lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Monday, July 09, 2007

I accuse

They held me, like they beheld his chariot,
In awe.
My brother charioteers did, until now.

If in the blood and gore
And slippery mess of battleground
The wheels suddenly did touch the earth,
Who would notice?

Not the cheering army of the five brothers;
Not the thunderstruck troops of the Kauravas.
Not Drona who was grieving,
Renouncing and dying;
Not the ungallant brother-in-law of my lord
Who was only fulfilling his destiny.

Not his brothers who in battle-lust were immersed;
Not the beloved Madhyama,
Bhima, whose deed my lord attested as truth,
He was grieving for his son;
Not Arjuna, following your divine lead
And chasing the self-accursed ones,
He was grieving for his son too;
Not Nakula, the graceful one;
Not Sahadeva, the wise.

When the chariot stopped floating
Serenely superior
And landed abruptly,
Krishna, what must my lord have felt?
A lie however couched,
Asvatthama hatah; kunjarah.

Did you have to bring even my lord
Down to a mere mortal, Krishna?
Did you have to prove that men are weak,
A right lever can move worlds,
Make a truthful man a liar?

Not a born enemy my lord had
Until you turned Asvatthama
A dark angel of destruction with this lie.
Not a fault my lord had.
One lie and the next will come easier,
The third will trip off the tongue.

My lord's chariot became ordinary, Krishna.
There must be a better way to serve Dharma.


Anonymous Ash said...

Very evocative poem, Lali. Not a born enemy is awkward rendtion of AjaataSatru, though. Care to change that?

4:40 pm  
Anonymous Non Sequitur Man said...

@Ash- Don't floccinaucinihilipilificate. Would you have preferred it if the accuser/charioteer in a wildly improbable and anachronistic doffing of a hat at the Swan of Avon said '"no man born of woman" hath been an enemy of my lord?'

8:25 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Ash- If you can think of a better way to say ajaataSatru, pliss to let me know.

NSM- Hey, welcome back. What a ludicrous picture your wording paints, eh? Macbeth and Mahabharata, the mind boggles.

9:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Ash- In case you hadn't got it, NSM was saying, don't nitpick. She writes a great poem and you find fault. I despair.

Yes, Lali, the charioteer finally finds work and thanks to Bengal culture decides it's unfair. He had a cushy job, he lost face with his buddies. Nice poem, and yeah I love this blog and yeah I remain anonymous.

Secret admirer #2

10:09 pm  
Blogger dipali said...

Heartbreakingly beautiful, Lali!

11:47 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Anon- It's not funny. Get a name.

Dipali- Thank you.

2:28 pm  
Blogger Sivaram said...

Is there a tinge of arrogance in the First-born of Kunti wanting to be more adhering to truth than the creator of truth - the thief - Gopala himself ?
Is this then the reprisal ?

3:42 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Sivaram- I thought it was more a sorrowful lament of shame on behalf of his master, and loss of face for himself too. I ought to have called the poem 'the charioteer's lament' perhaps.

I always thought this was the most poignant moment in the war: Yudhishtira telling the lie. But the shame of it is shared by Bhima, too. It was Krishna's idea, though. Hence the accusation.

Like Anon said, the charioteer probably had the easiest of jobs until then, a chariot that floated.

5:49 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people pay compliments as if they expected a receipt. Your new chap needs some lessons, Lali.

This is a grand poem.

@Sivaram, reprisal? Are you sure about the word?

Secret admirer

10:37 pm  
Anonymous Rajesh said...

Great poem Lali. So what does your bone doc say? seems trade in anon admirer business is flourishing, now they are taking numbers.

11:43 pm  
Blogger Sivaram said...

@Secret Admirer: Reprisal - act of retaliation. Try to be more truthful than the Lord, The Lord makes you utter a lie ?

Lalita,and Anon - An easy job is not the easiest of jobs. How do you make your mark on the world then ? How to earn Laurels ? How to suppress the feeling that people are sniggering behind your back ?

@Lalita - A grand poem, no quarrels about that. I thank the internet that we get opportunity to sample such vintage wine. Else :
“Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”

9:58 am  
Blogger Lalita said...

Anon- Look who is talking. Get a name.

Rajesh- Thanks. No diagnosis yet. And, yes I know, they are beginning to annoy me.

Sivaram- So you are saying the lord teaches humility thus? I'd thought the idea of a charioteer taking Krishna to task is nicely ironic.

By the way, whether you choose to call Karna or Yudhishtira Kunti's first-born, they are the most unassuming and humble characters in the epic.

1:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Sivaram- That's a beautiful poem you quoted, but both you and Lali are dealing with the episode as though Krishna was an incarnate god. He was a wily politician and a ruthless strategist in the epic. If you read it as a story of internecine feud come to blows and more, he just cheated.

If he was incarnated god, wherefore reprisal? KarmaNyEvaadhikaarastyE, right? Do gods need reprisal?

@Lali- You sure know how to ferment argument, lady.

Secret admirer

10:12 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Anon- Good point. But I never treated him as god, did I? Sivaram did. And unfair tactics and cheating began during Drona's generalship, not during the first eleven days of the war. Death of Ghatotkacha, death of Abhimanyu, all squarely laid at the door of Drona's strategy. He fought on, unfairly, even after hearing Yudhishtira claim his son was killed, read it again.

It is adhikaaratsE, innit? Oh, by the way, get a name.

10:50 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Um, adhikaarastE.

10:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She addresses us, we quiver in delight, we preen, we swoon. Perhaps not swoon, but the rest! She actually spoke to us.

Look, this is a matter of free will. He could have refused to tell the lie. He chose to make it sound like Drona's son was killed. His choice.

Secret admirer
(Do I have to quote numbers now?)

10:59 pm  
Blogger Sivaram said...

Sorry, but going on a tangent :
Emile Zola "J'Accuse' of 896 contains this beautiful line :
"la verite est en marche et rien ne l'arretera" (truth is on the march and nothing can stop it).

Perhaps this was the charioteer's opportunity to get into history books - to speak aloud the "kunjaraha"

10:15 am  
Blogger Lalita said...

Anon- No argument there. He chose to lie. It's his reasons that I find heartbreaking to consider. His brothers subjugated themselves, their own aspirations and ambitions to his wishes, his view of what is right, all their lives. Now they sacrificed their sons too. Weighed against that, the loss of his reputation must have seemed puny.

Yeah, name rank and serial number.

Sivaram- That's a lovely quote. Thank you for that. The charioteer goes unnamed in the epic, though. A bit player, extra, but I wanted to give him a voice.

1:51 pm  
Blogger netizen said...

this here is your blog.
you have a right to your expression.
you want to share them.
you choose your template.
your choose to let us know your previous expressions.
but tell, frankly, do you need that aberration 'google ads', such an eye sore on this blog..?
do you?

4:24 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Netizen- Read the first line of your comment back, please. In the unlikely event of anybody clicking on the ads and Google ever paying me, I'd like my grandchildren to inherit what revenue I earn out of this blog. That's my prerogative, surely?

6:14 pm  

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