Silhouette Memory

A little background:

It’s a poem that I came across while taking a walk down the memory lane. In a not-dusty corner of an old drawer (because, you know, mothers clean everything :P ) back at home, I found my dusty, yellowing old diary. It smells of old pages and childhood stupidities. And it also looks like my progress report, from literature that has appealed me as a naive kid to literature that has appealed me as a useless teenager :D

Not much progress, if I must say.

I found this poem among those pages. It was written in 2004 on a train journey back from a one day school trip to Bhubaneshwar (a luxury and a delight back then). The idea of listening to the ‘discourse’ of teachers back then somehow appealed to me a lot (kind of explains the career choice I have made for myself). And that’s why, one would have found me on that cold winter evening sharing a coop with a few teachers and some unwilling, reluctant friends whom I dragged along with me. Best 3 hrs of my life!

It was in this time, this era, that this poem was written. Patro Sir (our Odiya teacher) wrote this, in what seems like a thoughtful, ephemeral epoch which was inspired by an undisturbed seating beside the window with the cold winter wind stirring those deeply settled emotions. He retrieved it from the fathoms of his thoughts on paper in Odiya. And then Mishra Sir (English teacher) translated it for the benefit of the less able like me. I am having to assume that he knew Patro Sir fairly well (they are neighbors, till date) for the remark that “It’s almost as if I have written it.” had been made after he went through the translation. For only the one who knows the poet well can translate poetry with such accuracy. Rest is just speculation.

As for me, I quickly copied the poem because I knew there will be a day, far away from that day, when I would understand the poem. I am just glad I had access to paper that day. Needless to say, this was the best part of the trip.

Enough with the background. Here’s the poem:

Perhaps thou…
To this unification of time
These ecstasy and sensations
In this eternal kingship
Of rope
Will tie

Or

Being selfish
To the ingredients of solitary progress of longings
Gathering & gathering
Will wipe it out.

Today’s memory within
Tomorrow’s
Self centered endless deeds

But,

I will store in my mind
With secret care
In an iron box,
Or made of silver
In a gold covering
Today’s memory.

If I get relaxation,
From the materialistic world’s
Fixed routines
I shall open
Very often
In solitude,
When you will come
To my memory
In your present
Or past.

Your silhouette memory. 

~ U. C. Patro (Translated by Sribatsa Mishra)

P.S – For the ones with a challenged vocabulary, Silhouette [sil-oo-et] means an outline or a shape (for e.g. taking a picture against the sun would give you a beautiful silhouette. For reference, check the blog header.)

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