Poetry in Translation: Rajat Chaudhuri translates Pratyush Bandopadhyay from the Bengali

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Poetry in Translation: Rajat Chaudhuri translates Pratyush Bandopadhyay from the Bengali

Translations of some of the Bengali poet's poems in Bengali into English

Translated and published with permission from the poet

Rain Dog

The two opened their umbrellas
Sneezed one after the other
Checked each other out with a glance

Then the rain started
From all directions of the `Development and Company’ built bus shed
Rain was lashing in

The one who arrived third, rushing,
Pressing a handkerchief to protect the head, had no umbrella
Nor the droopy-eared dog shaking-off raindrops had one
Seeing all this, those two
Laughing crookedly
Sprayed a few words among the raindrops
As if spitting paan-juice with care


— Today the skies look quite ominous
— People are always very stupid

Then all three of them got completely drenched
And no one paid me
For writing about the dog.

***

Life

He had set out to eat fire

Hadn’t carried any money
And even in his clothes
Not a hint
Of the stateliness of the castle was to be found

Then as he was playing
And loving
As he was burning
Into fire he turned

And
Those who tried to touch him
On a whim and thinking him, easy refuge
Their ignorant hands

Were by a fire burnt.

***

Blue Egg

The killer had no other recourse
But to kill

Depression, the hunter who hid his face
In the meaningless crowds
Of a settlement — he’s not forgiven, beyond contempt

(He) brushes his teeth before the mirror
The way he styles his beard, that face
Is just like yours

Just like us, another--
Sits face-to-face
Eats his rice
Goes sprinkling water on the feet twice

He too is a killer and
He’s been killed and dumped beside the orchids
By himself

Somewhere a conch is being blown, last
Manuscript of a farce

Laying a blue egg on the clock’s hand, the joker takes wings and departs …

***

PRATYUSH BANDOPADHYAY spent much of his childhood at Baruipur, a sleepy settlement in the outskirts of Calcutta. He studied management and has navigated through a variety of professions. He lives in south Calcutta and runs the popular poetry magazine Kyanestara. Averse to self-promotion, Bandopadhyay is known for his bohemian living and blood and grit relationship with poetry which is dark, uncompromising, surreal, and always a slap on the face of a corrupt and festering society. He publishes mostly in Bengali little magazines like Tabuo Prayash, Sabdo, Snota, and his recent book of verse is titled `Abyay Sanhita'.

RAJAT CHAUDHURI is a bilingual fiction writer, translator, editor, and columnist. He has published `Calcutta Nights', his translation of noted Bengali author Hemendra Kumar Roy's memoir of his nocturnal wanderings in Calcutta. Chaudhuri is also the recipient of a number of international writing fellowships including a Charles Wallace Fellowship, UK. His most recent novel is `The Butterfly Effect'. The translated poems in this edition are part of his recently completed anthology of 100 poems by ten poets from India and Bangladesh.

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