A Transparency against the Sunlight
About the Author
Jyotsna Agnihotri Gupta (born 1948) taught English at Lady Shri Ram College for Women, University of Delhi, from 1969 to 1980. Four of her poems feature in Professor P. Lal’s Modern Indian Poetry in English: An Anthology and a Credo, published by Writers Workshop, India, in 1971.
In 1980 she moved to the Netherlands, where she has lived since with her family. She has a PhD in Sociology from Leiden University and has taught courses on gender and diversity at several Dutch universities including Leiden and Maastricht University. She has written extensively about reproductive technologies, gender, women’s health and bioethics. Her publications include New Reproductive Technologies, Women’s Health and Autonomy: Freedom or Dependency? (Sage, 2000). She has also worked as a freelance gender consultant for the World Health Organization in Geneva and the International Commission of Jurists.
In 2013 she retired from teaching, and besides continuing to publish her research, she spends her time learning to paint, mainly watercolours, and with black ink (sumi-e technique) in Chinese and Japanese traditions.
This is her first book of poems.
Nearly five decades ago,
with a pen dipped in the ink of love
we signed our names
in the presence of
The Marriage Officer added his signature and official stamp,
handed us the certificate of marriage
declaring us husband and wife.
summoned the sacred fire as witness,
made us walk seven times around it.
Tied in the sacred knot
the pledge for us to be together
for not one, but seven lives to come.
In these now almost five decades
we have seen the ups and downs of life
argued and made up
saw our son and daughter flourish
made some dreams come true.
after all that time together,
when we sit beside each other,
can someone tell me,
why hangs this eerie silence between us?
Is it that
after being together for ages
there is nothing more left to say to each other?
Or is it because
we have no use for words no more?
Without uttering a word
we can read each other’s thoughts?
(Translated from the original written in Hindi)
96 poems spread across 4 sections