No Farewell To Dharwad
Bound by rope to bamboo, on a pyre of wood, you will soon consign me to the flames. Charred to ashes and swept ever so gently by the wind, I will blend with the Universe.
My remains are all but a handful of bones (can I really call them mine?) I exist no more ! A pot of stubborn bones and crumbly ashes, all that is left of me, you carry in your hands reverentially.
You weep and I weep too, but its different. You will prevail, but I have to depart !!! I weep at the thought of being sundered from my dear Dharwad !
No end to desires is the decree of the sages. Yet, I do have one final longing, will you hear me out?
Skirting the city where serenity reigns over a little pond ; where lush green cover abounds ; where cows, bulls and buffaloes stride by to quench their thirst herding their bantam calves – there, the soft tinkling of the cow bells around their necks, I must hear ; lilting notes of the cowherds’ flutes must be near. The distinct clinking of glass bangles as women folk troop to the pond to wash their loads of clothes must float to my ears. Learned banter of the Wise as they stroll out for fresh air must linger in my ears. All and much that happens in my dear Dharwad must I apperceive, while the rains of Shraavana drench every inch of me.
In such a spot, bury my remains, will you ? That I may dwell eternally in the bosom of my dear Dharwad.
(PS : Shraavana is considered to be a holy month in the Hindu calendar due to the many festivals that are celebrated during this time.)
A new literary attempt in 2017.
The above ‘poetry-to-prose’ is an attempt to reproduce a poem from a regional language to English in the form of a story, a Wordsong.
My father had a dream for me. He tried his best in his lifetime to get me to write. “Just write’, he would say “and you will soon write well”. It remains a regret to this day that I denied him that pleasure. If there is a way to make up to him for that, I dedicate all my blogging to my dad.
Not a man of letters himself, I mean academically, but write, he did – my father, N H Katgeri. In simple and colloquial words, yet moved minds and hearts when he let his emotions pour forth. He wrote in Kannada, a regional language from the south of India. In his first publication ‘Pratijnegalu‘, which is a collection of short poems or should I say his random musings, he reveals his reverence to his home-town, Dharwad, which he loves to distraction.
Eight years after he passed away have I taken to paying a tribute to him, in trying to reach his literary work wider and placing Dharwad, the land of many fine arts (music, literature, handicrafts and folk-art) on a bigger map.
Dharwad : Used to be a sleepy town with sylvan surroundings once upon a time, but is now a throbbing city that is caught between the old world charm and the inescapable modernity of the times. My father did and I lament too at having lost a beautiful hilly town to the ravages of a city that tries hard to keep pace with the rest of the world. But some, like this college premises, the famous Karnatak College have managed to retain their old-world charm. More on the diversities of Dharwad soon.
Dharwad is said to be at least 900 years old and is rich with its cultural heritage. It is now the district headquarters of Dharwad district in the state of Karnataka. It was merged with Hubballi, a neighbouring city in 1961 to form the twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad. Located 425 km northwest of Bengaluru on NH 48, it is lodged between Pune and Bengaluru and makes for some excellent driving trips.
Wikipedia says this about Dharwad :
The word “Dharwad” means a place of rest in a long travel or a small habitation. For centuries, Dharwad acted as a gateway between the Malenaadu (western mountains) and the Bayalu seeme (plains) and it became a resting place for travellers. The name is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘dwarawata’, ‘dwara‘ meaning “door” and ‘wata‘ or ‘wada‘ meaning “town”.
Isnt it symbolic then that my father yearns to rest eternally in the bosom of Dharwad, the place of rest ?