Anju Makhija

Meeting With Lord Yama

Excerpted from Anju's Verse Drama, ‘Meeting with Lord Yama’, where  
Brinda, a school teacher, finds herself in Yamapura, soon after her death.

Which life is ours, which singled out?
The call comes unexpectedly.
I’m still in body, laden with weight,
still with outer form and gait.
Bones do not crack, words remain intact;
life, past and future, does not flash by.
The eyes see as they did yesterday,
as they do today; yet, the end
it seems to be for me…

Horizontal lines intervene,
blurring memories, centuries.
Creatures asunder, split images:
the upper a human, the lower an ass,
bodies torn apart in a flash.
What causes can affect my rebirth?
Will I pay karma’s dues?
Am I paying them already?
I have committed wrongs,
I see that clearly now…
But, my virtues to flaunt
would be out of sorts.
Escape, I must, quickly
from the jaws of that dog,
the jaws of judgement.
No one there or anywhere!
How can that be?
Am I destined for a future
not meant for ordinary beings?
However, I’m not extraordinary.
I need not have lost my life
– that’s another story.
I am here now, where
I never intended to be!
I am dead, though life
does not appear to leave me.

Anju Makhija is an award-winning poet,translator and playwright. She has authored three poetry collections; co-translated two volumes including 'Seeking the Beloved: the Poetry of Shah Abdul Latif';co-edited three literary anthologies.She has won several awards, among them the Sahitya Akademi English Translation Prize, BBC World Regional Poetry Prize and the Charles Wallace Trust Award. She has been on the English Advisory Board of the Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi.