A set of Glass Bangles

By Shubhada Chari
Retold by Heta Pandit
As sung by Saraswati Dutta Sawant


 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
The innocent.

And compare what the last bride
In the village had received.
There was oil for the temple lamps.
There were coconuts, betelnuts, rice
And ghee.

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.

भावाची मिया भयण

बंधू आले ते चाकोरेसून

भयण गेली भेतायाला

भावजय काई म्हणे

माझ्या पाठीची नी ग भहीण

पर्या नी गावात 

चुडो धाडीलो मकरात

पर्या नी अाहेरात

चूडो धाडीलो मकरात

माझ्या पाठीच्या बंधूवानी

तावकुळ्यान मारली धेका

बंधू माया रे इसरा नाका

तावकुळ्यान मारली धेका

शेला इणियेला

गोमा केला गो नि रोजीचा


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


साखळे बाजारात 

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.





You can never be too careful

You can never be too careful

By Augusto R. Rodrigues
Translated by Paul Melo e Castro

Issue no. 10

Sancho Serapião do Santo Sepulcro Costa Paredes Malcorado, son of old Nicomedes, the sacristan of Santa Eufrásia, had just entered his twentieth year. He had rudimentary schooling, a basic knowledge of music, and knew how to assist at Mass.

A Taste for the Exotic

A Taste for the Exotic

By Ulrike Rodrigues

Issue no. 9

She felt confused and nauseous, and she realized she didn’t know Marcus very well at all. She’d believed him when he spoke about being sensitive to local culture. Did that sensitivity not apply to women? Was he just another Vodka and Chang—white men satisfying an appetite for exotic delicacies on the cheap?



By Jaimala Danait
Translated from the Konkani by Glenis M. Mendonca

Issue no. 8

Darkness reigned through the house that night. There was neither a tube nor bulb light. The only source of light was the mellow light emerging from the lamp hooked on the lamp-stand. Even the children were unusually silent. Like the family members, the lizard too had to go on a hungry stomach.

The Dream

The Dream

By Brenda Coutinho

Issue no. 8

Nancy plucked the pearl white mogra and placed it gently into the loop of a thin braid of flowers. A whiff of scented breeze ruffled her tresses. Dew drops rolled and played a balancing game on leaf-tops; as a pale brown spider was engrossed in weaving a trap for its unsuspecting victims.



By Peter Nazareth

Issue no. 7

Including a fresh introduction to the play X by Peter Nazareth: At the time, I was thinking about Malcolm X, who had visited Kenya and met Pio Gama Pinto before the latter’s assassination. I was struck by how Malcolm X thought about his life, recognized the forces that had conditioned him, and then remade himself.