Uday Prakash : Taught at Jawaharlal Nehru University for two years; journey from academics to journalism and film-making; his works widely translated into major Indian and foreign languages and included in international anthologies; more than eight books to his credit. Honoured with SAARC Literary Award, 2009.

Otherwise I’ll Lose the Way

The scarlet ball even now
Rolls behind the bushes;
From the plate
That’s just been served
The steam still rises
Across the years someone calls me
To come home and wash my face and hands
The light is not yet gone
The game of sevem tiles isn’t finished
The evening lanterns have not yet been lit
As soon as I hear the whistle
I will run and find everyone, one by one
No matter where so cleverly hid
My kite flutters in the smoke of the train
I’ve cut my finger on the glassed string
And blood drips into the future like dew
I’ll go home now
Wash my face and hands and eat
Finish my arithmetic, memorize multiplication tables, practise writing
Spill the ink bottle on my clothes;
Even now my notebook is a collection of stamps
Of all sizes and colors from all over the world
On the far side of the hills
A herd of sheep is being driven to pasture
That one there is me
The last one, neglected, unsteady on its feet
The smallest, whitest lamb
Don’t forget me
Otherwise I’ll lose the way.

– Translated by Robert A. Heuckstedt


Having come from Tibet,
Lamas keep wandering around
These days, mumbling mantras
Their herds of mules
Go down into the gardens