ANULUM PRATILUM

Original in Assamese: Hangmiji Hanse
Translation: Kache Teronpi

The whole household loves me
Excepting some prohibitions
Disallowing touching certain things
Disallowing entry to certain rooms
As the maid
I am dutybound
To do some works specified.

Sir madam say
They are above the highs and lows in society
Time has changed
Untouchability is out of question

The fish I clean and cut
The herbs and leaves I wash
Are cooked in the vessels I scrub and wash
And savour with satisfaction much.
There is but a plate
Set aside for me

They wear the clothes I wash and press
Sleep on the beds I make
Walk on the floor I sweep and mop
Breathe the air cool from the fans and
ACs I dust and clean
Bask in the sun rays that sneak from the gaps between curtains that I hang.

My own windowless room I have
And a strong wooden bed without mattress
My own bathroom and a line for my clothes

Madam loves me
For the works
I neatly do
Sir loves me too
Gives the salary
Regularly to my father
Who comes monthly
Sometimes he gives some extra too
Sends madam's
Old clothes for my mother
Reminds madam to send the little master and mistress's
Old clothes for my brothers and sisters
Gives me flowery rebate saree and inners
Without madam's knowing
If I look and pull his grey hairs
Perfumes and powder I get
In the quiet afternoons
Calls me to the soft bed too.

The master loves me less
The young man knows nothing much
Gives nothing
Sometimes only put money in my palm
But very often he brings the birth control pills
Midnightly when he comes to my isolated room

The whole household cares
Surrounding me with love
They are all enjoying life
At the cost of the labour and youthfulness of a tribal maid

The household loves me
Gives a feeling of belonging
Even then impossible to belong
There is some marriage rule and law
Of Anulum or Pratilum


About the author: Born at Arhi Kelok, Gorubat Mouza, Nagaon district on 22nd December, 1964, Hangmiji Hanse hails from Hongkram, West Karbi Anglong district, Assam. After schooling at Diphu he studied at Cotton College, Guwahati and Graduated in Mechanical Engineering from Regional Engineering College (Presently known as National Institute of Technology), Kurukshetra, Haryana.

Hangmiji Hanse is presently serving in the capacity of Executive Engineer in Irrigation Department, Government of Assam.

Further, he is associated with various organisations, such as, Executive Member in Asom Sahitya Sabha; Executive Member in Karbi Sahitya Sabha; Resource Person in ‘Sakshar Bharat’, State Resource Centre, Assam and Resource Person, Project Dictionary, Anandaram Barua Institute of Art & Culture (ABILAC), Guwahati.

Literary and socially active and committed, Hangmiji Hanse has several books to his credit. He composes poems, writes short stories and articles in Karbi, Assamese and English language.

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