Poem-Bosom-Friend-by-Hira-Bansode-explanation

Poem Bosom Friend is written by Dalit Marathi poetess Hira Bansode. She used to criticize the casteism and cast prejudice prevalent in Indian society through this poem. The poem reflects her strong objection to the cast prejudices. Hira Bansode was a Dalit women writer, thus she had a bad experience from her bosom friend belongs to an upper class family. The entire poem discusses about the welcoming of that upper class bosom friend to the poetess’ small house, still she tried her maximum by arranging all the facilities standing inside her limitation. At the very first moment the bosom friend came to poetess’ house she felt very happy, she thought her friend has thrown all the cast prejudices out. But finally at the time of serving meals the happiness faded out from poetess’ face as her friend accused her by calling “Folk” for making mistakes in the manner of serving food to the upper classes.

Line by line & Stanza-wise meaning and explanation of the poem Bosom Friend

Stanza #1:

Today you came over to dinner for the first time
You only not …………….
……………………………………….
But you came ……………………………… my pocket size house

The 1st stanza of the Poem Bosom Friend opens with the arrival of the poetess’ bosom friend for the first time to her small house. Hira Bansode was born in a lower class family, at that time cast prejudices are prevalent in India.

Bansode’s bosom friend came to her house for dinner, poetess fist thinks that her friend has put away all the caste prejudice before coming to her house, thus our poetess was very happy. 3rd line expose the usual attitude of upper class women to the lower class, they won’t forget that tradition of inequality. That’s why poetess says her bosom friend has a mind as large as the sky!

Casteism comes out of the Poem Bosom Friend

Stanza #2: Soon, all her imaginations started to collapse as the friend behaved quite opposite to her expectations and imaginations.

I thought you had ripped out all those caste things
You came bridging the chasm that divides us
Truly, friend…………………
…………….naive devotion of Shabari……….on your plate

when the friend came poetess thought her friend has built a bridge across the chasm of caste differences. Hira Bansode considers the casteism as a giant chasm in the earth, that divides people from being kind and friendly. Now poetess is depressed of her friend’s change in character.

poetess had arranged food on a plate with naive devotion of Shabari. In Hindu religious scripts Shabari is the one who had sincere devotion towards Rama, even though hundreds of other yogis were waiting to receive Rama in their ashrams, Rama went only to Shabari’s ashram.

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Stanza #3: When the guest (friend) looked at the plate her face changed. She didn’t like the way she was served the the ‘chutney’ and ‘koshimbir’. Chatney is an Indian food made up of coconut. Koshimbir is a type of vegetable salad

But the moment you looked at the plate……………
with a smirk you said……………………
You still don’t Know how to serve food
Truly, you fold will never improve

the last two line of curses gone deep to the poetess heart like a sharp sword. It made wounds in her kind heart.

Stanza #4: 

I was ashamed……………………….
my hand which had touched the sky was knocked down
…………..
What’s this? Don’t you serve buttermilk or yogurt with the last course of rice?

Hearing the unpleasant words from her ‘bosom friend’ she felt ashamed. Before her hands touched the roof top of the proud and happiness, but suddenly knocked down. All her imaginations are collapsed. But still she kept silent! Towards the end of he meal her friend blamed poetess by asking why she is not served buttermilk or yogurt in a right way.

Stanza #5: 

Oh My Dear ……………
The last bit of my courage fell away like a falling star
………………………………….
……………………………………to life
A stone dropped in the water stirs up things on the bottom
So my memories swam up in my mind

Friend said she can’t finish her course of rice without buttermilk and yogurt, poetess last drop of courage fell away like a falling star. Poet still kept silence with pain in her heart and soon after she came back to normal. Many past memories flashed in her eyes like a stone dropped in a water stirs up things at the bottom.

Stanza #6:

Dear Friend-You ask about buttermilk and ……..
………………………….?
You know, in my childhood……………………………………..
………………………………………………….. garlic chutney on coarse bread
……………water

Poetess started to attack her friend using her words. She didn’t even had milk tea, yogurt or buttermilk in her childhood, her mom cooked with sawdust from wood. She only had a rough bread with garlic chutney now and then, most often they ate crumbling that coarse bread in water.

Stanza #7:

Dear Friend – Shrikhand was not even a word in our vocabulary
……………….Fragrance of ghee
……………….tasted halva, basundi

Bansode tells her friend that she even didn’t had to a luck to use the word Shrikhand, and her nose didn’t had a luck to smell the fragrance of ghee, her tongue couldn’t taste halva or basundi. Bansode’s family was that much poor!

Shrikhand is an Indian sweet dish made of strained yogurt. It is one of the main desserts in Gujarati Cuisine & Maharashtrian cuisine.

Stanza #8:

Dear Friend – you have not …………
………………………………………….
……………on your plate was not properly ordered
……………..my mistakes?

Unlike poetess’ first impression on her friend, now she is clear she has not discarded her tradition of casteism. It’s deep rooted in her mind, she emphasizes it thrice by saying “true, true, true”

Poetess says, unlike before now she could serve her buttermilk and yogurt, still she blames her only for the arrangements of the dishes on her plate. Poet indicates the mistake poetess’ friend made and asks what mistake did the poetess do.

The Poem Bosom Friend ends up with a pessimistic note that there will not be any friendship b/w Indian society devoid of tradition and religion

Sadique Ali

A literature addict and travel spirited soul. He completed his Master of Arts in English language and literature. Currently works as an assistant professor of English, He researches on Indian parallel cinema.