By Shubhada Chari
Retold by Heta Pandit
As sung by Saraswati Dutta Sawant
A SET OF GLASS BANGLES
I was given to the village of Poriem
Or rather, the village was given to me.
My younger brother is so loving
He sent me a set of 12 bangles
A set of 12 because I am married.
A married Poriem lady.
Now to see this set of bangles
A courtyard filled
With 100 kauravas*
Sat with great aplomb to see
What my mother had sent for me.
The evil sit to scrutinise
And compare what the last bride
In the village had received.
There was oil for the temple lamps.
There were coconuts, betelnuts, rice
There was nachni and other millets
There was horse gram, fruit and flowers
Woven in a wreath.
Look what my younger brother has done!
He has placed the set of bangles
In the middle of a decorated wreath
Just like a palkhi**
He has made a presentation
Of the bangle set
So beautiful, just like me.
*100 Kauravas, from the epic the Mahabharata, were a family of 100 members in adverse relations with their 5 cousins, the Pandavas. Here, the reference to the 100 Kauravas is used to represent the marital family when the new bride believes herself to be “under scrutiny” and in enemy territory.
** palki, a travelling sedan car used for a procession with a deity seated on a richly decorated seat under an ornamented canopy. A palkhi is almost always carried by men on their shoulders to the accompaniment of traditional musical instruments.
UNDER THE SURYAKANTA TREE
A brother without a sister is a lost cause
He has no little sister
To call him Dada, Elder Brother
He has no older sister
To call him Little Brother.
A brother without a sister
Can only sit under the suryakanta tree
I can be a brother
Of course, a brother I can be
But I don’t have a sister
O miserable is me.
I have travelled the world
Yet met no one who
Would call me Brother
I sleep in the temple courtyard
And live on half a bhakri*
Mother dear, take pity
I am living on half a bhakri
And sleeping by the suryakanta tree
For there is no home of a sister
To stay the night
Not that I can see.
If I had had a younger sister
I would have a home to stay
She would have cared for her brother
Her in-laws would have welcomed me.
When I got home the next morning
My scarf was wet with tears.
When Mother asked me
How the scarf was wet
I wept once more
I felt I had no identity.
For a sister defines a brother.
“That’s So-and-so’s brother
How fortunate is he.
Mother, you are indeed
An unfortunate creature
Just like me
For you have not given me a sister.
Someone who clearly defines me.
*bhakri, unleavened flat bread made with rice, millet or any other grain
I CAN ONLY COME FOR THE GANESH FESTIVAL
भयणी भावाची झाली भरभराट
भयण बघुनी दुका डाळी
भयणी कोणी तुका शळिईली
भयणी कोणी तुका गांजिईली
भारताचा रे माता ती
कसा घेऊ रे बंधू वईदास
कसा घेऊ रे वईदास
आई-बाबान दिली व्हड
थयसर घेऊनी भरणी गोळ
सांगलल्या नी कामाची
भयणी वाडलल्या नी अन्नाची
चवथीच्या नी सणाला
मीया येईन तुला न्यायला
भयणी येईन तुला न्यायला
In the market of Sankhli
A sister met with her brother
As soon as she saw her brother
The sister began to weep.
“What’s wrong?” asked the brother
Asked her why she was weeping.
What should she tell her brother?
That there were seven members
At her in-laws
And that they all had to be served?
“They put food in my plate, brother,”
She said, “and at the same time
Give me a chore to do.”
She could not complete one task
Before the next instruction
What to do
“Mother and father have given you away,”
The brother said to his sister.
They have given you away for a reason.
Deal with it, dear sister.
There is nothing more I can do.
I can come for you, dear sister
But only for the Ganesh festival.
I can take you home, dear sister
Home just to celebrate.
Banner picture by Jayaseerlourdhuraj courtesy of wikipedia.