Hemant Divate: Translated by Mustansir Dalvi

BIO

Hemant Divate is a Marathi poet, editor, publisher and translator. He is the author of six poetry collections in Marathi. Poetrywala has recently published his Selected Poems 1990-2015 (in English translation) and Reloaded (in the original Marathi). He has a book each in Spanish, Irish, Arabic, German and Estonian apart from four in English. His poems have also been translated into French, Italian, Slovak, Japanese, Persian, Maltese, Serbian, Slovenian, Greek, Hindi and many Indian languages. He is the founder-editor of the prestigious Marathi little magazine Abhidhanantar, which saw uninterrupted publication for 15 years. Abhidhanantar has been credited for providing a solid platform to new poets and for enriching the post-nineties Marathi literary scene. His publishing house, Paperwall Media & Publishing, has published (under its Poetrywala imprint) more than 100 poetry collections.

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BIO

Mustansir Dalvi is a poet, translator and editor, and teaches architecture in Bombay. His first book of poems in English, Brouhahas of Cocks, was published in 2013. His poems have appeared in several anthologies, including These My Words: The Penguin Book of Indian Poetry, Mind Mutations), The Bigbridge Online Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poetry, The Dance of the Peacock: An Anthology of English Poetry from India, To Catch a Poem: An Anthology of Poetry for Young People and The Enchanting Verses Literary Review (online). His translations are published in Eating God: a Book of Bhakti Poetry. His translation of Iqbal’s ‘Shikwa and Jawaab-e-Shikwa’ from the Urdu as Taking Issue and Allah’s Answer have been described as ‘insolent and heretical’. His latest book is Struggles With Imagined Gods, translations of poems from the Marathi by Hemant Divate.

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Butterflies

While rambling through the garden of my housing complex,
apropos of nothing, I told a friend:
Y’know, these days, we don’t see those small,
common yellow butterflies any more.
To which, he casually replied:
that brand has been discontinued.

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Despite this, very timidly, he lives a good life

An LG air-conditioner keeps him cool.
He eats Kohinoor basmati rice
and chapatis made of Pilsbury
with bhajiyas made from Nutrela soya
cooked in Hommade tomato puree.
Sometimes he just heats up a pre-prepared MTR packet
or tucks into an order from PizzaHut;
vada pavs are no longer nutritious.
Why should he screw up his belly
gorging on bhel puri or pani puri?

You could never get clean water out in the street
he only drinks Kinley’s mineral water; it’s safe
or on the rare occasion, a Diet Coke.
Bland dipdip bags hardly satisfy his craving for tea,
while coffee brings on constipation.
He has become conscious—
of health, wealth and brand value.
He keeps getting a computerised check-up
of his brain to his nails,
of his heart to his kidneys,
of his sputum to his stool.

He has life-insurance
and all sorts of policies—
householder, jewellery,
Medi-claim, accidental insurance.
He has every type of card—
debit, credit, shopping, parking
identity, PAN, health, ration, driving, citizenship.
He has invested in Mutual Funds, a bit in PPF
and NSC; he has put his money into property
and has a locker in a safe deposit vault
where his wife stores all her jewellery.
He specifically takes time out from his life
for religious rituals and charity and
when he has time (and no one’s looking)
he folds his hands before God.

He takes no issue with anyone,
nor does he escalate conflicts,
nor is he in any sort of lafda.
A little tense about how people regard him, but
despite this, very timidly, he lives a good life.

*****

 

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