Monthly Archives: January 2020


লাগলে তোমার ভাল —

বাক্সে পুরে, রাংতা মুড়ে,

রঙিন ফিতেয় বেঁধে,

আকাশ থেকে কুড়িয়ে এনে

কয়েক মুঠো আলো —

ভাবছি তোমায় পাঠিয়ে দেব,

লাগলে তোমার ভাল —



 In its stead then, you receive
          A silent pool wrought just for you
          A looking glass clear and painted blue
               Water, light-filled, glows --
          Image of a branch, flowers bowed 
          The fluttering sail of a violet cloud
                  A fulfilled heart assures --
An inward eye can all perceive. 

In its stead then, you receive
         Musings mundane, void and bare
         Dusty feet marked paths that stare
               Winds sucked dry of tears --
         A distant familiar voice might call
         During a midday, bereft of all
               No one turns and hears.
These too did you have to leave!                  

Translation-cum-transcreation of a classic Bengali poem বিনিময় (binimoy, meaning exchange) by Amiya Chakravarty. The poem was published around 1953 in a collection of Chakravarty’s poems entitled পারাপার (parapar, meaning ferrying across). I take this opportunity to thank my wonderful friend Surja Sankar Ray for his interpretation of the poem as well as his advice on the many drafts preceding what has been posted.

Hridoypur** (Revised)

Early version: December 31, 2014
This version: January 5, 2020

A veil of darkness still there was -- and yet the light of day Hridoypur was all abuzz -- with perplexities at play Drowned the river bank below -- in the sky one saw recline A lustrous moon in all its glow -- its eyes a pitiless shine Why offer her a ride at all -- whose face expresses frown Who posts a guard on every wall -- and keeps her shutters down? Can a tryst with her then make much sense -- now again this day At Hridoypur where perplexities -- are done with childish play?

Translation-cum-transcreation of a classic Bengali poem হৃদয়পুর (Hridoypur) by Shakti Chattopadhyay. The poem was published in his collection entitled ধর্মে আছো জিরাফেও আছ (“dhorme aachho giraffe-eo achho”, which literally translates to “you exist in religion as well as in the giraffe”) around the year 1977.

**For those unfamiliar with the Bengali language, the word “hridoy” means heart. The word “pur” means a locality. It’s a common suffix carried by a number of large as well as small towns and villages in India, such as Nagpur, Kanpur, Mathurapur and so on. Hridoypur could mean a geographical territory, and indeed a locality by that name exists, but in the present context, the word “hridoy” (heart) lends to it a poetic connotation.