Category Archives: English Compositions

Yellow House

Early Version: January 14, 2015
Latest Version: May 27, 2015   
By the field, the mason deftly made
The yellow house, with a modest strip of yard
Latticed scaffold, boundary-wall brick-laid
All of these the mason deftly made. 

For the house, how deeply did he care
Kept it tidy, as he would his face
That no one called it horror, nor failure 
Or an outpost, a forlorn gathering place. 

By the field the mason deftly made
The yellow house, where clouds billowed and flocked
And, besides, the latticed scaffold swayed
Luckless fate, in trite pomposity locked.

Suddenly an eve brought tremors down the street
As a vehicle pulled up southwards with panache
Fun-watchers, curious, swarmed forwards to greet
As he bought up all there was in cash.

Alone, and away from public view to find,
The mason left his scaffolding behind.

Translation-cum-transcreation of a classic Bengali poem হলুদবাড়ি (holudbari) meaning ‘Yellow House’ by Shakti Chattopaddhay. The poem appeared in the collection ধর্মে আছো জিরাফেও আছো (dhorme achho giraffe-eo achho, meaning, you exist in religion as well as in the giraffe). Surja Sankar Ray’s help is gratefully acknowledged. But for him, the project would have remained incomplete.

More or Less

By the time he had made enough money to buy whatever money could buy, he realised that he was too old to recollect what he thought money could buy before he had made enough money to buy, to buy whatever money could buy, and wished that he had made far less money to buy than what money could buy and remembered far more about what he thought money could buy if he had money to buy.  


I wonder what this bee wants with me. I don’t think it wishes to sting me, but it’s flying too close to me for my comfort. I never invited it in when I went to collect the morning paper. It’s been whizzing past me ever since, not letting me concentrate on the news. Finally, it comes down and perches on the newspaper next to my right thumb. I throw away the newspaper in alarm and run out into the balcony. The bee follows me and disappears somewhere inside the tree facing me from the street. The tree is in full bloom. Like the bee, I don’t know the name of the flowers, but they are lovely to watch. I stare at them as they softly glow under the autumn sun. Quite oblivious of newspapers. I think the bee has accomplished its mission.

গগনবেড় — Pelican

A limerick that cannot but remind you of Ogden Nash, was apparently not written by him. It seems to have been penned by yet another American, Dixon Lanier Merritt, in 1910. There are two versions of the poem.

Version 1.
A wonderful bird is the pelican.
His bill can hold more than his belican.
He can hold in his beak
Enough food for a week,
But I’m damned if I see how the helican.

Version 2.
A funny old bird is a pelican.
His beak can hold more than his belican.
Food for a week
He can hold in his beak,
But I don’t know how the helican.

Incidentally, I searched for other poems by Merritt, but could not locate a single one other than this one.

Produced below are two of my own Bengali adaptations of the limerick.

Version 1.

আজব পক্ষী বাবা পেলিক্যান
উদর চাইতে তর ঠোঁইট ক্যান
ধরে বেশি খাইদ্য?
শিবেরও অসাইধ্য
দেওন এ রহইস্যের ব্যাইখ্‌ক্যান।

Version 2.

গগনবেড় (পেলিক্যান)
গগনোবেড়, সে জাতে ক্রৌঞ্চ
উদর ছাপায়ে যার চৌঞ্চ
ধরে বেশি খাদ্য
বোঝে কার সাধ্য —
সে কি শুধু অলীকো প্রপৌঞ্চ ?

Thalia the Greek

Thalia, lovely Thaliah
I wished, desp’rately, to marryhah
But Thalia was a Greek
A language I did not speak
How insurmountable that barrihah! 

Style inspired by Ogden Nash

Harakiri – Haiku

sharp blade of lightning–
sky used to carve itself up —
harakiri time …

Memories — Haiku

            lovely moon shining --
        behind rain soaked rolling clouds --
            lingers on her face ...


I wish I knew my way to Siam
 But God had hidden it,
  So I didn'it,
   And travelled across the earth
    In questionable mirth
     Failing to reach anywhere
              Except where I am.
Inspired by Ogden Nash.

The Covid Paradox — Keynes turned around

Economic and Political Weekly, 30 May, 2020.

The Paradox of a Supply Constrained Keynesian Equilibrium_The Covid 19 Case


Folks, I’m told there’s nothin’ to feeya

For coroneeya’s simply melareeya

So it seems assures Trumpia the grouchia

Leaving no escape for Anthonia Faucia.

Ogden Nash inspired.