মনে পড়ে, যেন এককালে লিখিতাম/Mone Porey Jeno Ek Kaale Likhitam/I remember, it seems I once wrote

নিমন্ত্রণ

মনে পড়ে, যেন এককালে লিখিতাম
চিঠিতে তোমারে প্রেয়সী অথবা প্রিয়ে।
একালের দিনে শুধু বুঝি লেখে নাম–
থাক্‌ সে কথায়, লিখি বিনা নাম দিয়ে।
তুমি দাবি কর কবিতা আমার কাছে
মিল মিলাইয়া দুরূহ ছন্দে লেখা,
আমার কাব্য তোমার দুয়ারে যাচে
নম্র চোখের কম্প্র কাজলরেখা।
সহজ ভাষায় কথাটা বলাই শ্রেয়–
যে-কোনো ছুতায় চলে এসো মোর ডাকে,
সময় ফুরালে আবার ফিরিয়া যেয়ো,
বোসো মুখোমুখি যদি অবসর থাকে।
গৌরবরন তোমার চরণমূলে
ফল্‌সাবরন শাড়িটি ঘেরিবে ভালো;
বসনপ্রান্ত সীমন্তে রেখো তুলে,
কপোলপ্রান্তে সরু পাড় ঘন কালো।

The Invitation

I remember, it seems I once wrote
Dearest or beloved, to you on a note.
I suppose, today they only write a name —
Let that be, nameless you remain the same.
You demand poetry from me and my pen
Words that rhyme in complex refrain
At your door my words seek so much less
A flutter of kohl-lined gentle eyes! Largesse!
It is perhaps best to keep my words simply designed
Answer my call at the slightest ruse you can find
When the time is over, return to your own space
But till then, let us linger face to face.
Your sari encircles your bare feet,
Its purple the colour of Phalsa berries so sweet;
Place it as a veil upon your hair so sleek
Its dark border glowing against your cheek.

Painting by Subhas Roy, ‘Radha’
Taken from the Tribune, Chandigarh.

7 thoughts on “মনে পড়ে, যেন এককালে লিখিতাম/Mone Porey Jeno Ek Kaale Likhitam/I remember, it seems I once wrote

  1. This is a long poem, enjoyed your translation. I also tried my hand and here is the first two stanzas in my translation –

    Invitation

    I remember
    Once I used to address you in my letters
    ‘My dearest’ or ‘My dear’.
    But I hear
    Now-a-days the fashion has changed
    Now it is the fashion to address by name –
    Anyway, let me address you today
    Without giving your name.
    You demand poems from me
    Written in perfect rhymes
    In difficult rhythms
    What my poems want from you is this –
    Be pleased to look at them
    With loving eyes.
    What I want to say
    It is best when I say it in simple words –
    When I give you a call
    On some pretence please do come
    Go back if you have no time
    Or if there is time to spare
    You may sit face to face with me for a while.
    Around your lovely feet
    Your sari will nicely spread
    Place its one end on your head
    And its thin black borders on your cheek.

    Let a tuft of your hair, quivering in the air,
    Lie freely on your forehead
    In your right curling forelock
    Let a flower dangle and swing
    Around your moody shoulders
    With the warmth of your neck
    May the buds of juthi flowers in your garland
    You strung in the afternoon
    Now in the evening fully bloom;
    The fragrance they will secretly give off
    Will send to my heart
    The happy news of your approach.
    Here let me somewhat rudely remind you
    You have often forgotten to wear
    Two little ear-rings of ruby I gave you –
    Two teardrops like congealed blood.

    Transcreation of the first two stanzas of the delightfully humourous poem Nimantran from the collection Bithika by Rabindranath Tagore. Written on 14th June, 1935 when the poet was 74, it is a very long poem and the humour it exudes is very difficult, if not impossible, to recapture in translation. The original poem is at http://www.rabindra-rachanabali.nltr.org/node/14015

  2. Thank you for the suggestion, but I have neither the capability nor the courage to do so. My knowledge of the poet’s works is not so extensive as yours. I subscribed to your blog spot to enjoy your works on the poet. However if you feel I am intruding you may remove my comments.

    • Of course not, why would I do that? I genuinely meant it when I said you should start a blog of your own. There is always the need for more people to know about Tagore’s work, especially now that it is sadly trendy to not learn Bengali.

      Regards

      Ruma

      Ruma Chakravarti http://about.me/ruma_chakravarti

  3. I would request you to visit boloji.com where I have posted some of my translations of Tagore’s poems and songs.

  4. Let me post another translation of a Tagore poem I like most, hope you will like it too.

    KINU GOALA’S ALLEY

    This is the alley
    Named after Kinu the milkman.
    By its side stands
    A two-storey building
    Its ground floor room
    Is enclosed by iron railings.
    It is thoroughly damp
    Here and there its walls
    Bear ugly damp marks
    In places their plasters are also peeling off.
    On its door hangs a rag
    Torn from a bale of plain cloth
    Stamped on it is
    An image of lord Ganesh,
    The god who gives one success
    In all enterprises.
    With me
    In that room lives another creature
    Who of course pays no additional rent
    It’s a common lizard
    Found in dwelling houses
    The only difference is this –
    It is in no want of food.

    For my food
    I have to give tuition
    To the young son of the Duttas
    For I am only a junior clerk
    In a business house
    And my pay is only twenty-five rupees.
    In the evenings
    I go to the Sealdah railway station
    There I spend my time
    For it saves me the cost of lighting my room.
    There is a lot of noise
    Of rail engines and their whistles
    And a lot of hustles and bustles
    Among passengers and porters
    At half past ten
    I return to my lonely den
    Utterly dark and silent.

    In a village
    On the banks of the river Dhaleswari
    Lives my paternal aunt
    It was settled
    That a hapless fellow like me
    Should marry the daughter
    Of her husband’s younger brother.
    The date fixed for the ceremony
    Was found to be very auspicious
    But on that very day I fled away
    At least it saved the girl from a calamity
    And of course me too.
    To me she never came
    But now she always moves about in my mind –
    Clad in a Dhakai sari
    And on her forehead with a blob of vermilion.

    When the rains come very heavy and thick
    I have to spend some extra money
    For my journeys to the office by trams.
    For late attendance
    Often I have to suffer cuts in my salary.
    In every nook and corner of the alley
    There gather heaps of putrid wastes –
    Peelings of fruits and vegetables,
    Carcasses of cats and dogs
    And various other things.
    Like my deducted salary
    My umbrella is full of holes
    And my office dress is always wet
    Like the mind of Gopikanta Gosain
    Over-saturated with devotion to his deity.
    In my damp room
    Like a beast caught up in a trap,
    Delirious and unconscious,
    The shadow of rain cloud broods.
    Day and night it seems
    Without any hope of release
    Forever I am condemned to a half-dead world.

    At the bend of the lane lives Kantababu
    With well-groomed hair
    And a pair of large eyes
    He is a man of refined tastes
    His hobby is to play on a cornet.
    At times the vicious air of this alley
    Becomes alive with music
    Sometimes it is in the dead of night
    Or at dawn, half in darkness and half in light,
    Or again in the afternoon’s glimmering twilight
    In the evening all on a sudden
    When the sindhu-baroan raga is played on
    The whole sky resonates
    With the timeless cry of a pining love
    Separated from her beloved.
    At moments like these
    I realize
    This alley is so absurdly unreal
    Like the ravings of an insufferable drunkard
    It also seems
    There is no difference
    Between a mighty emperor and a poor clerk
    Along this plaintive note of music
    Both the prince and the pauper
    Travel together towards the same heaven.

    And where this music is true
    There in a timeless twilight
    The Dhaleswari flows on
    Its banks are deeply shaded by tamal trees
    And one who keeps waiting in the courtyard
    Is clad in a Dhakai sari
    And on her forehead with a blob of vermilion.

    Translation of Banshi from Punascha by Rabindranath Tagore. Most famous among his poems on the theme of music. In Bengali ‘goala’ means milkman and ‘golo’ means alley. In Sanchayita it is entitle ‘Kinu goalar goli’.
    The original in Bengali script is at http://www.rabindra-rachanabali.nltr.org/node/13352.

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