Waiting

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Translated a poem by Hindi poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan (1907 – 2003) into English. It’s a figurative and simple translation, not a literal one. Hope you like it 🙂 🙂

Waiting (प्रतीक्षा – हरिवंशराय बच्चन)

If waiting for you is so delightful, how divine would the meeting be?

The night is like the silence that remains
after a melodious tune
lost in dreams with it’s head resting on the stars
still hearing echoes from all directions….
If I could hear your song, how divine would that be?

You never promised to meet me
in the silence of this night
yet at these moments I’m delirious with anticipation
If you could fix a rendezvous, how divine would that be?

Tonight I’m awake with excitement
the sky is perpetually sleepless
but for whom are the constellations hopeful and waiting?
If you could visit my lonely hut, how divine would that be?

Lost in fantasy I imagine your footsteps
but overcome by realization a teardrop falls
and my fancies melt into a sea of despair
If you could embrace me, how divine would that be?

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प्रतीक्षा – हरिवंशराय बच्चन

मधुर प्रतीक्षा ही जब इतनी, प्रिय तुम आते तब क्या होता?

मौन रात इस भांति कि जैसे, कोई गत वीण पर बज कर,
अभी-अभी सोई खोई-सी, सपनों में तारों पर सिर धर
और दिशाओं से प्रतिध्वनियाँ, जाग्रत सुधियों-सी आती हैं,
कान तुम्हारे तान कहीं से यदि सुन पाते, तब क्या होता?

तुमने कब दी बात रात के सूने में तुम आने वाले,
पर ऐसे ही वक्त प्राण मन, मेरे हो उठते मतवाले,
साँसें घूमघूम फिरफिर से, असमंजस के क्षण गिनती हैं,
मिलने की घड़ियाँ तुम निश्चित, यदि कर जाते तब क्या होता?

उत्सुकता की अकुलाहट में, मैंने पलक पाँवड़े डाले,
अम्बर तो मशहूर कि सब दिन, रहता अपने होश सम्हाले,
तारों की महफिल ने अपनी आँख बिछा दी किस आशा से,
मेरे मौन कुटी को आते तुम दिख जाते तब क्या होता?

बैठ कल्पना करता हूँ, पगचाप तुम्हारी मग से आती,
रगरग में चेतनता घुलकर, आँसू के कणसी झर जाती,
नमक डलीसा गल अपनापन, सागर में घुलमिलसा जाता,
अपनी बाँहों में भरकर प्रिय, कण्ठ लगाते तब क्या होता?

 

On Windows and Views

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Wrote this poem a few days back when I was in Hyderabad. Managed to stay for a few days in my old apartment there. The last few years that I’d spent in it was quite ill and invalid, so it felt really great to be back in much better condition.

Used to spend a lot of time gazing out of windows when I was unwell, and haven’t been indulging in that activity for quite some time. It’s actually a very delightful pastime – very calming and relaxing, provided your window has a nice view 🙂 🙂 My window had a very green and beautiful view of trees, birds, butterflies and garden activity, therefore I never ever got bored. It used to be fun watching different birds turn up at different times of the day, and indulge in various antics. Whiled away some time again before I wrote this poem.

Also remembered that my grandfather used to spend a lot of time gazing out of our living-room window in Bangalore, when he stayed with us. He really enjoyed this activity and would give a running commentary of the scenes outside, to anyone willing to listen. Our house was in front of a lively but not noisy street, so the scenes outside used to be quite colorful and interesting.

He became familiar with and used to recognize all the regular passers-by, and would notice whenever one of them was missing on any particular day. There would be office-goers passing by in the mornings and evenings, children going to school, vendors coming and going at different times, and laborers returning home late evening.

He used to enjoy Sundays the most because there was a popular church close-by. Many families would pass by on Sundays in their most colorful and best clothes and he knew all of them, though he never spoke to any of them! If any family or family member was missing on any Sunday, he would comment on that. Am hardly spending any time by windows nowadays, and think I should get back to it once in a while 🙂 🙂
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By the Window

I decided to make today
an ode to yesterday
and whiled away the moments
in idle sentiments

Settled by the same old window
and remembered many scenes
of birds humming in the breeze
gardeners chattering under trees

All that reality is now only memory
today’s certainty is also but a dream
the yesterdays, their trials and tribulations
how strange, sad and beautiful they seem….

Is Today the Day?

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Is today the day for a confession
of my eternal and ardent obsession
Should I reveal I’m crazy about you
and can love none else but you?

Will words be sweeter than silence
or will they break this breathtaking dream?
Is today the day for a confession
of my eternal and ardent obsession…..

 

My Experiences with Ghosts

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Today’s topic is ghosts! Yes, I’ve selected a ghost poem and written about my experiences with ghosts. The poem is a “Summer Night” by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809 -1892), who was Poet Laureate during Queen Victoria’s reign. It’s a very beautiful poem with lovely imagery in which the poet is asking his dead beloved’s ghost to meet him on a summer night.

He first describes how the evening is sinking into night, because the flowers, the trees, the fish, the peacock and the lily – are all retiring for the day. Only the firefly is around and he tells her that it’s time to wake up.

“Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars,” refers to a legend in Greek mythology. Danae was a princess who was locked up by her father in a prison because an astrologer tells him that the son she bears will end up killing him. But, Zeus – the King of Gods, manages to get to her and she bears a son Perseus. You can google the entire legend, if you wish.

Summer Night by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font:
The firefly wakens: waken thou with me.

Now droops the milk-white peacock like a ghost,
And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.

Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars,
And all thy heart lies open unto me.

Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves
A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me.

Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,
And slips into the bosom of the lake:
So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
Into my bosom and be lost in me.
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The Evening Walk

Reading this poem reminded me of an incident in my childhood. Those days we didn’t possess mobiles and other devices, so we actually spent a lot of time outdoors and also had more time to indulge in a few escapades now and then 🙂 🙂

We always found the topic of ghosts very exciting and sometimes during holidays and especially at night, we spent time in our friends’ houses telling each other ghost-stories. And when the atmosphere would become quite tense and eerie after the story recital, one of the bolder kids would sneak out and quietly turn off the lights in the room – and terrified screams would follow……

Like I mentioned before in another post, we used to wait for the city bus to get home after school. And more often than not, the bus was really late and the wait was very boring.

An idle brain is a devil’s workshop, but a bored “idle brain” that’s waiting for a bus happens to be worse than a devil’s workshop. That day I got a brilliant idea while waiting. There were two huge graveyards with impressive tombstones that were situated on the way between school and home. Graveyards are generally interesting – especially to kids, so we used to look at them curiously from the bus whenever we passed them.

I suggested to the others that instead of wasting our time waiting for the bus, it might be a good idea to try walking back home. After all, it was only about 7 kms  😉 and we could explore the graveyards and take some other interesting shortcuts. There was a good chance that we might meet a few ghosts and have some fun, besides increasing our GK (general knowledge) on that topic. Must’ve had a somewhat charismatic personality back then, because everyone readily agreed to my imbecile plans 🙂 🙂

So we set out for our evening walk, feeling proud that we were a bunch of bold kids on a mission to do some “research” on ghosts, and soon entered a graveyard. We ambled inside it, stopping by the tombstones and reading what was written on them. After some time, we were somewhat disappointed that everything seemed very mundane and peaceful and there was nothing at all that was bizarre or extraordinary.

At that point someone in our group shrieked out loudly and scarily just trying to be funny, but thanks to our eerie location, we all were terrified and sprinted towards the nearest gate. Thus, having had enough of our graveyard experience, we started walking home taking all the shortcuts. And of course, many of those shortcuts didn’t turn out to be actual shortcuts  😦

Meanwhile our parents were worried to a frenzy. They made rounds on the main road to school searching for us, but couldn’t manage to find us because we were taking shortcuts. We normally reached home every day around 4 – 4.15 pm, but that day managed to get home around 6 – 6.30 pm to meet a bunch of distraught parents. And without doubt, they had a lot of nasty things to say to us – the only thing that gave us nightmares that night weren’t the ghosts  😦

The Poem

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When it came to you
the poem wrote itself
I thought of your face
and the words surfaced
I remembered your voice
and the rhythm emerged
the lines were ready
And I blushed
when the verse looked up at me