For the Fragrance of Puran Poli & Other Poems: Ravi Korde

ravi kordeName : RAVI LAXMIKANT KORDE. Born on 14th Jan. 1979.  Place: Jalgav Mete,  Aurangabad District, (MAHARASHTRA). Completed Masters Degree in English Literature. Poetry Collection in Marathi entitled ‘Dhoosar Zale Naste Gav’, Published by Lokwangmay Gruha, Mumbai. Received ‘Yuva Sahitya Purskar 2013’ by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi. Received ‘Vishakha Kavya Purskar’ by Yashwantrao Chavan Open University, Nashik. Availed ‘Travel Grant’ from Sahitya Akademi, Regional Office Mumbai to meet various authors in Madhya Pradesh. Mobile: 9405971762, 8975755056 :


While Removing the Soot on the Lamp

Once in the evening

you lit a lamp with your inclining hands

in the courtyard

And innumerable ugly figures melted down

in the flickering light forever

A row of letters

landed on my heart

like the birds on the cable

illumining a wreath of lights


Once in the afternoon

you brought the papers of land

from the moneylender

And we lighted innumerable lamps

Even without a wick


Holding my finger

you made me to sit before the wall

with a blackboard

And what a wonder

Lamps that cannot be counted into numbers

Illumined around us


As we bring a plant

As we lit a lamp

you came into the life of father

who knew no other direction of life

but of Pandharpur

And you kept a lamp burning in his heart

that never extinguished

even in the storm

Never allowed a bangle

to jostle against an another bangle

while removing the soot on the lamp


When the footsteps of famine are audible

words of a poem came to me suddenly

like an illumination of a lamp

And my heart transformed into a lamp

with a power to illumine


You tied a lamp

to the flock of a saree of a sister

born after me

as a memory of our home

while promising her

not to regard this courtyard as of others


And now my daughter

accompanying my old mother

who planted the flowers of light in the ear

moves everywhere in the home

with her stammering illumination of lamps.

For the Fragrance of Puran Poli

Slowly days became faint

and the colours spread across the horizon

Many times the body was smeared of mud

And so

your colour remained deep black

in any generation

like a land

as a background to the white cotton


You sprouted in each rainy season

and looked like a green mountain in a rainy season

that allowed the cows and buffalos to graze


Wrapping your scarf around the neck

like the directions coloured with white birds

you begin your pilgrimage to Pandharpur

By drawing a ,mark of saffron water

on your forehead


The cold turns round

like a gyrating of reddish calf

and the colours of breathing shine on the ears of corn


Your headgear shines like

these yellow sunflowers

personifying light

as if a yellow flower with thousand petals

moving on the earth


An anonymous rain destroys everything

within a fraction of a second

like an uncontrollable horse

on the bridge of Mangalvedha

under whose hoofs

crushed the delicate lives


Like a silk-cotton tree

that breaks the stone while growing

you go to farm

and collect the flowers of flame of the forest

to colour the kids

to make their intestines smell

the fragrance of Puran Poli


These Gardens of Roti Blossomed

to Keep All Alive

In the evenings of good or bad times

Abhangas streamed out of you

like an eternal part of time


While taking care of sprouts

during the tender days of sowing seeds

you never missed the pilgrimage to Pandharpur

though you had last few rupees in your pocket

for a journey


Married off daughter ceremoniously

in a grand pavilion

Even on that day

you managed to read one section

of Dnyaneshvari

in the heart piercing notes of Virani


I have seen you beating pair of cymbals in a Kirtan

after the funeral of your own brother

You asked me to come for a Kirtan

And suddenly

on each face

started blazing the face of a brother

who was burnt on the pyre sometimes back


You tried to stitch it

with as many stitches as possible

but never allowed

the shirt of your son to become faint

who runs like a bike


These years of corn

never asked you

to prove your honesty

as their deep green colour

carries the imprint

not only of your fingers but of your being


Wearing mother’s saree in the Bharud

you laughed like a yellow beaut

To offer a shelter of greenery to the birds

you did not allow

the horizontal or vertical marks of lime

in the farm


A wet line of creativity

pierced through you

from the sky to the earth

And blossomed

the gardens of roties

like butterflies

to keep all alive

A Village should not Suffer Barrenness

Not only the land

but it also pierces hearts

When the Lord of the sky

forgets a village

Even the cracked marks of footsteps

are filled with the blood

and He forgets to locate

Piercing the knife a barren whirlwind

stands on the bank

A farm becomes violent in the afternoon

like a horrible ghost

At what an inopportune moment

you tied this knot with us?

What kind of a game of hide and seek

of bare sensations

are you playing with us

till we die?

Of how many decades shall we present the calculations?

How many times this platform be decorated?

Though you danced in the courtyard

in the village, in the farm

You used to burst out till the roofs broke down

We never threw out

the piece of a burning coal in the courtyard

Be sensitive

to the dream of a pregnancy of a land

Don’t become mendicant

Do not renounce this life


Don’t tell us the course of destiny

at our doorstep

Do not make the village

to suffer barrenness

Do not get cursed

by the agony of an old woman

and the progeny of dogs

At least

allow us the strength enough

to cry

“save us”

while dying.

Holding the Rope of Showers

Holding the rope of showers

we used to be dripping wet

like a farm

and used to sit in a country of sky

overwhelmed with emotions

like a land filled fully

Body used to shiver

and we used to laugh out

with the whole body

like a seed sown


Seeing the design of crops

on the wings of birds

we used to become green

filled with blood into veins

like the mingling of rivers and streams

All paths used to wash out

Cows and buffaloes lost in the valleys and mountains

We used to melt down

like the clod into soil

My Way to School Passed through Your School


The pagers of notebooks and books

have stuck to my schooldays

for whom I had waited

with my friends

on each day of bazaar



Yours and mine

school used to open on the same day

You used to knock every door

for fertilizers and seeds

And I goaded after you

for books and notebooks


You used to swallow rejections

and used to find an answer

at any cost

To me

a teacher used to threaten

Will not allow you to enter the school

with empty schoolbag


A way to my school

passed through your school

And so

the first day of my school always started with the support of constellation to the hands on drill plough

Corinda Fruits in Your Cap


you played Pakhwaj

in such a way

that even in the Ajaan

one could hear Kakad Aarati


Never oozed

the corinda fruits in your cap

and the taste of Jamun

as the fruits of guava tree taste

same to all


You looked different

I mean funny

I even used to draw a beard

to the picture of my grandfather


With your plough

you used to draw lines

vertical, horizontal

in the deep black farm

That touched your courtyard

with stories of rain


You made your son to stand

in the market of goats

And distributed girls

like balloons in exchange of hairs


Ramzan nights

in which your children learnt

to pass the days without a drop of water

have clung even to your container of cotton


I am Lost Totally

During the first shower of rain

I look for the fragrance of my farms


I have hung the painting

of bullock-cart in my home

I have kept the bulls of clay

in my drawing room


When I bring vegetables, Jujube fruits, Jamuns and unripe mangoes

I deliberately ask to make roti

and by the time I reach home

I climbed and jumped on innumerable branches of trees

that have strengthened my muscles

during the childhood  games


I don’t want to blur

the memories of my village at all

But that doesn’t mean

I’m too involved here

or that also doesn’t mean

I want to go back to my village

I’m totally lost in my own land

like the lines of Rangoli

dispersed in the evening.

Translated from the Marathi original by Dileep Chavan

About author

Dileep Chavan
Dileep Chavan 1 posts

Dileep Chavan teaches English at the senior college level; translates from/into English, Marathi, Hindi; recently translated Dr Raosaheb Kasbe's Dr Ambedkar aani Bharatiya Rajyaghatana into English; currently engaged in the English translation of Dr Raosaheb Kasbe's Maanav aani Dharmachintan, Ambedkarvad Tatva aani Vyavahar (BARTI, Pune), G P Pradhan's Sane Guruji ( Sahitya Akademi) and Justice Krushna Ayyar's Dr Ambedkar and the Future of Dalits (Bhashya Prakashan, Mumbai); Executive Editor of Yashashri: International Journal of English Language and Literature; his research articles and translations have been published in reputed journals; Literatures in Indian Languages, Indian Writing in English, Drama, Literary Criticism and Theory, Modern Poetry, Literary Movements, American Literature are his areas of interest.

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