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My Bengali Wife (A Portrayal Of Character) - Poem by Bijay Kant Dubey

What sin did I commit or had I in my previous birth
That took I for a Bengali wife,
Asking for her hands to hold,
What sin did I, God,
In my previous birth that got I
The gift of a Bengali girl in reward?

Did, did this Shravan Kumar do any wrong
In his service to parents,
Was it the curse of King Dashrath
That I am suffering
In taking for a Bengali girl
Who speaks sweetly,
But gives me the doses of slow poison
And I am dying?

O, God, see me, where are You, save me,
Mitigate my suffering!
She going with the vanity bag
And I following her as a simpleton hubby,
To be introduced as a servant,
A mod, stylish, bobbed woman she
And I a rustic character.

A hosteller and a hotelier, she has a life of her own
Living on fast foods and ready made diets,
But I a homely fellow
Wanting pure foods,
She out of contact with her family
And I well-connected
And if this be, how to cut the connections?

The daughter of a Bengali King Lear, his Cordelia
Can never be my own
That I know,
He will definitely ask her,
How much do you love me,
O, the foolish king!
Cordelia is King Lear’s and King Lear of Cordelia.

Is she my Lady Macbeth, where are you, my Lady Macbeth,
My Portia, I could not,
My Shakuntala, that fate I did not,
Nor did God give it to me,
My Ophelia, I am not Hamlet,
Think you,
I am not even an Othello.

The daughter of Nagaraja, the Cobra King
And Nagin, the Cobra Queen,
She is but Nagakanya, Cobra Daughter,
Nagaraja playing the been there
And here Nagakanya dancing
And if be this, I too shall one day turn into a snake charmer,
Why not to play with them seriously?

How long shall I go seeing the cat and dog life,
Quarrels overtaking,
Engaging the space
Internally and externally,
How long shall I go living
In tension, trouble and tribulation,
Abuses being hurled,
Under threat and fear?

Like the scholar gipsy, why not to leave the staff room
And to be a snake charmer,
Catching the vipers and cobras
And playing the wooden been into the wilds,
Hilly domains and woods
And taking to life in that way?

Just like Bhartrihari, I want to relinquish and go away
From here
As Pingla can never be my own,
The immortal fruit that gave I to her
Gave she to her courtier love
And as for infidelity sake
I want to renounce it,
The world of maya,
Which is indeed very hard to be renounced.

She will not compromise with,
Hers is all,
Her society, culture, thought and tradition,
My ethos is not her ethos,
I a Bihari coolie, an indentured labourer
And she an East Indian Company clerk,
I am a Hindustani
And she a Bengali.

I am a Kabuliwallah and she a Minu
Of the Tagorean story,
She at a halt alighting from the train
Calling coolie, coolie
And I carrying the bag and baggage of the unknown Calcuttan,
Though not a porter,
Pitying her helplessness.

A Royal Bengal Tiger will remain royal,
The daughter of the tiger and the tigress,
She too a tigress of some sort
As she cannot without fish, meat and eggs,
Red rice she seeks for daily,
Means meat and boiled rice,
The eggs for her British white fruits
And her son too a tiger cub,
A baby tiger to growl at me.

A man with her mind-set of the nuclear family pattern,
She can never think of the joint family
And to break it is her first priority,
As the ox cannot carry so much so load,
Will sit down and the yoke will loosen down,
But I cannot think of my own
Putting on the roads,
Asking to live in the rescue camps or tent-houses,
As life is not a theatre, though we play like.

To be a careerist, a fashion designer, a beautician,
To sip a cup of coffee in a coffee-house
And to visit a mall every evening
To return with a bouquet of flowers,
To get hair cut in a parlour,
Her dream and vision
Nurtured so far, held in esteem,
A thing of self-prestige.

Why to breastfeed the baby, as it will diminish beauty,
How to wean the child from feeding
The hidden agenda of hers,
The plan and strategy,
How to engage a baby-sitter,
How to employ a maid?

Cut off from nature and its spectrum, she has a life of her own,
As life is no life
Without the fridge, cooler, inverter light and water purifier,
The gas stove,
If there is a loadshedding, who burns lanterns,
Cleans the chimneys
As it will blacken the hands?

Speaks she sweetly, but pinches too with the cutting edge,
Sprinkling salt over the wounds,
Using and applying in overtones and undertones,
Sweetly but ironically,
With the razor’s blade,
Cutting across and contradicting,
Saying it doubly.

Her volt facie one cannot as she backtracks so often
Having passed the statement,
Says she has not,
My bete noir,
Upping the ante against me
And in her sweet smiles lie it the critical smiles of my life
And in agonies of my life, want I to end my life,
But end it not
As she will walk away freely
Without any interruption.

A ragging master, rags she so much, heckles and harasses,
Gives the doses and jibes,
Jostles with and jerks,
Pins and perforates,
Taunts and hoots,
Insults and reprimands,
Comments and criticizes,
Makes a fun of,
Laughs and mocks at.


After the never-ending quarrels, taking all daylong,
I keep following as she may report it to the police station,
Stand guard of that she may implicate me
By committing suicide in the bathroom,
Dealing with tactically
To avoid any disaster,
Reading the book of disaster management
And security measures to be taken in this regard.

She throws tomatoes and rotten eggs on me, a veggie
Like Gandhiji,
But averse to his taking of goat milk,
She is not my Mona Lisa,
As no Leonardo da Vinci am I,
Nor have I painted her
And even if I, who can but say,
Why is she smiling critically?

My mother and father not her mother and father,
Only her mother and father her own,
Not my,
Hers are Gurudevas
Giving gurugyana,
Mantras into the ears
For to be recited daily,
Say it not to others.

My mother and father to be kept in the oldman-homes,
To be left on the roads
As for begging,
To be neglected and dumped elsewhere,
Into the municipality garbage heaps,
What a philosophy,
Has she got!

Opera girl, you live in the operas you do,
The theatre is the stage of yours,
You keep doing the roles
And playing,
But I have to return home
As who will give medicines to the old at home,
Who will look after the house,
Burglars will beak into
And run away with?

No Savitri for Satyavan are you, no Bihula for Lakhinder,
No Sita or Savitri,
No Sati caring for Shiva’s prestige,
You are my Bengali wife,
Critical and selfish wife,
Chicken-hearted, nervous and phobiac wife,
Hypocritical, artificial and superfluous.

No Chandramukhi, no Devdas, no Juliette are you,
You are my Bngali wife, Bengali wife,
My Lamia, my Delilah are you,
My Nagin are you,
My life in your hands
Vishkanya, Nagakanya,
My death into the hands of yours.

What did you take me for and what did you come out with,
My enchantress,
Your betrayal like a snake-bite,
Your coquetry and deceit,
I could not, could not, my love,
The drama you did in love!

The villain of my life, villain of the drama of my life,
If you go misbehaving in such a way,
Plotting for the fall of the protagonist,
The dramatic persona,
He will grow sick and short-tempered,
What will the audience say about him,
But you will not compromise with your agenda and resolutions,
Hardcore sociological calculations and solutions,
I know it that you are a slogan-raiser, a socialist, a politico, a socialite.

Selling you, I too think of becoming the Mayor of Calcutta
And dabbling into my ink to write off,
To finish
Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge not,
The Mayor of Calcutta,
Bye-bye, goodbye-goodbye, my Bengali wife,
God forbid if we meet again,
No my father, never,
Never again, God-father,
Both of you,
Never again my experimentation with a Bengali wife,
Maybe she some other community ones!

Part Two
Bijay Kant Dubey, Poet Saheb, not Gora Sahib,
But Brown Saheb,
Why, why did you experiment with a Bengali wife,
Didn’t you a Kashmiri girl,
A Malyali or a Kannada
Or a Telegu beauty,
A Manipuri blonde
Or a Naga girl,
Why, why did you opt for a cleverly Bengali lady?

Your experimentation failed it, failed, Dubey Saheb,
Your experimentation with a Bengali lady,
Speaking sweetly,
But stabbing you,
Taking the money bag out
Just with the drama of love,
But what the return of love?

My world is one of ruins and debris and rubbles,
I lying in a topsy-turvy state
Under the caved in complex of mine,
My headache my Bengali wife,
My giddiness
Her nature and behaviour,
Her sweet politics.

My world one of Where Angels Fear To Tread,
I trying to adjust with,
But she will not compromise
With her ego and hypocrisy,
She will not stoop to conquer,
Just appears to be philanthropic.

When it did start burning, when the fire caught it,
My shanty started burning,
Even the fire brigade took time
In extinguishing
The fire in the poet’s cottage,
The one which the Bengali wife sparked
And now homeless am I
On the footpaths of life.

The lady in the dark sunglasses, who can ever say,
Who the girl is,
Sitting with the upped dark car glasses,
Similar is the situation to deal with,
To recognize man and his heart.

My house was one of the glass house, looked it fine,
But broke it instantly
With a throw of a stone,
O, it was a building of cards
And tottered it down,
O, it was a castle in air
Which came it tumbling down!

I lie down in my arm chair and think about my life
With a cigar into the lips,
The trails of smoke rising,
The blaze burning,
Ashes falling down into the ash-tray
And I reading, suppose you,
Forster’s Notes On The English Character essay,
Where Angels Fear To Tread novel,
Coleridge’s Kubla Khan
And Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge.

Opera Girl, you look better in the opera
Rather than in real life,
And following you, I cannot be an opera man
As work I not in an opera,
As no opera artiste am I,
Nor do I have a role to play.

Take off the goggles you have put on
And try to see
Who am I,
Who we are,
I am your Mr.,
My father and mother lie in they
The old men dependent on me,
Where to throw them out, my Bengali wife?

Lean and thin, poorly health-keeping, will keep closed in,
Will not mix, will not talk with others,
Will always keep to herself,
Her mood and mind, temperament and nature,
Even God cannot guess about, what to say of me, this poor fellow?

When chide you, scold you, reprimand and insult you,
Bear I,
I quarrel with you, I want to lock the house
And move away,
But where to go, Bengali wife?

To take boiled rice two times your food habit,
To take the same diet,
Potato and poppy-seed mixed vegetable daily
In addition to meat or fish or eggs,
I cannot,
To wear red plastic and white conch shell bangles,
Well, wear it, this I approve of it.

Sometimes after living in tension, quarrel and unrest,
Your nagging and bragging,
I fling the dish and again collect it
For taking food,
To quell the hunger of the belly
And the scratches of yours, show I not,
Call them as those by house cats.

A man-hater, an animal-hater and a nature-hater,
My Bengali wife, how to adjust with you,
How to accept all of your theories,
How to call your philosophy final,
Say you,
Madam with the umbrella, money bag and the vanity bag,
In the goggles,
With the perfume sprayed on?

Sometimes, on marking your torture, want I to divorce you,
But divorce I not,
As you will walk freely in the company of loafers,
Which I shall not be able to bear
And hence whatever do you,
I shall keep bearing.

Sometimes marking bruises of maladjustment, taking time out,
I dream of Dr.Faustus seeing Helen and the ships going
And dreaming of a kiss,
I writing my autobiography,
Giving flowers to my shepherd love,
The Shakespearean dark lady.

To cook food two times is a headache for her
As she has passed her days in a boarding house
As a hosteller, living in the hostel, I think,
A hotelier is she touring and hiring on rent,
A changer, changing places,
A picknicker in search of picnic spots,
A holidayer for pleasure trips.

To get a cup of tea from is always welcome
But never to the guest
And even if it is for the first time,
Which I never learnt in my family
And our oven, hearth kept burning with coal
As for the visitors to sip tea,
Any sort of.

The baron saw the golden locks of Belinda and on seeing them
Thought and dreamt of cutting the lock,
Hanging over the face of the British blond,
So think I,
The baron not, but the single Alexander Pope would have
Felt so in his imagination
Just like Charles Lamb thinking about the dream children
In an essay of that type.

Bengal famous not, Indian famous character,
She is so selfish, small, narrow, hollow and shallow from her within,
So nervous, chicken-hearted, timid and frightening,
So critical and contradictory giving the anti-thesis,
Always crossing your philosophy and vision of life
With the Gulliverian things, topsy-turvy state
And it will baffle you,
Conflicting and confusing unto the last.

A scold-master, she will scold in such a way that tears will well up in
And fall from the eyes,
Hairs stand,
The head hangs in shame,
Without any rhyme or reason, for no fault of yours
She can scold and chide you,
Her love and hate even God cannot,
The drama of her love,
False theatrical, showy prem (love) .

Just like a crane, a stork or a heron of some
Water body or marshy land
Is my Bengali wife,
Lean and thin-bodied,
But flying high tactically,
Fishing and searching for a silver lining
Like the Indian fishermen.

A kingfisher, a painted doll is she, sitting and fishing,
Diving and fishing,
Looks she innocent, but is not,
A most culprit is she,
My Bengali lady.

That she is selfish, short-tempered and small
Is India-famous,
Everybody in India knows it,
That she is nervous, chicken-hearted and timid
Is well-known,
A poultry-farm owner
Like March and Banford of D.H.Lawrence’s The Fox novella,
Rearing to eke out a living strugglingly.

As clever as a cat, taking fish and running away,
As clever as a wily, swift-footed fox
And a crow with a loaf of bread,
Lifted away trickily,
I get the things tallied with
And compare with my Bengali wife, not their wife.

A saleswoman, a beautician, a fashion designer,
She is a careerist, a florist
And had I fallen in love with a mannequin
Kept in the glass at the entrance
Of the sari showroom,
It would have been better.

My Bengali wife, looks she philanthropy, but is not,
She is Rosemary Fell of A Cup of Tea story of Mansfield,
Pitying the beggar girl
In fashion and modernity
And abandoning her
As for the praise of the husband.

She can dump her family as for the job,
Can take up any career,
Can live on sliced bread and butter
And rice puffs, but will not cook food,
What will you do to her,
If be such her philosophy of life and living,
If be as such her mentality?

To down you her nature, to discuss illogically,
To behave irritatingly,
She is so selfish and parochial,
So short-tempered and critical,
Speaks sweetly no doubt,
But taunts and mistreats.

To beak the joint family on her coming first
And the help she gets from her family members
Unacceptable,
For this I am ever ready to station my forces
And give the order for fight
By hurling shoes and beatings on the critical incumbent mildly,
Marking her future actions and goings.

My Bengali love, for the whole of my life,
In Bihar, Bengal or Jharkhand,
Have I kept fighting, doing the guerrilla war,
As for morality sake
And I shall fight,
Shall not surrender before you.

As run I not after job and employment blindly,
To give lessons in culture and good manners my job
And for it, I can go to any level,
I shall put a fight with you
But shall not surrender
With my morality, ethics and heredity.

Even the Marxistic literature you have in your jute bag
Cannot put my life in danger,
Your socialistic revolts and rebellions,
I fear them not,
Nor your politicizing, nor your castigating,
Your boycott and hoot out
Can never change my equations.

I am not a Bihari coolie whom you see on platforms,
Nor a rustic minister,
Blunt and bogus from Bihar,
As the Biahris, many of them I myself like them not,
But I too have a culture, a refinement
Which but carry I from my family side.

My Bengali wife, sorry to say,
I could not change you,
Your conception and way of living,
Your thought and idea,
Your view-point,
I could not change them, change you.

A Bengali Lear’s daughter, you can never think of
Settling elsewhere,
A middle-class girl,
You will middle-classy,
To debate and discuss your nature,
To outwit and befool your habit.

A frog of a well, your mind cannot dwell elsewhere
Without thinking of here,
Living with you see I
The fissure and crack figuring in my house,
Members turning against me
And I thinking of the partition.

You can never compromise with,
Never learn to adjust,
You will say this
But work that,
Speaking sweetly,
But ever ready to give doses,
Venom injections.

My language not your language as you will
They are Biharis,
My behaviour, culture and manner,
Anti-Hindi, anti-me, anti-all,
Bye-bye, my wife, ta-ta, bye-bye,
My love, a small world woman,
Changeless are you!

Bengali wife, yours is a different life,
A mechanical life and living
And living we mechanically,
You loving me mechanically
And I you mechanically,
As mechanics are we
With our separate tool and apparatus.

In the heart of hearts, hate I you
And you me,
I avert my gaze from seeing you
And you me,
You calling me dirty Bihari
And I rotten Bengali.

Even in my house see I the supporters
Of Bengal and Bihar
And dividing across the lines,
Bengali and Hindi for their entries,
Reminding me of Indian anti-Hindi movements.

My son and daughter speaking in Bengali among themselves,
I teaching in broken Bengali in the classrooms,
I talking with my son and daughter in Angika dialect
And Bengali wife,
They understand it,
Whether or not, but I go on speaking with.

My son responds in Angika as I have imposed upon
In Bengali-Bengal since long,
But my daughter fails to speak in Angika,
My wife knows it not,
Neither Hindi nor Angika dialect.

My son and daughter cannot write Hindi,
My wife never will she be able,
My son can speak Hindi,
But my daughter responds to in Bengali
When call I in Hindi or Angika,
My wife too.

I do not know it which is mine,
What it is mine,
Where my home,
What my language,
What my tradition and heritage?

A worshipper of Radha and Krishna, I cannot swing her
Underneath the shady trees,
Nor on the terrace of the second floor
As modern man does
By making the villa wife sit

And for her, Krishna looking lovely and colourful,
But for me dramatic, playful and loverly
And the one keeping the company of girls,
Giggling in between,
Fluting and winking at,
Smiling,
Doing the drama of love

And for me, Shiva is all,
Saintly and good,
Going on the bull
With the trisula and the kamandala
Into the hands,
And a rudraksha rosary,
With the snake around the neck
And unmindful of that,
The neck looking bluish
As for poison and snakes

Loking sadhu-sadhu, yogi-yogi, fakir-fakir,
Asking for nothing else,
But going,
The shamshana the place of His living and the sadhna,
The mountains the abode of His,
All asking for nine gems and assets,
But He keeping mum
As what they, He will accept that.

Enough is enough,
The house I am living is burning,
Fire-flames will reduce everything to ashes
And it will not remain anything else here,
So think I disposing off the bone of contention
And to divide,
The wife will remain with her one kid for the fifteen days
And the rest with another
And I too shall keep rotating alternatively on the other hand,
But never under the same roof,
Both of us to be together with.


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