Translations bridge borders — borders drawn by languages. We have showcased translations in multiple languages. Paying a tribute to all the greats, we invite you to savour a small selection of our translations.
The witch is Aruna Chakravarti’s translation of a short story by renowned writer, Tarasankar Bandopadhyay . The original story titled, Daini, was first published in 1940 in Probashi magazine in Bengali. Click here to read.
Tagore wrote on almost all aspects of life. Here are Fakrul Alam’s translations of Tagore’s songs for Ashar, the third month in the Bengali Calendar around the months of June-July. It is the time the monsoons start to set in. The sky, the flora and the fauna are resplendent and fecund with the much-awaited showers. Alam, a renowned scholar and translator from Bangladesh, was kind enough to share these six songs of the season which will soon be a part of his forthcoming publication on translation from the Gitabitan, Tagore’s treasury of more than 2000 songs.
Garland of Lightening Gems(Bajromanik Diye Gantha, written in 1925)
Ashar, how delicate is your garland of jewelled thunderbolts!
Your dark beauty is set off by lightning flashes
Your spells have the power to melt stones and sprout crops--
On your winged feet you bring from sandy wastes flower garlands
On withered leaves you come in torrential and triumphant showers
Your clouds resound like tom-toms in festive abandon
In your deluge of delicious green, parched earth revives
But keep your awful, life-threatening floods away!
In the Thunderous Clouds(Oi Je Jhorer Meghe, written in 1922)
There--in the lap of storm clouds--the rain comes
Its hair loosened, its sari’s borders flying!
Its song beats flutter mango, blackberry, sal and rain-trees
Making their leaves dance and murmur in excitement
My eyes, moving in beat to its music
Wander in falling rain, losing themselves amidst sylvan shades
Whose familiar voice calls out to me in the wet wind endlessly
Stirring a storm of anguish in my soul on this lonely day?
The Tune of New Clouds(Aaj Nobeen Megher Shoor Legeche, written in 1922)
Newly arrived clouds stir a tune in my mind today
And my thoughts become all aflutter causelessly
How these clouds lure me outdoors again and again,
Casting their shade on my eyes every now and then
In the rain pouring from the sky tumultuously
What message of the path to pursue do they bear?
That path will take my mind’s tune into the unknown
And disperse it in the bower of one forever forlorn!
The Sky’s Musings(Aaj Akashe Moner Kotha, written in 1922)
This day I hear the sky’s musings in thundershowers
They’ve reverberated in my heart all day long.
On the dark lake water, clouds thicken
The wind, bearing the pain of centuries,
Has murmured in my heart all day long
By my window and in darkness
I commune with the sky, all alone
Like rustling branches, hidden memories stir
Evoking a tear-soaked tune in my soul
As crickets chirp on—all day long!
Under the Kadmaba Trees(Esho Nipo Bone,written in 1925)
Come and walk in the shade of the Kadamba tree rows
Come bathe in rain water streaming down incessantly
Let down your disheveled thick jet-black tresses
Drape around your bodies your sky-blue saris
With kohl-lined eyes and jasmine garlands
Come and walk in the shade of Kadamba tree rows!
Every now and then, my dear, dear soul mates,
Let smiles light up your lips and eyes wondrously
To the beat of pouring rain, let Raga Mallar tuned songs,
Sung in your sweet voices, sound in forests sonorously
Come and walk in the shade of Kadamba tree rows!
Tear-filled Sorrow(Ashrubhara Bedona, written in 1925)
Tear-filled emotions stir everywhere!
Whose desire sounds in dark in the clouds this day?
They speed across tempestuously,
Whose lament echoes in the rumbling?
Who could be focused on such fruitless worship?
A raven who was keenly waiting for sundown flapped open its black wings and scooping up the earth in its claws soared up towards the sky.
The clouds slide aside in its wing beats. The stars grow cold, The moon extinguishes. The sun is left far behind.
In the clutches of the raven are the multiplication tables of kids, yawns of women and kitchen pots rolling on the slab fed up with waiting for the father.
As the raven flies along the galaxies the kids slip into dreams. The women stagger towards the bedroom postponing for the next day the washing of the utensils heaped up near the cistern.
The silk cotton trees from which the clouds scatter around are beyond the Milky Way. The raven settles on one of their branches, wets its wings and shakes off the moisture.
Feeling the cold, the women shut the windows. The kids look for sheets to cover themselves.
After its bath, the raven shivering in the bitter cold flies back towards the sun.
Ever slowly, the day breaks.
Ammu Deepa is from Pattambi, Palakkad. Has been publishing poems in various periodicals in Malayalam for a decade. She has published a collection of poems titled ‘Karimkutti’ which has received much critical acclaim. She is a painter too. She is a teacher by profession.
By JaquelineMary Mathew
The windows of nice girls
The windows of nice girls are
open to November.
They dream of the window magic
of the paramour that makes the snow
fall on their soles.
With salt crystals they catalyze
the possibilities of the wound
that can heal quickly.
They swim across rivers of wine and
sail out in ships on oceans of vodka. .
Nice girls don’t write poems or
Cry over their beloveds.
They shake off love
from the wrinkles on their skirts.
They fold sorrow in many ways and
make origami flowers. .
The four walls around nice girls
are their own construction where
they stick the souls of flowers
banished from the spring.
They loop life through a yellow thread
and their minds pained by the slavery
of their inner wear, get ready
to commit suicide. .
They tattoo themselves.
They chant prayers to the god of the nose stud.
Nice girls are never nice girls.
Planting mahogany in their minds frequently,
and installing the scent of the forest there
to be canonized by the poetry of
one and only one person.
Jacquiline Mary Mathew is from Alappuzha, Kerala and currently works in Toronto, Canada. She writes poems exclusively on the social media.
The sea gaze
As the feet pirouette
around the songs that bore
in the brine
in the scalding gaze
of the sea,
the storms that lay
concealed in the feet
get the urge to
tear asunder the sails
and become the moon
in dreamy whirlpools.
If the red mesh of the liver
of the invisible rivers
in the eddies of the eyes
desire to bloom again,
it has to meditate with shut eyes
inside the coral shells.
the roots that creep upon
the body gone dry
of the sea smell
become scales where the
as the steps develop cramps
slipping on the white roads
of the land,
rubbing off the mould
abandoning the meltings of
the body on the rocks,
spreading like awakening songs
of the sun,
falling on the bosom of the sea
that sleeps not,
to kiss the inner eye
of the sky
fins are sprouting on the feet.
Stalina is from Muvattupuzha, Ernakulam. Her poems have been published in various magazines like The Economic and Political Weekly, Bhashaposhini, Samakalika Malayalam and Madhyamam etc. She is currently working on her first collection of poems. Stalina is a teacher by profession.
Note on Translator: Ra Sh has published three collections of poetry – Architecture of Flesh (Poetrywala), Bullet Train and other loaded poems (Hawakal) and Kintsugi by Hadni (RLFPA). Forthcoming books are The Ichi Tree Monkey and other stories (translation of Tamil Dalit writer Bama’s short stories, Speaking Tiger) and Blind Men Write (a play) (Rubric).Rash’s English translations include Mother Forest (Women Unlimited, from Malayalam), Waking is another dream (Navayana, Srilankan Tamil poems translated with Meena Kandasmy), Don’t want caste (Navayana, collection of Malayalam short stories by Dalit writers) and Kochiites (Greenex, a book on different communities in Kochi.)
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