Daughters of Ganges

A riddle of kinds, in a shroud of white, where is that Paavi, who loved her life
Lo and behold that angel’s birth, how tramped on daisies, little feet of mirth
Now cuffed to a timeless mire of slurs, a widow they discern, “a dead man’s wife!”
Nothing afore, afar that hearth, kindled pyre of a woman’s worth

Kashi has aged a thousand years with many more years of Paavi’s woe
Beside the Ganges, her endless flow, once a darling daughter’s squandered glow
Surrogate profound, a mother found, dissolved her allure many moons ago
In dusky digs, now a sinking shadow, a gambled life, easy come easy go

Through splintered sense, as she recounts, a Bangla bride from a hamlet afar
She, a cherub of eight, groom, fifty or so, what on earth that means, would the poor tot know?
Solemnized by fire, a ritual bizarre, widowed next day, a worthy soul wrecked, in a barefaced bazaar
A tattooed name, is what lingers though, of the ghost alas who owns this possessed widow

“Ominous” pronounced, an outcast soul, unwary to the sin, indicted for
Banished to forgetfulness, veiled from ogles, a chaste spirit, Paavi stands betrayed
At the crossroads of a forgone existence, a little woman tangled with miseries galore
No more cherished to anyone, with a shaven head, exiled to Kashi for “pilgrimage”, why this callous charade?

Cleansed in Ganges her first menses, now a lass refined in half senses
As the woman in a widow bloomed unbound, love and longing made her spirit profound
A riot within her that breached defenses, spent in passion at her pious expenses
It wasn’t love for a widow as she found, lust at most, alas a throbbing fling, forever to hound

At seventy or so, Paavi, a matron now, in a run-down ashram, a dying holy cow
Every sting subsumed on a failing soul, she begs to mother Ganges for an early parole
Ganges replies” My child! I avow, thou shall have my eternal love, and thou I also endow,
With solace that time stole, and deliverance from destiny, for thy life-long toll

Thy passion sublime, thy virtue, unblemished by time
Rest in my arms, let thyself dissolve, in my hallowed psalms”
Paavi, a spent force, looks back overwhelmed, but no recourse
Hurls herself in Ganges’ blissful fold, a moment to resolve the soul’s threshold
Here lies nirvana’s divine doorway, Namo Gange, Namo Gange, Namo Gange …………..

© 2015 Vikas Chandra


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