20 Jul 2007

On a Cloudy Day by Rabindranath Tagore

Every day is filled with work and with people all around. Every day one gets the feeling that the day’s work and exchanges finish saying all that needed to be said at the end of the day. One doesn’t find the time to grasp that which remains unsaid within.

This morning, cluster upon cluster of cloud has covered the sky’s chest. Today, too, there’s work to do, and there are people around. But there’s a feeling that all that lies inside cannot be exhausted outside.

Man crossed seas, scaled mountains, dug holes under the ground to steal gems and riches, but transmitting one person’s innermost thoughts and feelings to another—this, man could never accomplish.

On this cloudy morning that caged thought of mine is desperately flapping its wings within me. The person inside says, “Where is that forever’s friend who will rob me of all my rain by exhausting my heart’s clouds?”

On this cloud-covered morning I hear the inside voice rattling the closed door’s fetters again and again. I wonder what should I do? Who is the one at whose call my words will cross work’s barrier to journey through the world with the lamp of song in my hands? Who is there whose one look would string all my strewn pain into a garland of joy, and would make them glow in one light? I can only give it to the one who begs it of me with the perfect note. At the bend of which road stands that ruinous beggar of mine?

My inside’s ache is wearing a saffron robe today. It wants to come outside, into the path which, like the innocent single string of an ektara, chimes within the steps of the ‘heart’s person.’

Translated by Bhaswati Ghosh


Anonymous said...

Thanks for making this accessible in English, Bhaswati. I'm so impressed that you have this ability to reach across languages. I have enough trouble just expressing myself in one language.

I have not read Tagore for years. His prose is so uplifting and poetic. I am accumulating a variety of memoirs to review for my blog, and would be interested in knowing if he has written a memoir, and if so, if it's available in English.

Best wishes,
Jerry Waxler

Sid Leavitt said...

Again, I understand why you are so devoted to the Rabindrasangeet. But I wonder, Bhaswati, if you realize how many of us you are converting around the globe.

Bernita said...

"rattling the closed door’s fetters"

Nienke Hinton said...

This was very profound for me. Thank you for translating and sharing, Bhaswati.

Bhaswati said...

Jerry, much as I attempt, I can never fully translate Tagore's depth into another language.

He wrote two memoirs, one specifically recollecting his childhood days. It's called Boyhood Days. The other one is My Reminiscences.

Here are the links for you:

1) http://www.penguinbooksindia.com/Books/BookDetail.asp?ID=6445

2) http://www.amazon.ca/My-Reminiscences-Sir-Rabindranath-Tagore/dp/0766182665

Sid, thank you so much. If my pathetic translation efforts (prompted by an unrestrained eagerness to share Tagore's bounty with you all) touch you in any way, my day is made. :-)

Bernita, how often have I exclaimed, "Yes! I wanted to say that," while reading Tagore. He gives such wonderful words to every possible human feeling.

Nienke, thank YOU for taking the time to read and comment. I am so glad you liked it. :-)

Jamie Ford said...

Thanks Bhaswati. That's simply beautiful.

Bhaswati said...

Thank you, Jamie. The pleasure is all mine. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hauntingly beautiful, Bhaswati. I enjoyed reading your blog, and am so impressed by your command of languages.

Bhaswati said...

Thank you so much for dropping by my blog, Pat. I am glad you enjoyed reading it. Please feel free to visit any time. :-)

Rahul Banerjee said...

Its good to see so many people discovering tagore as a result of your excellent translations. In today's milieu of crass materialism and ersatz spiritualism tagore offers a bonanza of true spiritual freedom which unfortunately remains mostly restricted bengalis because the translations of tagore are minimal compared to his voluminous output. Moreover there is a complaint that tagore's own translations are in an archaic english which do not really gell with people these days. So Bhaswati you have done us all a service by using more contemporary english and I hope you will continue this project and publish in print some day

krb150 said...

A very good translation.
Rabindranath Tagore loved nature and so did many other poets and writers, but perhaps few have written so much on the seasons. Most significant are his songs on them, particularly on the rainy season. Here are two such songs I ventured to translate. Hope you will like them.


In rainy days
When it rains in pattering sounds
I cannot tell how I feel
So bewildered is my mind.
It seems as if someone has left
After calling and calling
And knocking at my door at night
When in rainy days
It rains in pattering sounds.
Be kind to me, my love and light up my heart
Seeing someone’s shadow in my dream
Half awake and half asleep
My eyes are filled with tears
I feel someone came to me at night
When in rainy days
It rains in pattering sounds.
Transcreation of one of the sweetest songs of the rains – Jabe rimiki jhimiki jhare bhadarer dhara – by Rabindranath Tagore. Best recording of this song is by Debabrata Biswas.

My friend, come in these rains

On this misty overclouded rainy day
Evading all
Like silent night
In stealthy steps you have come.
The morning has closed its eyes
The wind is hopelessly sighing
And the blue naked sky
Is overcast with endless clouds
In the woodland the birds do not sing
In every home the doors are closed
You are a lonely wayfarer on a lonely road.
Now you are alone, O my dearest friend,
My doors I have kept open
Ignoring me
Like a dream
Please don’t glide past my home.
Transcreation of one of the sweetest rainy day songs – Aji shravanghanagahan mohe/gopan tabo charan phele/nishar mato nirab ohe/sabar dithi eraye ele – by Rabindranath Tagore. Best recording of this song is by Debabrata Biswas.

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