save a coin.
Then Rajenbabu disappeared suddenly-
Years and years passed away.
No curiosity aroused in our mind into his concern
Nor a question; taking
Sometimes merely at a fair midnight sleep on the way
One thing came into apprehended mind,
The man disappeared for many a nights was