Nilim Kumar’s poem translated from Assamese by Shyamolima Saikia
Two plates of biryani loaded with laughter
Two bowls of soup slathered with happiness
And a plate of salad chopped and sliced out of forgetfulness
Could you make a home delivery of these?
A play by the name ‘Nothingness’
Did we go to watch
And now both return empty-handed.
Till midnight we both sit
In the chair of arrogance
With the kitchen’s hearth, too
Remaining today unlit
Just in case there isn’t any item
Of laughter and mirth
Could you deliver home
A plate of biryani put together out of melancholy
Two bowls of soup seasoned with sorrow
And one plate of raw salad
Chopped and sliced out of forgetfulness?
And can you send forth along with these
Perhaps an ounce of thirst and hunger?
Nilim Kumar is a much acclaimed contemporary poet of Assamese literature. He has to his credit a total of seventeen collections of poems -- Achinar Akhukh (1985), Bari Kunwar (1988), Swapnar Relgaari (1991), Seluoi Gadhuli (1992), Topanir Baagicha (1994), Panit Dhou Dhoubor Mach (1990) among others. Besides, he is the author of several novels such as Matit Uri Phura Chitrakar, Akash Apartment and Athkhon Premar Uppannyas. He is also the President of The Call of the Brahmaputra, a socio-cultural literary organization of Assam. He is the recipient of several prestigious awards such as the Raza Foundation Award (2009) and Uday Bharati National Award (1994). Moreover, his poems have been translated into many national as well as international languages.
Shyamolima Saikia is working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Gargaon College, Sivasagar, Assam. Besides editing an anthology titled Poetry Unites: An Anthology of Verse and several other books, she has also published a book of poems titled Palimpsest. Her poems have been published in Borderless Journal, Muse India, Indian Periodical, Virtuoso, Teesta Review, Soul Connection, Yugen Quest Review, Provincial Creatives and anthologies like Antargata, the Kali Project, Paradise On Earth: An International Anthology, Earth, Fire, Water & Wind A Poetry Anthology etc. Moreover, her short stories have been published in TMYS Review, SKIN: Flash Fiction First, Volume 2, Twist & Twain among others. She is the recipient of the Best Poetry Award, 2020 in the Writers’ Festival organized by Cape Comorin Trust. She was also the Delegate of Panorama International Literature Festival held in January 2022.