For Maina’s Rohu , wherever you may find her

Maina is an empty womb tonight, all turquoise waters have dried up, she must be an eastern princess with a tail sailing southwards, slender eyes, broad waisted , scaly with captive bones,

 

She clings bold to the spirits free, some of them come flying like the mystical predatory birds. Wet and wild, Medussa is her angel. Maina has hailstone like fins, dancing in the Pagladia waters, Everyday is Bihu , everymorning she dips her Gaam-khaaru in the holiness of tributaries.

Five years before, she had found her companion Rohu slithering in gaiety . (Perhaps she could rebuild a swimmer in me..)

“Why don’t you take me home ? A fish can be a mermaid , a wonder, a best friend ..”. Their shadows could cast ripples as far as eight kilometers away. They are no goddesses. Instead, they are masters of their swimming-growns.

They drown in themselves, as if gulping the whole of Brahmaputra ; you cannot forfeit their unconditional abyss, or verbalise what is irretrievably lost, the love of a hermaphrodite, rubbing her neck against mine , like an eagle.

* * *

“ I was going to kill my heroine.

But I’ve changed my mind. I fear I may have to kill someone else, instead..”

* * *

It was a fine cry of a schoolmaster’s daughter, that day , torn and fragmented, (Like everyday, they manicure millions of her)

The fishermen beneath the banks were trying to trade Rohu’s flesh , as Maina walked back from the Govt. School,

Three neighbouring boys of her age scorned at her uncombed , squalid hair which had an outrageous ribbon attached to its side.

“Pull her hair ! Look at the whore’s drenched petticoat, it stinks like fountain-ink “!

Rohu detested aquariums in fallopian tubes. These are modern days, empowering days , Her gynaecologist channelized the eggs everytime and charged her a tourist-fee, But , aren’t her ovaries heroes sunk in a bloodless sea…?

“Why didn’t you squeeze her tongue when she said you are an ugly cyst , you ain’t conceive no more ..”, I asked.

Rohu is not manly or ladylike, her uterus is androgynous, so is her beauty ..she takes you to an anonymous universe , you become empyreal .

Hark !, the petrified sound of the bloody pubescent fields ,As you pass by the caged chick-peas planted there,

Do you know why they flutter ?

The night crunches and crackles , most of the goldflake cigarettes refuse to catch fire, you know.

The cold is so indifferent to fire that is lit through the window..

They say summer is round the corner, the sweat , the sultry sanitary napkins, the joy of being nobody surpasses the heat of young days..Rohu would’ve certainly loved a puff.

Pradip Da , one of the shrewd fisherman , by the ferry ghat at Machkhowa , slaughters Rohu every dawn into slices..

“Get the lighter , Maina ? Its right under the square table , green in colour . There , Be careful ..!”

(“….Bortaa , your caterpillar is blossoming every passing day, you better be cautious now , the way she treads into youth , her golden hair , her Hellenic smile might violate those gabhoru ideals in the books ,we make her read. If her pen becomes the ladder, you never know where she goes..”)

The other day, Rohu’s corpse was found lying beside the banks of Pagladia, the very waters she made love to, the four quarters of her mind have been under repressive westward currents .

She left no letters for her best friend.

“I will rise from the dead like Lady Lazarus, I will eat them like vultures “ , I engraved with dark purple on her epitaph.

“Where is the lighter , Maina ….. ? How lazy you are , You should listen to your elders , that’s what our mothers taught us ” Pradip Da yelled out loud .

Years later, Maina will stain her petticoats, deep blue , She will write in blasphemous reds, Ooze out smoke and river; Butcher the sheathes of Rohu’s killers Maina won’t give them the lighters..

______________________________________

1. “I was going to kill my heroine …”: From Michael Cunnigham’s The Hours (Voice of Virginia Woolf)

2….Lady Lazarus is an echo from Sylvia Plath’s poem by the same name.

Bortaa- Uncle

Gabhoru- a young girl who has attained puberty

 

By Rini Barman

A student of English Literature at Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi. From Guwahati, has published poetry and articles in regional newspapers, The Seven Sisters post ,The Assam Tribune, The Sentinel , and magazines from NorthEast like The Eclectic. Is interested in  Film Studies and enjoys writing in Muse India’s Open space

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