Monthly Archives: November 2019

A Very Dear Pumpkin


A Very Dear Pumpkin

By Kamalakar Kadave

Translation: Maithreyi Karnoor

Image courtesy: Vagmi Foods via

The bazaar swelters under
The afternoon sun, potatoes, aubergines

Weighing stones under umbrellas
And loose change under gunny-sack mats

Tubers sell for three and half rupees
A sheep, caned when its
Mouth strays to coriander greens,
Isn’t spared a mouthful of curses

Durgabai Shinde,
The street sweeper who isn’t filthy
Rich by the municipality’s wages,
Strives long in Popatlaal Pansaare’s shop
To cut each kilo of onion,
Spinach, bitter gourd and carrot
By fifty paise;
All her vegetables are paid for
By the thirty rupees of that lout
Paanwala Gajodhar Mishra’s
Unmet desires
That drove her there in preparation
Of the upcoming occasion

‘How much is the pumpkin?’
If you ask, Poptalal loses his cool and yells
Brigadier Nanawati’s orderly Shankar Pillai,
On a mission to obtain fresh peas for tonight’s dinner
Attempts to bring down the heat
‘Why cook your brains over such trivialities, bhai?
You need a cool head to run the business’
He says and squashes a beedi
Under the heel of a black boot

‘This time summer is killing, nahi kya?’
Miss Katariya of Gita beauty parlour
Remarks to her friend
While picking hot green chilies
In Khomane Bai’s shop
The hag
Khomane Bai unable to cut it
Cackles, ‘there must be an AC in your home,
Of course?’
The sparing teeth arranged like
Jail bars in her mouth
Wink at the raging afternoon sun.