Rosa Romanova

She talked with wide gesticulations
Moving her black doe-eyes
Spoke Russian like a native Babka
Acted in the Gypsy Romani Theater
Sang 'Ochi Chorniye' with gusto
On her Flamenco guitar;
Had an easy friendly manner
We soon struck a cord with each other...

We were invited by Nataliya Pregarina's
The eminent Russian Indologist, for lunch...
Who had a pair of wise looking Siemese
The felines strolled luxuriant on the mantel-piece
Never toppling single porcelain...
When we sat down to the mid-day meal
Of steaming-hot Goulash and Borsch
She goaded her son: 'Mass Khaa! Mass Khaa!'
And suddenly, I realized-
She spoke the distorted version of
'Eat Meat! Eat Meat!' In
the language of the ancient Prakrit Sanskrit...
Of the Valley of Sindh,
where the river flowed in the fertile planes
of Panjab, ages ago...

And I was sure, she was my kin
Who dwelled in Harrappa and Mohanjadaroo,
In those fascinating ancient times...

Then the river changed its course
And with it the civilization died
People started spreading far and wide
Some, through the Khaibar Pass,
in Europe did hide; But
Embedded deep under the Earth, survived
the remains of the civilization-
in indecipherable to date
Seals of probable kings or knights...

But the people survived...
Speaking the same language
since eons of time...
And I thought:
How hardy is the language!
Culture so deep!
Embedded in the template of genes...
The culture of the valley of Sindh still lives
In the souls of the Roaming Gypsies
Of Austria, Germany, Spain and Hungry;
Though the English banished them to Caribbean
The Portuguese sent them to Brazil
Some were deported to Australia
Rest were exterminated in thousands
Thanks to the terrible German Reich...

Yet, a million has survived
The treachery of centuries,
and will go on, for few centuries more...
You and I belong to the same core

Bohemie is just not a term;
Not just folklore; it is real
And belongs to my shores...

Author: Zoya Zaidi
Aligarh (UP), India
Copyright ©: Zoya Zaidi

Photo: 'Romani Gypsy'- Her name is Dinara Sandu. She is 25 years old and a member of the Churįra, a nomadic Gypsy group in Romania known for making and selling cooking utensils. The roots of the Gypsies—or Roma, as many call themselves—run back a thousand years to India. "It is the Indian factors, linguistic, genetic, and cultural that different Rom populations share that makes us at heart one people," says Ian Hancock, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and a leading adviser on Rom affairs. "But it is the more recently acquired non-Indian factors that divide us."

Poetry by Zoya Zaidi
Read 1095 times
Written on 2007-09-25 at 00:27

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Rob Taylor
Zoya, your best yet. I loved it

Dan Cederholm

Wonderful writing here Zoya . .
Swedish allso come from the
Indo-German tree in language!!!
What a co-incident!!!

All the best to you, Dan


Anshul Sharma
really ma'am! it is very good!

A beautiful protrait, Zoya!
Unfortunately, the discriminations against the Romani people are not only a tragedy of the past: They are still going, on in various places and in different forms...

You have the gift to share alot of knowledge and I forgot to add you among my favorite writers to read and I apologize because I do Applaud to your pieces all the time even if I don't comment.
I really do enjoy reading your writers, it invites me to learn something or at the very least to see some serious issues from a different point of view..

Excellent Write...

Christian Lanciai The PoetBay support member heart!
2007-09-25 Moods The PoetBay support member heart!
how alive you made her and her culture's history... this was interesting, informative, and written with the talent of your inimitable sensitive and artistic heart... fabulous as always zoya... it's nice to read you again :) *hugs* xx

Wow. This was a most intriguing read, and so very informative too! Very good work!