Rosa RomanovaShe 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 Gypsiesor Roma, as many call themselvesrun 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
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Written on 2007-09-25 at 00:27
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