As I was searching for poets from the letter E, I chanced upon The Night of the Scorpion. I am sure if you are Indian and studied in an ICSE school, you would learnt it as part of your syllabus. It is a wonderful narrative/descriptive poem. As I went through more of Nissim Ezekiel poems, I found that I had read many of his poems when I was a kid. (however, my memory of when and how has been erased).

I have taken upon myself a curious exercise for today: trying to write in ‘desi’ English. Most of us Indians have been guilty of using this type of English, which has sentence constructions that mirror our mother tongues or regional languages. This exercise has been inspired by many of Nissim Ezekiel’s poems like Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa T.S, The Patriot, The Professor, Soap, etc. The uniqueness of all these poems is that it is in the form of dialogue by the central character in the poem. Also, it does not seem to frown upon or make fun of the character, instead the use of the ‘desi’ english combined with humour helps in developing the story of the character and making him/her relatable to the audience.

Here is an excerpt from ‘The Patriot’ by Nissim Ezekiel

I am standing for peace and non-violence.
Why world is fighting fighting
Why all people of world
Are not following Mahatma Gandhi,
I am simply not understanding.
Ancient Indian Wisdom is 100% correct,
I should say even 200% correct,
But modern generation is neglecting –
Too much going for fashion and foreign thing.
Other day I’m reading newspaper
(Every day I’m reading Times of India
To improve my English Language)
How one goonda fellow
Threw stone at Indirabehn.
Must be student unrest fellow, I am thinking. ….

read the full poem here...

Here is my attempt. But, as it is not my style, I felt a bit uncomfortable writing it. But, sometimes we have to explore different types of work to loosen up.

The Beauty Parlour Lady

Yes, maam. I coming today
to your home.

Only eyebrows? Put bleach maam.
So much hair on face, it will cover it.
Even downstairs maam is putting.
No worry. All natural product only.

We are making board today
Thats why so many phones coming
Disturbing you no maam? sorry sorry.
Board for our new parlour, ‘Buuty Touch’
we are having new chair, mirror, simple only.
very expensive everything nowadays
you know 15,000 rupees one chair

You know, we came to city
10000 rupees only
Friend gave us
I had skill-in-hand, so head weight was more
Ran away at 17 with a boy.
By good luck, boy was good
now also loves so much.
sends message did you eat, like that.
very loving
just imagine, boy was drunkard
my parents did not support love marriage
also different caste no
I left dialogue like in cinema scene
You do anything to him, I will burn myself on house footstep.
Now, I think. Not good no maam what I did?
my daughter eight years old, even if she says one thing….
Parents not talking for many years.
Husband side full support.

you want upperlip? no. ok, maam
35 rupees. Next time do bleach.
No worry. All natural product only.
Call on number, I come same day.

E for Nissim Ezekiel, my poem: The beauty parlour lady #AtoZChallenge #BlogChatterA2Z #NaPoWriMo

16 thoughts on “E for Nissim Ezekiel, my poem: The beauty parlour lady #AtoZChallenge #BlogChatterA2Z #NaPoWriMo

  • April 5, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    Oh crap! This desi English poem was so much fun! 😀 😀

  • April 5, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    I liked both the extract as well as your poem. The extract deals with the affairs of the country in general. But your poem brings it down to something at a more personal level. And both have the same style as per your theme. Really good.

  • April 5, 2019 at 8:23 am

    I admire your leaving your comfort zone. You are a skilled writer. I can’t imagine the challenges of writing in dual languages. I really enjoyed reading this poem.

    • April 5, 2019 at 8:40 am

      Thank you Barry. I was a bit skeptical writing it.

  • April 5, 2019 at 5:37 am

    There’s always a buzzing going on when it comes to beauty and beauty makers!

  • April 5, 2019 at 12:27 am

    This is unbelievably good. The excessive eagerness of the beauty parlor girl and the layered emotions within – you smile one moment and realize the irony of it the next moment. Excellent Namy.

    • April 5, 2019 at 12:36 am

      Now that you said it, I think I should have named it Beauty Parlour Girl instead of lady.. we do call them that. Thanks Sonia for reading. Glad you enjoyed it:)

  • April 5, 2019 at 12:22 am

    Your lines! Too good Namy!
    I missed the rest of your posts! But will be back!

    • April 5, 2019 at 12:37 am

      Thanks Zainab. Do check them out. Heading over to yours..


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