A short description of some of the important events in the life of the sister in law from Babhangama

(Krishna Mohan Jha)

Painting: Paul Klee (1939), Angel Applicant

(Translation: Rajesh Jha)

Which happily married women won’t envy
the blessed and lucky marital life of the sister-in-law from Babhangama?

Well, I accept,
she never saw a book or notebook in her life.
Agreed, she could get hair oil or use cosmetics only on festivals,
True, she could never tie,
the family key in her saree,

Accepted, that offerings and entreaties to the gods at
holy places, on pious days could not get her a second son.

But, no doubt,
winnowing and sieving her full and sumptuous life,
in 37 years,
She cooked 38289 chapatis,
Drained 2173 bowls of boiled rice
Cleaned utensils and plates, 13,000 times
Daubed the courtyard with wet mud and cow dung 307 times
Wore 47 sarees and 92 blouses
Slept 275 nights without food
Enjoyed sex 3 times and was raped 949 times
gave birth to 4 daughters,
had abortion 5 times.

But look, the most touching thing was,
just the morning after the wive’s sacred festival of Barisat-
Red vermilion shining bright in the parting of her hair,
Hands decked with bangles of lac,
She left the world, in front of her husband,
without a morsel, nor a drop!

I am grateful to Nabina Das and Prof. Ranu Uniyal for their reading of the translation and offering valuable comments.

Krishna Mohan Jha, poet and literary critic, is a professor at Assam Central University, Silchar. He writes in Hindi and Maithili. He has published two collections of poems Samay Ko Cheerkar in Hindi and Ekta Herayel Duniya in Maithili. He has received several literary awards. Email- krishnaamjha@gmail.com

(मूल-मैथिली कविता)
बभनगमाबाली भौजीक जीवनक महत्त्वपूर्ण घटना सभक एक टा संक्षिप्त विवरणिका

◆ कृष्णमोहन झा

आ से एहेन अहिबाती के हेती
जे बभनगमाबाली भौजीक सोहाग-भाग देखि जरि नई जेती

ओना मानलहुँ
जे हुनका पोथी-पतराक दर्शन नइँ भेलनि

मानलहुँ जे पाबनि-तिहारे हुनका तेल-कूड़ भेटलनि

मानलहुँ जे चाभीक गुच्छा
ओ कहियो अपन आँचर मे नहि बान्हि सकलीह

ईहो मानलहुँ जे लाख कबुलाक बादो
आजीवन ओ दोसर पुत्र-रत्न प्राप्त नहि क’ सकलीह

मुदा निस्सन्देह
एक टा भरल-पूरल जीवन के छाँटैत-फटकैत
अपन 37 बरखक बयस मे ओ
38289 टा सोहारी पकेलीह
2173 डेगची भात पसेलीह
13000 बेर बर्तन-बासन माजलीह
307 बेर आँगन निपलीह
47 टा साड़ी आ 92 टा ब्लाउज पहिरलीह
275 राति भूखल सुतलीह
हुनका 3 बेर भेटलनि सम्भोगक सुख आ 949 बेर भेलनि बलात्कार
बेटी जनमौलनि 4 टा आ 5 बेर
भेलनि गर्भपात

मुदा ई देखू सभ सँ मार्मिक बात
जे ठीक बरसातिक प्रात
जखन हुनक सीथ रहनि सिनूर सँ कहकह करैत
आ भरल रहनि लहठी सँ हाथ-
तखन अपन स्वामीक आगू
बिना अन्न-जल ग्रहण कयने ओ भ’ गेली विदा

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