Attempted translation (non literal) from Malayalam of K.G. Shankara Pillai’s “Mundu


My washer-man suspects the red color of my shirt is slowly coming off –

Every single time I wash it, some of
that color comes off. And makes
me wonder where all this red color comes from.
Then I’ve seen similar ones
disobedient ones.Rebels.

One of those days he decided to end it, once
and for all

I’ll get rid of this color, once
and for all
he said
and took my shirt with him

And the next time he came, he
opened the pack of clothes in silence like
a Judge about to deliver
a serious verdict.

The shirt was white. like snow.
elegant like a city dweller. though –
as I spread it over my hands, I noticed
the wear and tear of intense torture

Intense lashing and kicking
against rocks
had turned the threads of
gushing, pulsating, tides of red –
Anemic. lifeless. white.

But every other shirt in the pack had turned a shade of red.
All rivers and
all the lakes
had turned red.