Table of Contents
  About the Poetess
  My Father's Country
  Azadi: 1989-1995
  The Yellow River
  Summer Rain
  Mother's Day USA
  Bride in Red
  My Dream
  The City of Dread
  Kashmir Today
  Sukeshi has a Dream
  Autumn Rain
  The Story of Ganesha
  Washer Woman
  The Ever New Poet
  The Yogi
  The Rishi
  My Death
  Self Spectre
  Autumn Song
  Book in pdf format

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



The Story of Ganesha

Ancient mountain home
of many snows,
caves of ice and the Yati.
It was here,
the daughter of Himalaya
turned away from mother
and father, 
put away her playthings

to win Shiva
with her service,
her slenderness
and youthful beauty.
When his wrath burnt
the arrow like body
of Kama,
the god of love -
with tearless eyes,
the young girl
watched as Kama's young
bride mourned.

Scorched by the blue
flame of Shiva's 
pitiless eye: phoenix
and the turtle dove. 

the mountain born,
sheared her hair,
smeared ash
on her firm breasts,
turned deaf ear
to mother's love
father's tears,
wise counsel 
of female friends.

In tapas, she wished
to burn all that clung
to the soul, made it heavy.

Her body's beauty was 
not enough, she would
have to win him another way.
The one who wore snakes
around his blue neck.

He slept with 
half burnt corpses,
dressed in mortal ash:
the eternal, the undying
forming kinship
with death
in bone strewn
cremation grounds
by sacred rivers, whistling
of night winds among
pine and wild chestnut
grooves, burnt out patches
of blue grass.

Shiva, the mendicant,
the one without a home
and hearth, without means
of sustenance.

At the end of her penance,
he came to her.
First in disguise,
to test her.
She knew him and he kissed
her ruby lips,
took her in his arms
when no one was looking.

She married him, bore him
the warrior son, Kartikeya
of matchless beauty. He
whom all women desire 
but none can have.

Parvati created another son.
All her own, mother's keeper.
He told stories 
when vagrant father
was not home
and mother was sad.

Mostly, he watched
the door when she invited
to her home Ghandarva men.
Played water sports,
thinking only of Shiva
who wandered the earth.

He came to her, not when
she needed him,
but when he needed her.

One such afternoon,
Shiva arrived, covered all over 
in dust, grime and ashes.
His red eyes burnt with
a great hunger of which
little Ganesha could
not have known for he was
not a father-born.

Himalaya's grandson
blocked the door.
Hissed and pointed
a fist and the beggar
took out
his long thin knife.

A death cry reached where
there was music and incense.
Flowers turned red.
In silence, Girija's weeping
settled in with a dark night,
a lifeless head in her arms.

The divine father waited till
dawn, hiding underneath
a cherry tree.
Then he lunged the same knife
into the pale-green body
of a young elephant, adorned
with marigolds, lilacs
and amaranth braids.
Dressed for a festival, perhaps.

The severed head clung to
Ganesha's bleeding trunk
as his own.
Mother-born, reconstructed
by Father's wrath.
Father's new love, and he became
a scholar, a scribe:
a cheerful, merciful god,
born of a woman only.

[© Lalita Pandit, April 20, 1995].



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