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Translated from the Hindi by Shivam Tomar

Words of Love

Outside the chest and respiratory clinic, 

the old man sitting next to me is constantly checking his phone.

The screen has a chat window open 

with everything written in a foreign script.

The next moment,

there pops an English sticker that read “Love you”.

It must have been sent by someone

who couldn’t come along—

Possibly a woman, a child, 

or a friend from another city.

His eyes glow

as he reads it again and again.

Whatever his ailment may have been,

At this moment,

His chest is swelling with happiness.

Hindi Day (or Hindi Divas)

On this Hindi Day,

I got a poem calligraphed in Mandarin as a gift.    

On this Hindi Day,

an American girl told me

that she is learning the craft of writing stories

from Tagore’s book.

On this Hindi Day,

I recommended Nirmal Verma

to a poetess who writes beautiful love poems.

On this Hindi Day,

I translated a couple of Russian poems into Hindi.

On this Hindi Day, 

I made myself chuckle 

by reading a favorite poem of mine

in Rajgarh dialect.

On this Hindi day, 

my eyes welled up when I remembered 

how a Punjabi girl used to appease.

On this Hindi day,

a man from the desert walked restlessly 

in the garden of languages, 

crying, laughing, and singing in Hindi.

Houses of Chekhov and Pushkin

I have my own reasons for not writing stories.

For example, I have my own biases on characters.

I can’t remain apathetic to their fate.

I rarely read novels.

I have a famine of synonyms.

I’ve never seen many curtains in my life,

and I believe that a novelist should see

a lot of rooms, windows, and curtains.

Windows without curtains and

Curtains without windows.

They should be aware of 

when to draw them aside or slide them back

And most importantly they should be aware 

of the best time to disclose the colour of the curtains

in their stories.

That dog, who was barking at me 

outside the old house of Chekhov, 

may have sensed my inability to write stories.

I am a poet who expresses his enormous feelings

in just a few words

Though it may seem like 

proud words from a weak stomach.

I’ve lost a lot of love battles 

and have been duped a lot of times by acquaintances.

This all must have been known 

to the soul of the pious, loving poet 

who was wandering around me 

at Pushkin’s maternal grandmother’s house.

(Where Pushkin spent a significant part of his boyhood)

This all must have been known

 To every room and corner of that house.

To the silver-strewn snow 

and the brisk Russian wind,

even to the well, which I did not peer into, 

and to the rusted locks installed by newlyweds 

who used to come there for blessings.

The door was opened twice for me 

in that house.

Devesh Path Sariya is a critically acclaimed Hindi poet, non-fiction prose writer and a translator. He has been travelling around the world while writing and pursuing his interests. Born and brought up in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, he currently works in Taiwan as a post-doctoral researcher in astronomy. Devesh has two books to his credit, including Nooh ki Naav (2021) published by the prestigious Sahitya Akademi, Delhi and Haqeeqat Ke Beech Darar (2021), Hindi translation of senior Taiwanese poet Lee Min-Yung’s poetry collection.

Shivam Tomar is a bilingual Indian poet and translator from Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. He has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and is currently pursuing post-graduation in Hindi literature. Simultaneously, he works as a curator and editor for Poems India, a literary organisation that curates contemporary Hindi and English poetry. His poems have previously been published on various online platforms.

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