Sudipta Mishra, Puri, 16 December 2023
As the twilight covers the entire street
Chanting of mantras can be heard from the distant lanes.
White faces dazzle with confidence
Blazing eyes assemble in one place.
Streets abuzz with weeping walls resemble the desperation
of unknown voices for their loved ones.
The orange sky mirrors the dusty land
The Sea still stands tall to embrace the furious ash.
A pair of burning eyes is seen close to the pyre
Surrounded by half-naked men, the flame soars high!
It’s a ritual by now
In the fog-laden morn, smoggy lanes try to chase one another.
Numerous bells from distant shrines ring at a time!
By signaling the daybreak, some mortal figures struggle to live
In the city of Life and Death, the mysterious figure whispers.
No more they can mourn!
The footprints of the memories leave their marks on the golden sand.
The dwellers of the golden land still await
It’s a city of Dreams!
In the intersecting lanes
Cows pursue the confused pilgrims.
In this melting point, so many flames again join
So many oil lamps begin to shine as a cluster of stars!
Women barefoot with looming faces walk along the naked road.
In the labyrinth of narrow ways,
A group of people surges repeating the same lines!
A dead body tightly tied to a bamboo stretcher ushers from the dark tribe.
Towards the city of life
To connect with the holy spirit of this realm.
A mediator meddles with the shrunken faces,
He pokes the bamboo into the blackened remains.
The crackling of bones resonates with the
of the lone sea.
Again the chaos indifferently trails toward the recurrence of events…
For partaking in the game of birth and death…