Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Translating possibly my favorite rabindra sangeet তুমি সন্ধ্যার মেঘ মালা

তুমি সন্ধ্যার মেঘ মালা, তুমি আমার সাধের সাধনা মম শুন্য গগন বিহারী 
আমি আপন মনের মাধুরী মিশায়ে তোমারে করেছি রচনা 
তুমি আমারি, তুমি আমারি, মম অসীম গগন বিহারী
You are the many hued clouds from my sunset skies
Borne of my precious yearnings and sighs
You are the constant companion to my emptiness
You were conceived with loving tenderness
Spiced with the sweetest of my imagination
You are mine, yes mine
You pervade all corners of my mind
মম হৃদয় রক্ত রাগে তব চরণ দিয়েছি রাঙিয়া ওই সন্ধ্যা স্বপন বিহারী 
তব অধর এঁকেছি সুধা বিশে মিশে মম সুখ দুখ ভাঙ্গিয়া 
তুমি আমারি, তুমি আমারি, মম বিজন জীবন বিহারী 
As I adorn you, o beloved darling
With infinite warmth and inconsolable longing
You who are part of every dream
The bitter sweet taste of your lips seem
My very agony and ecstasy of being
You are mine, yes mine
My only lifelong friend divine
মম মোহের স্বপন অঞ্জন তব নয়ানে দিয়েছি পরায়ে ওই মুগ্ধ নয়ন বিহারী 
মম সঙ্গীত তব অঙ্গে অঙ্গে দিয়েছি জড়ায়ে জড়ায়ে 
তুমি আমারি, তুমি আমারি, মম জীবন মরণ বিহারী 
I've bewitched you with magic kohl
You are hitched forever to my soul
You hold me captive with your gaze
You are the poetry of my days
You're weaved of the music of my heart
You are mine, yes mine
In all realms for all time

Saturday, August 15, 2015

My 15th August musings...

On this Independence Day, I want to think about those examples that I have seen in my own life that have taught me to celebrate independent behaviors and independent thinking. Remember those people I have known that went out of their ways to act on something they believed in. I think, all too often, we celebrate 15th August by what is taught by an obviously biased discourse of history and forget to look closer to home.

My first example is of my history teacher who would take us out to the garden and give us history lessons under a tree (a totally uncharacteristic practice in our school). She would bring reference material and read them to us to add color to the one or two lines of details that was included in our actual history text. You may say this is insignificant, but then, it is not. I have cherished that memory and that spirit of owning a task and doing things in a manner that feels right to me, infinitely! Mrs Neogi, if this reaches you, please accept my greetings of this happy occasion. I am thinking of you!

My next example is from my family. Despite open disapproval from some, my father insisted I go to a bank, pick up my money and pay the fees at my school by myself from since when I was in the 5th grade. To ready my school bag, clothes and do my homework was my exclusive responsibility as far back as I can remember. My aunt did not let me take our car to a summer job I had taken up (which I was very mad about at the time), insisting that I use public transport by myself. This is when I was no more than fourteen or fifteen and was going everyday to places I hadn’t been to before (it was a sales job). Figure it out, she said. Taking my own responsibility was never an option. It was the only way to live. I am grateful thats who they taught me to be.

Recently, I saw a short film doing the rounds on fb, about how the British mistreated us and that we should be celebrating the freedom fighters for having rescued us from such fates. I saw Shashi Tharur’s British bashing lapped up with great enthusiasm. I am not denying there’s some truth in that. But why can’t we move on? Perhaps this 15th we should instead focus on what has been India’s accomplishments in the last 70 years of freedom compared to how far we came in the 200 years of British rule. Have we collectively achieved the promise of the 15th of August, personally and as a nation?

Sunday, August 09, 2015


Her golden, sleepy head on my arms makes me sore
But I bear it happily and I would for ever more
Lush furls of willow-o-wisps dance over our head
I watch it contentedly from our grass bed
Thankful for the quiet moments
After seemingly relentless run of games
The dog curled in the shade has dozed off too
Neither are mine
I'm sitting my friend's charges for a while
Just the afternoon
Their mother will be back soon.
I sit up to spread a light blanket over us..
Lest she catch a chill from the breeze
Then answer an anxious text
No, no bother, don't worry
We had some rice with chicken curry
(From the same plate)
I wish this last bit would be our secret
But it wont be
Quite the chatterbox, is she
An emptiness brews idly in my heart
Clouding the uncomplicated mojo
That had me high just a bit ago
Her father's lips pucker familiarly on her dear face
Reminders of what I must not chase