Table of Contents
  Index
  About the Poetess
  My Father's Country
  Azadi: 1989-1995
  The Yellow River
  Father
  Summer Rain
  Anantnag
  Mother's Day USA
  Mahtab
  Bride in Red
  Seasons
  Priya
  Refugee
  My Dream
  The City of Dread
  Kashmir Today
  Sukeshi has a Dream
  Autumn Rain
  The Story of Ganesha
  Washer Woman
  The Ever New Poet
  The Yogi
  The Rishi
  My Death
  Self Spectre
  Autumn Song
  Book in pdf format

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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Mahtab

Mahtab was a virtual
orphan my mother
took in. She put warm,
clove scented oil
on the welts, purple
and blue bruises.

She became Mahtab's
intermediary, sent
her home unwillingly.

One evening, the girl lost
a spatula: fine copper
with silver polish.

It was
late November.
Knee deep in water,
the girl 
with a dark face
could not find 
a spatula.

It was night already
and Mahtab lunged
after silvery fish. 

They slipped from her
hands, the spatula must
have hidden behind
a heavy, moss covered
stone, sickly green.

How could Mahtab go home?
"Bhatanya Dedi," she said
to my mother, "they will 
kill me."

Mahtab's tears were warm,
her hands cold like ice;
her hair took many full
buckets to get clean.

She became beautiful.
Fifteen years later,
my mother went back
to Mahtab's town 
and wanted to see her.

The girl had died
in childbirth; there was
no grave, they said.

If there was one,
no one could find it.
"Bhatani! why 
do you care so much?" 
they said.

My mother is not 
an ideologue.
In her dreams
Kashmir is Mahtab
whose grave
she cannot find.

[© Lalita Pandit, May 18, 1998].

 

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