This place is nice.
A raised land.
Francesca lives on this side
and Banabihari on the other.
A yellow dog in between
will run after you.
I’ve brought a ping-pong ball for it.
A flute like the Hamelin one for
the vagabond who lives
under the Koai Bridge.
As blue watermelons grow well there
rats cause great trouble.
And I’ve brought a hair clip for Francesca,
a ponytail garter for Banabihari.
For the time being, let’s not talk about
the other things I’m carrying.
I’m an irrelevant man,
my sack will have this and that.
But this place is nice.
For a change, I’ve been thinking
of bringing our old ill-tempered town here
Banabithi leaves for school
after the morning train whistles and goes away.
Now I can call Francesca.
We talk about old tram tracks and new ringtones.
The yellow dog is bothering us too much,
it wants its morning supper.
After this, the vagabond will arrive . . .
I can see all this through the phone.
The songs of Nidhu Babu keep on playing in her room
she is humming a tune in a moist voice.
And she watches me—
walking along the abandoned tram tracks.
Are all the men in this world
lonely like a tram track?
Translated from the Bengali by Owshnik Ghosh
Abhijit Bera is a well-known Bengali poet. His poems have appeared in several publications, both online and in print, including the Signpost, Miletus, Antonym, the Anandabazar Patrika, Desh, and the Prachya Review. He has four major publications to his credit. His poems have been translated into Hindi, Russian, Assamese and Turkish, and he is a recipient of the Krittibas Award and the Yapanchitra Award.
Owshnik Ghosh is a student of Comparative Indian Languages and Literature. A bilingual writer, he is engaged in a number of translation projects. He is a co-editor of the Antonym, a web magazine. He is also associated with the Yapanchitra magazine. His first poetry collection will be published at the Kolkata International Book Fair, 2024.