• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 06
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rāto karābir

so the legend goes: the river was d(r)ying and to bring back life to warring lands
a pact was made in the crevices of grief: they would perform the bhairav pyākhan
but those few that had departed long ago from bhaktapur had forgotten their steps
so, after whispering into the twilight, it was settled: someone else must suffice
born far away from the old home, an anomaly, seto karābir would visit the east bank
every night until the next blood moon and dance alone for five and a half hours
seto karābir gave it a day’s thought and agreed, upon a singular condition: silence
and without any question, the masses of dhākā topis and chaubandi cholis watched
how, instead of exorcising the land of the bhoot, pisāch, and rākshas of the past
seto karābir become the majipā lākhey that cavorted late until the charcoal night
impersonating the child-eating beast to appease that old prophesy, and soon
in yanlā, misnamed september by some, the moon came but nothing changed
except for the waters that coagulated and reminded them of buffalo blood cake
they painted their faces in marooned fear and washed their hands till the dawn
in the river rushing to meet the bay of bengal, while the stoic orb self-immolated


rāto karābir

seto karābir had now become rāto karābir and as the masses were being swallowed
by the quagmire, rāto karābir confessed many things, under a long-drawn breath
in india’s eastern plains, laterite lanes, there were no ranjitkars from kathmandu
since caste had burned their hutments, they had never gotten to cross the hooghly
salvation never arrived, and seven decades late, rāto karābir’s revenge was complete
but a collective curse echoed, something about a divine punishment for eternity
it is said, if you happen to be alone, you can see rāto karābir still dancing at night
by the banks of the blood river, with a passion that is neither suffering nor regret