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Control (A translation)


This piece is a translation of Thangjam Ibopishak’s poem Khoodoom Chanba. It was featured in the collection Shrimati Tomcha Babu, published by the Writers’ Forum Imphal in 2007. I had also rendered a similar nonsense poem Eigi Marup Mr Bush, from the same book, as My Buddy, Mr Bush in this blog. The last post was also from this favourite poet.

Khoodoom Chanba connotes putting something under control. A fantastic movie, Change, on Joy Division’s vocalist Ian Curtis (starring Sam Riley), tempted me to use this title.


For all the politicians and ministers and MLAs
For all the countless criticism in my writing
For all of them—I have started feeling afraid;
For something to scribble I have chosen,
Now I would rather write
About the dogs and the cats
About the the donkeys and the cows,
I would write odes for them.
The politicians nev’r bark at me,
The commissioner and the secretary and the director
They never scratch at me, my skin,
Bite me;
What should I worry about them?
Never I know though, who picked my pocket!
However, I have a problem—
Never I know why this devil dog
This dog belongs to Oinam Chaorel
This dog barks at me, always
It gives me a chase and tries to bite me
He barks at me when it hears me, hears me coming;
Oh, pity me!
A man so different am I,
What do I smell different?
Never have I known the reason,
But I do know the reason
Why I should control this dog;
So, I went and got some food from the mart
I got the food to control this dog.

Nowadays, it has stopped barking
It only wags its tails; delightfully,
It crawls on me when I’m lying down
Like a shameless woman;
How nice, though, ‘tis!

And the devil dog
It lowers its hinds
It bends its back
And it pisses on my bald head.

‘Shrimati Tomcha Babu, I smell something different in you,’ barks Oinam Chaorel’s dog.
Image: The Lonely Dog by George Hodan
Courtesy: Public Domain Pictures


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