Raghuvir Sahay
Our Hindi

Our Hindi is a widower’s new wife
she talks too much eats too much sleeps too much

Go on making ornaments for her
keep giving her a swollen head

Let her get fat let her smell of sweat
let her keep smuggling the stuff out to her mother’s

Let her burn with envy for her neighbors
let her quarrel over garbage disposal

Of course the question of turning her out of the house doesn’t arise
everything a woman needs is in the house
a Mahabharat a Ramayan one by Tulsidas and one by Radheshyam
the story of the film Nagin including the lyrics for all its songs
and a Kokshastra printed in Khari Baoli

There’s a stupid maid for the mess of household things
a middle-aged husband to pick on and strip to his skin
an untended garden several rooms like cells inside each other
soiled pillows on the bed crumpled clothes on the chairs
glasses tumbling on the floor
dirty linens on the pegs to be taken and washed at the well

Everything a woman needs is in the house
dankness and five kilograms of gold in the inner room
a child with a bloated liver
whom she teaches to squat over the pages of the monthly magazines
a plot of land on which our Hindi Bhavan will be built

Let the faultfinders say what they will
our Hindi is a married woman she’s faithful she’s happy
she wants to die before her husband dies
everything’s okay but first her husband must survive her
for how else can she fulfill her wish

Translated from Hindi by Vinay Dharwadker.