Somewhere around the dawn • केव्हा तरी पहाटे..

I’m not even ashamed to admit that I have a very limited patience for poetry. But some poems make me wonder why only a few people can create something as beautiful as a poem. Suresh Bhat is one of the notable Marathi poet, also a Marathi Ghazal writer, who has written many beautiful pieces that I find intriguing. ‘Kevha tari pahaate‘ is one of them, later turned into a beautiful composition by Pt. Hridaynath Mangeshkar and sung by the legendary & my favourite, Asha Bhosle. Again, I don’t know why, but here’s my attempt at translation :

केव्हा तरी पहाटे उलटून रात गेली
मिटले चुकून डोळे हरवून रात गेली

Somewhere around the dawn,
night came to end,
I drifted off, though for a moment,
and the night was lost to me..

सांगू तरी कसे मी, वय कोवळे उन्हाचे
उसवून श्वास माझा फसवून रात गेली

I can think of no way to describe;
the dayspring was juvenile still,
the night escaped in stealth,
undoing the seam of my breath..

कळले मला न केव्हा सुटली मिठी जराशी
कळले मला न केव्हा निसटून रात गेली

How did I not see the loosening embrace?
How did I not see the night slipping away..?

उरले उरात काही आवाज चांदण्यांचे
आकाश तारकांचे उचलून रात गेली

A few whispers of a few stars,
that’s all that is left in my heart;
the rest, the whole universe,
the night took it all..

स्मरल्या मला न तेव्हा माझ्याच गीतपंक्ती
मग ओळ शेवटाची सुचवून रात गेली

Couldn’t recall the verses
of my own poem, silly me;
but the night, before leaving,
hinted at the last line for me..

Tiny flower in the grass • मी फूल तृणातील इवले..

A small flower bravely confronts ‘The Sun’ to tell him that it will bloom on terms of its own and no one else. The flower demands that the sun has to leave his ego aside & puts its own conditions for him to comply with, if he wishes to befriend it.

The original Marathi poem is written by veteran poet Mr. Mangesh Padgaonkar. I know I’m nowhere near Mr. Padgaonkar or any of the existing poets; but just making a humble attempt at translation because I want everyone to see the beauty of it..!


जरी तुझिया सामर्थ्याने ढळतील दिशाही दाही
मी फूल तृणातील इवले, उमलणार तरीही नाही

So what if your might could rise and set down the whole world?
So what if I am but a tiny flower in the grass?
I still refuse to abide and bloom..

शक्तीने तुझिया दिपुनी तुज करतील सारे मुजरे
पण सांग कसे उमलावे ओठातील गाणे हसरे?

Though everyone bows down to your immensity and power;
tell me, oh mighty sun, how would it make the beaming song bloom within the lips?

जिंकील मला दवबिंदू, जिंकील तृणाचे पाते
अन स्वत:स विसरून वारा जोडील रेशमी नाते

The dewdrops and leaflets shall win my heart,
the breeze shall abandon the boundaries of remembrance,
and forge a bond soft as silk..

कुरवाळीत येतील मजला श्रावणातल्या जलधारा
सळसळून भिजली पाने मज करतील सजल इशारा

The last rains of monsoon shall caress me upon arrival,
the leaves bathed in them would talk to me in signs..

रे तुझिया सामर्थ्याने मी कसे मला विसरावे?
अन रंगांचे गंधांचे मी गीत कसे गुंफावे?

How and why should I forget my individual in front of your might?
And of what use is that machismo of yours
for me to knit the song of colors and fragrances?

येशील का संग पहाटे किरणांच्या छेडीत तारा;
उधळीत स्वरातुनी भवती हळू सोनेरी अभिसारा?

Will you, the fulgent gold,
come plucking the strings of your rays,
sprinkling music early by the dawn?

शोधीत धुक्यातुनी मजला दवबिंदू होउनी ये तू
कधी भिजलेल्या मातीचा मृदु सजल सुगंधित हेतू!

Become a dewdrop and come searching for me through the fog,
or turn into the soft, wet smell of the soil..

तू तुलाच विसरुनी यावे, मी तुझ्यात मज विसरावे
तू हसत मला फुलवावे, मी नकळत आणि फुलावे

Forget yourself while coming,
and I’ll do the same for you..
Smile and make me bloom,
unbeknownst to me..

पण तुझिया सामर्थ्याने ढळतील दिशा जरी दाही
मी फूल तृणातील इवले उमलणार तरीही नाही

But, do not be mistaken,
for, though your strength may rise
and set the whole world down,
I shall not bloom.

When a child breaks out of the “Room” to the ‘World’

Jack is a cute 5 year old kid from “Room”, a movie based on the novel “Room”. He has been isolated with his mother in a room since his birth. And one day, suddenly, he gets out in the open, the ‘World’. You can read some of the interesting conversations in the movie here. The movie has beautifully expressed a child’s emotional rollercoaster while viewing the ‘World’, through Jack’s monologues. Most of them and directed to his mother. I am compiling them here because I want everyone to read them and be ‘awww’ed…

“Once upon a time, before I came, you cried and cried and watched TV all day, untill you were a zombie; but then I zoomed down from heaven through Skylight into Room. And I was kicking you from the inside. And then I shot onto Rug with my eyes wide open, and you cut the cord and said “Hello Jack..!”

Egg snake is our longest friend and fanciest. Meltedy spoon’s the best to eat with because he’s more blobbier. Labrynth is twistiest. And she hides things so I don’t know where they are. Toilet’s the best at disappearing poo. Lamp’s the brightest, except when the power is out. You (ma) are the best at reading, and songs, and lots, except if you’re having a ‘gone day’. I am the best at drawing, jumping, growing, and nearly everything!

I’ve been in the World for 37 hours. I’ve seen and cakes and stairs and birds and windows and hundreds of cars and clouds and police and doctors and grandma and grandpa… But ma says they don’t live together in the hammock house anymore. Grandma lives there with her friend Leo now and grandpa lives far away.

I have seen persons with different faces and bigness and smells, talking all together. The world is like all TV planets on at the same time (TV planets – TV channels). So I don’t know which way to look and listen. There is doors and more doors. and behind all the doors there is another inside and another outside and things happen, happening. It never stops..

Plus, the world is always changing brightness and hotness. And there is invisible James floating everywhere. When I was small I only knew small things. But now I am five, I know everything.

There is so much of place in the world. There is less time, because the time has to be spread extra thin over all the places, like butter. So all the persons say, “hurry up, let’s get going..”, “pick up the pace finish up now..” Ma was in a hurry to go boing up to heaven. But she forgot me, dumbo ma! So the aliens through her back down. And broke her.

when I was four, I didn’t even know about the world. And now me and ma are going to live in it forever and ever, until we are dead. This is a street in a city in a country called America. And Earth, that’s a blue and green planet, always spinning, so I don’t know why we don’t fall off. When there is outer space. And nobody knows where is heaven.

Ma and I have decided that because we don’t know what we like, we get to try everything. There are so many things out there. And sometimes it’s scary, but that’s ok, because it’s still just you and me..”

The elephants who exposed our hypocrisy

We all were heartbroken to hear about the female elephant that was ‘fed’ pineapple filled with firecrackers, they got exploded in her mouth and she succumbed to the injuries. To add up to the tragedy, later postmortem reports showed that she was pregnant. It’s insane to torture animals whichever is the method, it’s insane that somebody could come up with such an idea.. BUT, later it was found that those pineapples weren’t actively “fed” to the elephant, they were meant for something else. They were kept as a snare to shoo away/attack/scare the wild boars and other animals who damaged the crops, the elephant just happened to have come across them (read the report here).

Now the questions that I have are:

Why do people have so much against wild animals that attack their lands? Whose land is it anyway? Who actually hijacked it, common people, corporations or greed and ambitions of human race? Is it okay if the wild boars get injured the same way as the elephant? Would we feel similar remorse? Do wild boar’s lives matter? Are there any provisions for elephants (or any animals) to get proper and safe access to food? What if a human child had come across that pineapple snare? Should we feel the same amount of pain or we’d first check the background status of the child and then decide how to respond? And most importantly, who gets to decide whose life matters more?

Do we really care about animals?

Not really. We only care about the momentary adrenaline that rushed through our veins when we heard that “sansani khabar(Oh my God! How can someone do such a thing to the poor elephant? People are so cruel!) Earlier this year, it was reported that government is soon going to permit farmers with licensed firearms to shoot the wild boars and other animals who wander into their lands. There have been several incidents when tigers, leopards and other animals have fallen prey to haphazardly placed snares around farms and even wildlife corridors.

Do we pay any mind to what will happen to the wildlife when the mining and industrial projects will be run in the Western Ghatsone of the most bio-diverse places in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site? Do we know how much we’re loosing because of the illegal mining in Dehing-Patkai (Assam) which also has Dibru-Deomali, an “elephant” reserve? Do we even know that 2.7 lakh trees will be felled in Arunachal Pradesh’s Dibang Valley for a hydropower project?

It’s a fact that people love violence. It’s just that the half of us don’t like to actively participate in violence, we just like to hear the story afterwards – the more the gore, the quicker we respond.

Credits: Rohan Chakravarty (instagram @green_humour)

The whole incident reminds me of the recent webinar arranged by ISPP on Healthcare infrastructure and policy. One of the speakers, SY Quraishi (former Chief election commissioner of India) gave an example of public reaction on a similar ground.

They all had gathered for some conference related to children’s welfare, where a few socially woke artists were also present. He decided to conduct an experiment. He told people in the conference that around 300 children died in a blast in Syria’, and observed their responses.

Obviously people got panicked and were shocked to hear this, expressed their grief, and frantically took out their phones to maybe tweet or to search more info.. Mr. Quraishi then told them, it hadn’t happened that day, he just wanted to see their reactions.

Then he said these many kids die almost daily in India because of starvation, malnutrition, even a minor illness because there is no all accessible public health infrastructure. But we don’t pay attention to these news – mostly they don’t even get reported. It’s almost as if it’s okay or just normal to die of hunger..

Whenever we hear about incidents like what happened to the elephant, we don’t like to give it a minute and actually think about it, or try to find out the factors responsible, or take an initiative to solve the problems. We only pop our eyes out when we hear about one heartbreaking incident, which is actually the tip of the iceberg, and then move on. The problem remains unsolved.

PS: In a parallel world, when the teacher will ask "Who is the strongest animal on the earth?" the student from any of the marginalized community would answer with "elephant, because it could melt hearts of millions of Indians and even celebrities who don't bat an eyelid when human beings get murdered in broad daylight in the name of gender, caste, religion, 'honor'.."

Ancestors • पूर्वज

Location: Kanheri caves

मेरे पुरखों की विरासत का भरम रहने दे
तू हवेली को खुला देख के अंदर मत जा
.
A verse from the Ghazal by Qaisar-Ul Zafri (Book: Agar Darya Mila Hota). Read the whole ghazal here.
.

Translation:

Let the legacy of ancestors stay in illusions at least,
Don’t invade their mansion seeing the open doors
.

This verse is apt for the relationship between humans and other creatures. Nature does not discriminate against any species, whatever it has, is there for everyone. Yet, humans have exploited and hoarded Nature since the very beginning..

I interpret this verse as following –

Nature and all of its inter-dependent elements are dying fast; their legacy is now almost as good as an illusion because of us Humans. So the poet says ‘पुरखों की विरासत का भरम रहने दे’ – let it exist in illusions at least.

Just because nature is there for all, just because nature’s doors are always open to all, ‘तू हवेली को खुला देख के अंदर मत जा’ – don’t take it as an open invitation to exploit it.

Location: Kanheri caves

Sea • समुंदर

Location: Vashi bridge

एक दिन मैं तुम्हें बताऊँगा
समुंदर वहाँ से शुरू होता है
जहाँ से ख़ुश्की नज़र आनी ख़त्म हो जाए
फिर हम जब चाहेंगे
नज़्मों की किताब से
एक वरक़ फाड़ कर कश्ती बना लेंगे
और
दूसरा वरक़ फाड़ कर
समुंदर
.
ख़ुश्की – ज़मीन – Dryland
वरक़ – पन्ना – Page
कश्ती – नाव – Boat
नज़्म – मुक्त छंद कविता – Unrhymed poem
.
(अफ़ज़ल अहमद सय्यद की नज़्म ‘हम किसी से पूछे बग़ैर ज़िंदा रहते हैं‘)

.

Translation:

One day, I’ll tell you,
The ocean begins
where the sight of parched land ends
Then, whenever we please,
From the book of poems
We can tear one page
to make a boat
and
Another page
to draw an ocean..