by rabindranath tagore
khokA = darling boy; dAdA = elder brother;
lAThi = sturdy staff; beherA = palanquin porter
Joradighi = place name; (joRA=twin, dighi=lake)
bIrpuruSh = valiant one; (bIr = brave; puruSh = man)
(note: pronounce A = aa)
just imagine mother, that you and i are travelling far (can't remember why) your palanquin's rocking to and fro with four beherAs going heiyA-ho besides them i am trotting along on my little red pony, singing a song. my hoof-dust clouds the end of day thorn-bushes bleak in the low sun's ray it's barren, barren, every which way even the animals have gone away imagine it's dark: you can barely see we've come to the wilds of jorAdighi we are cutting through the fields of bramble it's nearly night, the beherAs scramble the path curves out a little ahead, we are going over a dead river bed in the plodding silence, you suddenly shout "are those lights out there, moving about?" just then the cry: "hAre re re re re" you can hear them charging; utter disarray beherAs running helter skelter you pray to heaven for divine shelter but i tell you calmly, "mA don't worry! i am here with you, now _they'll be sorry!" skins gleaming in the flickering light twirling lAThis they come, a fearsome sight i yell, "wait!", and "stop right there! beware my sword now, don't you dare! just one more step and your blood will spray!" but they just explode with a "hA re re re re re" you tell me, all trembling, "khokA, don't go!" i say, "mA, just watch." and with a "heigh ho", i spur my horse into the villainous mass their shields ring out on my cutlass such a terrible battle, you'd swoon if i say so many heads cut off, so many run away... at the end you're weeping, "my khokA is dead!" just then i'm back, all sweaty blood-red. i call out, "mA, it's over, the fight!" you come out then and hug me tight you lift me to your lap with a kiss: "khokA dear, what _would i have done, if you hadn't been here!" such useless things happen all the time why can't _this be true at least one time? oh then it would be a real fairy tale everyone would rave, though dAdA would rail: "pah! how can this be? he isn't even that strong!" but neighbours would say, "lucky khokA went along!"
transl. amit mukerjee
kanpur, 26 november 2007
(thanks, molly a.k.a.
dipika mukherjee for your inputs!)