Poetry | ‘Anuvaad’ by Sanket Mhatre | Issue 36 (Nov, 2020)


Translation happens when two languages make fervent love
on the creaky charpoy of literature
It doesn’t commence on the pure whites of serene pages
But in musty rooms on dusty bedsheets, rented by the hour
Creased with years of isolated destinies and skin coloured cravings
Languages undress text and strip semantics
Unbutton sentences and unzip grammar, like hungry lovers
They reveal their naked selves
In the never-ending gaze of two mirrored silences
sizing their own infinite possibilities
one language climbs atop another in a feverish, teenage frenzy
As if to make love
Instead, they trace one on the other
with chalk like hands on the slate of their chests
celebrating the akshar and the alphabet
the shabd and the word
Redefining the age-old alchemy, not known to any linguist yet
They giggle, knowing they were born from the same birdsong
One language yields
Her letters part to reveal their honey warmth
And the other language penetrates,
Infusing the scent of fresh earth of the land it came from
Translation happens when languages give each other
the solace of their rhythm
When they impart not just their syntax but their faces
When they both experience a unified star burst
of uncaptured meanings
They lie after this maddening rush
Legs intertwined in the mesh of satiated phrases
Whispering softly the million ways, in which
they could keep translating each other
not knowing when language took the surname Bhasha
and translation transformed into an Anu‘vaad’
so they could argue and enjoy this beatific makeup sex, repeatedly
Until a new dictionary is born each year,
in remembrance.

Sanket Mhatre was the chief assistant director of Kavyotsav 2001: the first bilingual poetry reading festival of Marathi and Kannada poets. He has held several poetry reading sessions across the country. He performed at Kavyahotra 2018, the 72-hour poetry reading festival in Goa with 9 poets from other languages. Widely published, he has also been the first Marathi poet to read at Vagdevi Litfest & Jaipur Literature Festival in 2020. He’s also the creator & founder of Kavita Cafe: A Youtube Channel that captures the best of Indian Poets in recitation. 

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