“Ḍārjīliṅa pahāḍaharū tapā’īnlā’ī kala gardai”… (Darjeeling hills calling you)
The delicate voice broke a little into molten strands of lapis lazuli
As the road to Darjeeling beckoned me…
A traveller with a soul, a traveller tottering along the edges of her tawny life.
Roads in meandering motion accompanied by Teesta on all their sides.
Roads that celebrate the carousing of the Verdant Flycatcher
Roads that enliven mysteries of the distant land and multicoloured rhododendrons basking in the glimpse of the fading October sun.
The Teesta flowed on, flowed till the water-drained rocks inside its labyrinth were flung to the other side of the road,
The Teesta flowed along with the wailing of the half-naked hillside beggar waiting with a parched tongue, for alms.
Teesta muskurā’um̐dai, Teesta smiled at the wafting smell of raisin-studded handmade cakes from the local bakery, as two little children stood fidgeting with a moisture-laden binocular on the steep craggy side of the mountain.
Teesta flowed on. It flowed into eternity, or into nothingness, the traveller smelled a whiff of the herbal concoctions sold by the hillside vagrant dweller…
Potions, liquids, gelatinous substances in blue, white, musk-melon and orange colour
That promised Jīvanakō elixir, the paradisal potion of life…
As the half-eaten, butterfly-roused wild poinsettia petals jingled with the rhythmic nagging and weeping of Tapasi Murmu, the tea garden worker
Embracing her last vanity with a soiled salwar-kameez that promised her hopes through the holes…
The Teesta flowed on …dribbling across white limestone rocks, drifting into thin spasms of life that still enlivened the hills…choosing, variegating, negotiating…the kaal, the Mahakaal.
Poet: Sreetanwi Chakraborty
Sreetanwi is an Assistant Professor – at Amity Institute of English Studies and Research, Kolkata. Earlier she was teaching at Salesian college, Sonada. This poem is a reflection from her times here in our hills.