26. Poem ‘Patralekha’ (Letter Writing) from the book Punascha (Again), written in 1933.

Translator’s note: In this poem the poet depicts the frustration of a newly wed girl out of her failure to draft out a suitable letter to her husband whose workplace is away from home. As was common in those days, the girl lived in the joint family of her husband. Though, like dinosaur, the joint families are on the extinct to-day even in Bengal/India and also the art of letter writing is on the decline with the advent of STD/ISD, the Poet’s affectionate description of the girl’s plight with a touch of humor is indeed enjoyable even in to-day’s changed milieu.

You gifted me a pen golden,
Along with a desk wooden
And other odds and ends“
Like letter heads of diverse mends“
Enameled paper cutters,
Gum, tape, scissors,
Pencils blue, red and grey
And said, I must write every other day.

So I sit for it,
Only to realize you flit
To write on what else,
My fancy never tells.
The sole news nothing new
As well before you knew“
That gone are you
Yet, you regard it not through and through.
So I muse to inform you
That gone are you.
But every time I begin my writing,
I realize, the news is not an easy thing.
A poet I am not,
So my words fall short
To tune up all I implore
My scribbles only pile up the waste store.

Oh! It is ten“ school time for Baku,
Your sweet nephew
I must see to his meal“
So for the last time I feel
That gone you are“
Rest of the scribbles are waste paper.