Have you heard a parrot speak Urdu?
I have, in my friend Zahiruddin’s house.
A mynah talking in Hindi?
Even that, in my friend Nimai Singh’s house.
What about an ass reciting Sanskrit slokas?
Yes, very often in Agya Gokul Shashtri’s garden.
A cat speaking Bangla, meow meow, ki bolo ki bolo
A dog mouthing English
A goat conversing in Meiteilon?
Yes, inside Tomaal Chatterjee’s house
In Professor Haokip’s drawing room
In Chaoba Meitei’s cowshed.
They all live in neighbouring houses
They can comprehend each other
They exchange cuisines
They don’t lynch people for cuisine;
They befriend each other, lovingly like a garland;
This neighbourhood is a tiny Bharat, a mini India.
(English translation Robin S Ngangom)
Robin S Ngangom is a bilingual poet and translator who write in English and Manipuri. He currently teaches literature at North-Eastern Hill University. His publications include three books of poetry: Words and the Silence, Time’s Crossroads, and The Desire of Roots.