ସବୁ ସନ୍ଧ୍ୟାରେ ସଜବାଜ ହୁଏ ଗତକାଲିର ନିରାଶାକୁ ଭୁଲି,

ବାର ବର୍ଷ କାଳ ଅପେକ୍ଷାରେ ତୋର ହେଇଟି ଆସିବୁ ବୋଲି।

ମାଆ ମୋର କୁହେ, “ଝିଅ ଲୋ, ସେ ଆସିବନି ଆଉ ଫେରି”,

ହେଲେ ମୁଁ ଆସି ଠିଆ ହୁଏ ଦୁଆରେ ହେଲେ ଯେତେ ବି ଡେରି।

ଗାଁକୁ ଫେରନ୍ତି ସାଙ୍ଗ ସାଥି ହେଲେ ତୋର ସେତେ ସମୟ କାହିଁ,

ମନ୍ଦିର ତୋଳାରେ ବ୍ୟସ୍ତ ଅଛୁ ତୁ, ଆଉ କୋଉଠି ତୋ ଧ୍ୟାନ ନାହିଁ।

ତୋ ମୁକୁତା ହାର ଗଳାରେ ମୋର, ସିଏ ବି ଗଲାଣି ଥକି,

ସତେ ଯେମିତି ପଚାରେ ମୋତେ, “ସେ ଆଉ ଆସିବନି କି?”

ସବୁ ସନ୍ଧ୍ୟାରେ ଠିଆ ହୁଏ ବୋଲି ଗାଁ ଲୋକ କହିଲେଣି କେତେ କଥା,

କେହି ଡାକିଲାଣି ମୋତେ ଅଳସକନ୍ୟା ତ ଆଉ କିଏ ଡାକେ ଅଭିସାରିକା।

ବାର ବର୍ଷ ତଳେ ଯାଇଥିଲୁ ତୁ, କହିଲୁ ଫେରିବି କିଛି ଦିନରେ,
ମନ୍ଦିର ତୋଳା ତୋର ସରିନି ଆହୁରି, ଘରକୁ ଜଲଦି ଫେରେ।

A sculpture of a lady waiting with half the door open, with a smile on her face. You can see this on the south side of Konark temple, in Odisha, India.

The Odia poem I wrote above is called “ଘରବାହୁଡା”, (pronounced as ghaw-raw-baa(as in baba)-hu(as in who)-da(as in dark), which means homecoming. A fiction based poem, the central character is a woman, who has been separated from his male consort or husband for twelve long years, because he is a sculptor by profession, and has been summoned by the King of the land, for construction of the Sun temple at Konark. She narrates how she dresses up every evening and stands near the door smiling, hoping against hope that he would come back, even though she had returned inside disappointed the previous evening. It has been twelve years and even her mom has now lost hope that he would ever return, but she stands and waits every evening, no matter how late. Even the pearl necklace that he had gifted her has become pale, as if tired of waiting for him and asking her whether he would ever return. Looking at her standing at the door every evening, people around her have starting thinking of her a dance girl, or a whore, in search of patrons. Then she goes on to urge him to come back home as soon as possible, regardless of the temple completion.

This sculpture, might be a figment of imagination of the sculptor, shows how his consort or wife might be waiting for him to return. By the time he must have finished this sculpture, he must have been away from home for twelve long years, or slightly more. Did you notice the smile on the figurine’s face? This was how the sculptor must have imagined to see her upon his return home, with a smile on her face.

1200 architects and sculptors took twelve years to build the Sun temple at Konark and it was finished in 1256 AD. King Narasimha Deva III spent 40cr gold coins to build this architectural marvel, the cost also included that of land reclamation from the sea (you heard that right!), as it is believed that the temple was built in the sea. There are many legends and stories associated with Konark, which I am saving for some other time, with your permission of course!

In frame: A sculpture of a lady waiting with half the door open, with a smile on her face. You can see this on the south side of Konark temple, in Odisha, India. Konark temple is full of sculptures which showcase every human emotion, and not only erotica as is popularly believed. In the words of Ravindranath Tagore, “Here the language of stone surpasses the language of human.”

VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Yes, you can share this work with proper attribution. But, please seek permission before using this work (not including the photo), partially or fully. YOU CAN NOT USE THE PHOTO. Believe me, asking is better than ending up in court or facing public shaming on social media. Thanks for understanding.

© Amrit Panigrahy. All rights reserved.


Written by Amrit Panigrahy

Amrit is a freelance photographer and a storyteller.

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