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Biography
Gita Chattopadhyay, born in 1941 into a traditional landholding family in North Kolkata, was educated at Lady Brabourne College/University of Calcutta. She has devoted herself to writing--mainly of poetry and literary criticism--and to extensive reading in Bengali, Sanskrit, and English. Although she has given readings for All-India Radio, she lives essentially in seclusion, and remains an elusive and highly respected figure in contemporary Bengali letters. Since the deaths of her parents, she has lived with a brother and two sisters, all unmarried, in the family's 175-year-old ancestral home, now surrounded by one of Kolkata's busiest commercial districts next to the Sealdah Railway Station.

I'M GOING TO MY MOTHER

- by Gita Chattopadhyay (Translated from the Bengali by Carolyne Wright with Paramita Banerjee)

In the blue balloon's bubble, childhood's spherical sky,
A holiday puja morning in the dance of the magpie;
In winter's floor painting:  unhusked rice, cowrie shells,
        a painted Lakshmi plate and holy grasses;
The wind enjoying breakfast in the scent of date molasses.
With his shepherd's songs, Mahajan Das made the finger-cymbals weep;
The widowed bride Uttara painted on the scripture's flyleaf.
The Mahabharata verses flow by like the River Gharghara,
        lapping at our sleep--
Mother alliterates with her vermilion marriage mark, vermilion lips.

So now I've touched my mother, in her arms a child always,
With foolish lips whining and smiling, quite meaningless--
Lying on her breast, listening to the eternal sound of fountains.
I'll be only at your side, Mother, I won't go away again;
Casting off one by one all our vain dreams
From the shore, we'll all be purified, dipping in your heart's stream.
If the sound of your conch shell brings tears to the eyes, let it;
Twilight's lady, your oil lamp moves back and forth at the edges of our sight!
If I become a bee in a blue lotus in sunset's deepening glade,
I'll say, "I'm going to my mother," to live in her blue cloth's shade.