K V Tirumalesh

Image credit – wikipedia.org

Kannada poems trans. by S Jayasrinivasa Rao

These poems of KV Tirumalesh, the eminent Kannada modernist poet, that appear here have Hyderabad as their backdrop. Tirumalesh came to Hyderabad in the 1970s and made Hyderabad his home. These poems are not about places, but impressions and images that these places trigger in the mind of the poet. These ‘Hyderabad Poems’ appear in Avadha (1986), his fifth collections of poems.

‘Usman Saagarada Dandeyinda’ ??????? ????? ???????? from Avadha (1986)
With such fierce focus, O young man,
what are you looking at?  
The proverbial footsteps of the fish or
the mysterious inner pathways of the 
girl you are in love with?
What form would the broken images take
floating in from the stirrings of the restless lake.
Just like you
I’m waiting too
with bated breath.
when the waves rest
and things are clear,
would we have forgotten
who we are?
 ‘Hyderabadige’ ??????????? from Avadha (1986)
And then we arrived in Hyderabad.
It was already blazing hot in the afternoon.
To spew out hot steam at night
boulders burned red-hot through the day.
Only under these boulders, a little bit of shade.
The crow on the clock-tower
posed a riddle:
a sea without water
a boat without sails
where will they end up
those who sail from here?
The fellow on the bicycle
banged his bell,
‘Don’t you have nights for your dreams,’ he snapped.
We hadn’t slept the night before.
The wail that was heard from Salar Jung Museum,
was it the wail of a yakshi, or of a ghost, or 
was it the wail of a lonely frightened wooden statue, or 
was it the rhythm inside the hearts of the listeners?
We don’t believe any of these.
We will continue to do our work
as if nothing had happened.
The crow on the clock-tower?
Nobody has ever seen it since then.
‘Hydergudadallobba Haida’ ?????‌??????????? ??? from Avadha (1986)
In Hyderguda
there lived a haida, you see.
For many long years,
no talk,
no tale, and
to any question,
was the answer.
Eventually, a bairagi
passing through gave
him a fistful of ragi.
What a miracle!
The lad, all of a sudden,
started talking!
What grammatical clarity
within a day!
What language proficiency!
People said – it’s Allah’s grace,
that can create a bairagi
and also produce ragi.
Over time, everyone
forgot the bairagi,
and the ragi.
In Hyderguda today,
you won’t see the lad
you can’t hear his words.
Where did he go,
he who conjured up sentences?
In Secunderabad,
he hauls sacks,
he guards carts.
*young boy


Issue 100 (Nov-Dec 2021)

  • Editorial
    • Semeen Ali: Editorial Note
  • Poems
    • Apurba Bhuyan
    • Bishnu Sankar Verma
    • Chittaranjan Mishra
    • Christian Ward
    • Isha Sharma
    • K V Tirumalesh
    • Kumar Luv
    • Poorva Trikha
    • Sagar Mal Gupta
    • Seema Bashir
    • Shanta Acharya
    • Shuvam Dewanjee
    • Sudeep Sen
    • Susri Bhattacharya
    • Tamoghna Mukherjee
    • Tathagata Banerjee
    • Viji Narayan