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POETRY


Pānchālī by Sunil Narayan


Pulled into my husbands’ court by my uncombed hair Thrown onto the floor where hundreds of feet touch their thick, red silk The flowing carpet rises and falls like the mist of my garden I know you are immovable in your rage Shákuni


Your ego knows no limits, it is like a snake stalking a mouse Quietly without remorse in its meager heart


All eyes watch me cry in anguish as you pull my sari To end of this room it flows like the Gangā Shining with its thin, gold-laden fabric And crippled by your greedy fingers


Dignified beauty you tossed with your dice Human emotions you sacrificed with your heart Bring your eyes to mine to see one word: regret Ha! You are the nectar’s enemy: regret!


If you took me then Krsna will smite you right now! His chakra, a knife for your spineless body


All my fears that followed me at night with my friends Nibbling on their black pearls while I watched the roses rise They are you…a shadow that rapes the moon I cannot give you my body for it belongs to Keśava!


My life will one day be returned to his home To live as a cowherd while churning milk for his hungry lips The boyish smile and curly hair that barely touches his shoulders His eyes so wide yet shaped like the waning moon


Little specks in the corner of both eyes are galaxies unknown to us So far away other people exist for whom Krsna is their king


If I am his then he is my king too Shákuni, you are the drunken ego, a corrupted seed for humanity! My body is a vase holding the virtues of Sūrya He touched my spirit to give me a bite of his own


Disrobing me in front of my husbands and all the Āryas of their kingdom is a sacrilege! I cry to you to stop this great injustice! Can’t you see I have sunken into a sea of distress!? No, you are busy drowning my voice with your wicked laughter Brahmā gave you a boon that protects your life from any physical or divine harm Yet, has he no shame when seeing this monstrous deed?


Ma! You are Sarvāsuravināśā, come to my rescue! Show your terrifying face to this savage Make him cower under your crippling stare, ma! Turn his limbs into brittle sticks so he will stop treating my honor like a toy


48


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