To the southwest of our village the hillock of Nirvaneppa.
A primordial cave on that hillock.
Even before Nirvaneppa forest-shepherds dwelt there.
In the interior of that cave, there was a picture
that a forest-cowherd drew,
On a black boulder of the Eastern Hill
Lord Moon, the god oozing cool light,
is in his court.
In the bottom corner
a clear-water stream.
On the other side of it
a thick forest sprouting.
Above the forest, turning their face towards the sky
A red line along the horizon
Merging with another silver-gray line.
In the right hand bottom corner
a bilva tree.
Hiding in its leaves
a hunter-lad aiming, his shaft
at the moon!
A handsome lad with
sandal paste on his young body
a nama on his forehead
peacock feathers in his tangled plaits
and an empty quiver at his back
is about to shoot
and the Moon is about to fall–
what is this that is moving at his feet?
Gently swinging its hood
soft and long, its body shining and shimmering
its little eyes glittering like a glow-worm,-
no it is not a snake, but death!
The long tail moving on the earth
its hood as big as the lad’s, head,
it is creeping up.
Dumb struck, the audience hold their breath
With that one arrow he has,
within that short span of time,
should the lad conquer moon
or should he kill the snake?
May be for the wonder above
or for the fear underneath
eyes of the young lad are burning
like the flame of a little lamp.
Nandi, the bull a solid mass of darkness and might
is standing under the tree
piercing the horizon with its horns
its erect penis aiming at the earth and
its fixed gaze aiming at boundless blue sky
as bilva leaves drop all over its body!
I had wished all success to the young lad.
I too had sat with him night long
directing my gaze at the path of his aim
trying to pierce the boundless blueness
trying in vain to hunt the Moon with his own bow and
All that is now buried in the dust of times
The cave, now, has fresh paint and, electric lamps.
The hunter lad’s game has disappeared.
One game is over
and the arena is ready for another.
Wishing victory, I came out.