In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Rahmelweg 1 [Rahmel Road]
  • Chitra Gajadin (bio)
    Translated by Virginie M. Kortekaas (bio)
maiyá bole my mother said
rahmelweg cali we must still go to Rahmel road
ham bhulal rahi I do not really remember who lived there
huvá n ke rahe hai it was a ritual
jaise ego sanskár she always took me
i palvári ghumái to see family
maiyá ke soc hai with the prediction:
--ná ján sake kab you just never know,
phir aiye-- when you’ll return
hamlog shahar gaili we went to the city
pl leli caught a pl-bus
shaffeer gussáil the driver got mad
phu t kar ná rahá there was no small change
dukán band kuku the shops were closed, we had
ná milal no candy for the children
ghám se dhikat rastá pe bright and white was the road
dhire dhire maiyá slowly she walked
calte-calat pe r van ke heavy through the heat
picche biná ferfi karal and finally recognized
gharvá pahcán leis behind trees an unpainted house
prási me n nariyar ke boklá in the yard coconut shells lay around
kuttá bhonkat dau r al áil dogs ran barking to meet us
patoh ghar se nikaral the daughter-in-law came outside
maje me n bole lagal spoke cheerfully:
mái gail bajár my mother-in-law went to the market,
abbe ái she’ll be right back
apane dui kursi she brought two chairs
ám ke nicce láis and we sat underneath the mango tree
kas-kas naryarvan pho r e lagal with firm blows she cracked open coconuts
aur páni gilás me n rok leis and caught the water in a glass
dhire se ham guddá cihkli, carefully I tasted
jon bát sab koi pucche she already asked about Holland
holland ke uppar stereotypical questions and answers
jon javáb sab koi de deve hai intuitively she avoided the question:
ome n bahut dhiyán lagáike when are you getting married?
ná puchis:
--biyáh kab kariye--

[End Page 521]

Chitra Gajadin

Chitra Gajadin, born in Suriname, is an author and journalist living in Rotterdam. She has published four collections of poetry (Van erf tot skai, Padi voor Batavieren, De zon vloeit weg, and Opgravingen van je zelf), a collection of short stories (Bari Dopahar) and two plays (Savitri and Lucette).

Virginie M. Kortekaas

Virginie M. Kortekaas, a freelance translator born in the Netherlands, studies Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley. Her translations have been published in The Literary Review and in Modern Poetry in Translation. She is currently working on the translation of a volume of Dutch women poets.


1. Kab ke yaad/Van wanneer een herinnering: 1977–1983 (Den Haag: NBLC, 1984). Rpt. Spiegel van de Surinaamse Poëzie, ed. Michiel van Kempen (Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 1995), 632.