20 April 2024

Ghulam Ali evening

Chori chori ham se tum aa kar mile the jis jagah
Muddatein guzariin par ab tak wo thikaanaa yaad hai
Ham ko ab tak aashiqii ka vo zamana yaad hai
Chupke chupke raat din aansuu bahana yaad hai

Aa gaya gar vasl ki shab bhi kahin zikr-e-firaaq
Vo tera ro ro ke bhi mujhko rulana yaad hai
Ham ko ab tak aashiqii ka vo zamana yaad hai
Chupke chupke raat din aansuu bahana yaad hai

Roughly translated…

That place where you used to come to meet me secretly
Much time has gone by but I still remember that place
I still remember those days when we were in love
I still remember tears flowing secretly day and night

If ever any mention of parting came up during those nights of love
I remember how you would keep crying and then make me cry
I still remember those days when we were in love
I still remember tears flowing secretly day and night

20 January 2024

“O Nodi Re”

This was written by and also sung by Hemanta Mukherjee. I think he also composed the tunes.

O Nodire
Ekti kotha shudhai shudhu tomaare
Bolo kothay tomar desh
Tomar neiki cholaar shesh

Tomar kono badhon naai
Tumi ghor chara ki taai
Ei achho bhataay abar
Ei to dekhi jowaar e

Ekul bhenge okul tumi goro
Jaar ekul okul du kul gelo
Taar laagi ki koro

Amay bhabcho michei por
Tomar naai ki oboshor
Shukh dukkher kotha kichu
Koile na hoy amaare

Roughly translated:
(improvements welcome)

Oh! you incessantly flowing river
I have but this one query for you
From where are you coming
And is there no end to your flowing?

You seem to be blissfully unfettered
Bereft of your own abode
One moment I see you receding in an ebb
And in the next you are rushing in a tide

You break a bank on one side
Only to create another on the other
And what do you do for those
Who have lost on all their sides?

Do not think of me as a stranger
For whom you have no time nor tide
Why don’t you pause next to me
And narrate the story of your life?

1 October 2023

An evening transported by a “Thumri”

The beauty of the words can only be bested by the tune. Both of which are from Rabi Guha Majumdar. While there are many renditions of this song – and most would say Feroza Begum is the absolute authority on this, I would lean equally to the one by Kaushiki Chakraborty.

Translations of any poem never can carry the whole impact since emotions find it infinitely more difficult to cross language bridges than words do. That said, it might be instructional to remember here that while the song is ostensibly about the moonlight, metaphorically, it is referring to the person the poet loves.

Also, if you are not familiar with the traditional Indian dress “saree” – it is a long flowing piece of cloth that women wear with great elegance.

Anyways, the words of the first stanza go…

“জোছনা করেছে আড়ি
আসেনা আমার বাড়ি 
গলি দিয়ে চলে যায়,
লুটিয়ে রুপোলি শাড়ী”

Roughly speaking, (improvements welcome)

“She is upset with me like never before
For no more does she grace my abode
Quietly, she moves thru the neighboring lane
Sweeping all along with her saree’s train”

9 September 2023

This brought back some memories of my brother and sister

It was 1982. I was in tenth grade. My sister was in eighth and my brother in fifth. Early that year, every loudspeaker in any event in the neighborhood worth the flickering tube-lights that adorned them had the “Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai” songs blaring at decibel levels that would make a steam engine back off. There was a particular one – “Hoga Tumse Pyara Kaun” that had completely gotten into the heads of us three siblings. We used to sing the song all day long.

The lilting tune was set to the rhythm of a steam engine’s motion. I have not seen the movie – or any that you can name – but I can imagine the scene had a man and woman singing on the roof of a train or something like that. I may not know my movies but I do know my steam engines. The instruments bring out a steam engine’s sounds extremely well while keeping the mellifluous flow of the words.

In our house, while growing up, watching movies (specially Hindi movies) was a big no no. Listening to Hindi songs was frowned upon grimly. Parents called them “lareylappa“! Not sure how to translate that – uncouth? boorish? lout? But this song got to my mom too!! I recollect she mentioning she had heard that song on her way to school and the tune was nice.

That was all the license we needed to sing the song whole day long!!