The Price of a Book
The price printed on a book
Doesn’t belong to author
Nor should it go to him
Its price is not even that of his work
It’s the price at which
He agrees to sell his consciousness.
My mother smiles
Nor tells me off
Nailed to a wall
Nothing bothers her now
Neither being targeted by a ball
Nor when a bird’s dropping festoon her
She looks on
As she hangs from the wall
But, when the silent sunbeams visit her every morning
Through her eyes framed in glass
My mother caresses
The rooms in which our house is imprisioned
And she seems happy
Is this all true?
Was it after or before she was clamped in a frame that she grew happy?
What does she get from simply hanging from a wall?
She alone knows
Why she has turned into nothingness
Even when she is everything
Why she is not here
And yet is omnipresent.
We are all prisoners encased in frames
We all hang on walls
And like glass
we get shattered and scattered’
And pierce like thorns
Still how distinct are our respective frames, walls and glass!
Translation from Hindi by Lalit Mohan Joshi