June 26, 2016

On the Other Side of my Song

Few years back a certain TV serial took Bengali Satellite TV viewers by storm. It had all the elements in place for the Bengali intellectual; the ones taking their last breath in a century that’s completely alien to their philosophy of life. The serial was called Gaaner Opare. It was a clash between the old and the new; traditions and modernity; almost the same things that every Bengali Soap is made of (if not about the members of the extended family trying to kill each other). But it had one major difference; the context of Gaaner Opare was Rabindrasangeet. The male protagonist was the dream of every teenager going to JU or Presi (Jadavpur University or Presidency College for the uninitiated). He was a rock singer trying to redefine Tagore. That’s explosive and he had the drop dead intellectual looks of his dad; the second most loved “Feluda”. The female protagonist on the other hand was someone who every mother in Bengal wanted as her daughter in law. Independent yet upholding tradition; wearing the most gorgeous Sari in the day and age of Jeans and T shirts and a voice of gold singing Rabindrasangeet in just the right way.

Cutting a long story short; the show ended as well; thankfully without trying to extend it’s runtime. But Gaaner Opare left a mark. A few days back a friend with a strong connection to Calcutta suddenly pinged me asking me about the true meaning of this song. And I was dumbfounded. Probably one of the most esoteric of Tagore’s songs; like many of his later works it masquerades as a love song in the grey area between spirituality and platonic, unfulfilled love. And therefore as the rains lash Mumbai forcing me inside my house and on my bean bag; here’s an attempt.

The Original Bengali Genius

Dariye acho tumi aamar gaaner oparey x 2
Amar shurguli paay choron, ami pai ne tomare.
Dariye acho tumi aamar gaaner oparey.

Batash bohey mori mori, aar bedhe rekho na tori. x 2
Esho esho paar hoye mor hridoy majhare.
Dariye acho tumi aamar gaaner oparey.

Tomar saathey gaaner khela duurer khela je,
Bedonate baanshi bajay shokol bela je.
Kobey niye aamar baanshi bajabe go apni ashi; x2
Anondomoy nirob raater nibir aandharey.

Dariye acho tumi aamar gaaner oparey.
Amar shurguli paay choron, ami pai ne tomare.
Dariye acho tumi aamar gaaner oparey.

My English Transliteration Attempt

You stand beyond the realms of my song x2
Probably my tunes reach you in their trembling steps;
but I have never been able to get to you
As you stand beyond the realms of my song

The winds blow; oh how beautifully; do not hold your boat back  x2
Come cross over to the very centre of my heart
And yet you stand beyond the realms of my song.

Singing a song with you; is celebrating the song of distances
The pain of it emanates from my flute all day long;
When will you take my flute to play your beauteous tunes? X2
In the darkness of the night filled with unspeakable happiness?

You stand beyond the realms of my song
Probably my tunes reach you in their trembling steps;
but I have never been able to get to you

As you stand beyond the realms of my song

3 comments:

Shibanka Biswas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shibanka Biswas said...

Cannot think of a better translation of the song Madhurjyada

Madhurjya Banerjee said...

Thanks Shibu :)