Thursday, April 23, 2015

NPM - Day 11

The motivation for the NPM series is to celebrate April 2015 -- the National poetry month (hence NPM in the title), by sharing a favorite poem of mine every day of this month, starting April 13, 2015. 

Today I am sharing a creation by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, a famous Hindi author who penned the more well known Jhansi Ki Rani poem (JKR). I have special memories for JKR as my grandfather, who was fondly called "Daddy" by one and all including his grandchildren, called me "Chhabili" -- a nickname of Rani Lakshmibai (a.k.a JKR) :) -- and I remember wearing it proudly like a mantra which would make me as brave as her. I was so enamored of her story and her bravery, narrated multiple times to me by Daddy and depicted with unparalleled beauty by Chauhan in JKR, that I chose to recite it in the first ever poetry competition I participated in at school. After committing each stanza to my mind of this long poem I used to run and practice my newly-remembered lines in front of the mirror, complete with sword actions just like Rani Lakshmibai -- some thing I used to be convinced of at that time. 

 The poem which I am sharing today also formed an integral part of my childhood, in a much more sober way though :) One thing which sets Chauhan's poetry apart from other poets, for me, are the simple yet addictive rhythms she is able to infuse in her words -- which probably explains their long-lasting appeal and the reason I can still hum them effortlessly today, just like I used to do in front of that mirror more than 20 years ago! It also explains why it is even harder than usual to do them justice in translation, so I'll pass on that.

Yeh Kadamb ka Ped

-- Subhadra Kumari Chauhan

Yeh kadamb ka ped agar maa hota yamuna teere
Main bhi us par baith Kanhaiya banta dheerey dheere

Le deti yadi mujhe bansuri tum do paise waali

Kisi tarah neeche ho jaati yeh kadamb ki daali

Tumhe nahi kuchh kehta par main chupke chupke aata
Us neechee daali se amma unchee par chad jaata

Wahin baith fir bade maze se main bansuri bajata
amma amma keh bansi ke swar mein tumhe bulata

Sun meri bansi ko maa tum itni khush ho jaati
Mujhe dekhne ko tum baahar kaam chhod kar aati

Tumko aata dekh bansuri rakh mein chup ho jaata
Patton mein chhip kar fir dheere se bansuri bajaata

Bahut bulane par bhi maa jab nahi utar kar aata
Maa, tab maa ka hriday tumhara bahut vikal ho jaata 

Tum aanchal phaila kar amma wahin ped ke neeche
Iswar se kuchh binti karti baithi aankhein meeche

Tumhe dhyaan mein lagi dekh mein dheere dheere aata
Aur tumhaare phaile aanchal ke neeche chhip jaata

Tum ghabra kar aankh kholti par maa khush jo jaati
Jab apne munne raja ko godi mein hi paati

Is tarah kuchh khela karte hum-tum dheere dheere
Yeh kadamb ka ped agar maa hota yamuna teere.

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