Nobler than the Noblest!

வறுமை! நம் தேசத்தில்
  அது அறிவின் ஆபரணம்

vaRumai! nam thaesathil
adhu aRivin aabaraNam

Poverty! In our country
it is the ornament of intelligence

புலமைக்கு கிடைக்கும் முதல் விருது

pulamaikku kidaikkum mudhal virudhu

It is the first award given to poetic prowess

என்றும் பசிதான் கவிதையின் ரத்தம

endRum pasidhaan kavidhaiyin rathama

Always, hunger is the lifeblood of a poem

வறுமைக்கு பசிக்கும் போதெல்லாம்
  அது புலவனைத்தான் புசிக்கிறது

vaRumaikku pasikkum poadhellaam
adhu pulavanaithaan pusikkiRadhu

When ever hunger strikes poverty,
It feeds on the scholarly

புலவனின் கவிதையோ 
 பசியே வைக்கும் பந்தி

pulavanin kavidhaiyoa
pasiyae vaikkum pandhdhi

For the poet’s creation,
Hunger itself throws the feast,

கவிஞன் மனித ராசி என்றால் நான்
  மறுதலிப்பேன்

kavinjan manidha raasi endRaal naan
maRudhalippaen

If a poet were to be classified as being human,
I would deny

அவன் உயர்திணையைவிட
  உயர்ந்தவன்

avan uyardhiNaiyaivida
uyarndhdhavan

He is nobler than noblest,

எழுதும்போது
  வெளிச்சம் வேண்டியிருந்தால்
  அவனுக்கு
  விரல் மெழுகுவத்தி

ezhudhumpoadhu
veLichcham vaeNdiyirundhdhaal
avanukku
viRal mezhuguvathi

If there is need for light,
when penning a poem,
then his fingers
become the candle

பெருமூச்சியெல்லாம்
  அவனது
  பேனா புல்லாங்குழல்
  ராகஜாதியாய்
  ரசவாதம் செய்துவிடும்

perumoochchiyellaam
avanadhu
paenaa pullaangguzhal
raagaJaadhiyaay
rasavaadham seydhuvidum

All the deep breathes
turn melodic
due to the flute that is his pen

அவன் கண்ணீர்
  இறுகி .. இறுகி ..
  முத்துக்களாய் முதிர்ந்துவிடும்

avan kaNNeer
iRugi .. iRugi ..
muthukkaLaay mudhirndhdhuvidum

His tears, become denser by the tick,
and eventually trickle down like pearls

தன்னை
  நசுக்கி கொண்டு அவன்
  சிரித்து கொள்வான்

thannai
nasukki koNdu avan
sirithu koLvaan

He crushes himself (for his creation),
but sports a smile nevertheless,

சோகமே அவனது படுக்கை
  கவலையே அவனது தலையணை

soagamae avanadhu padukkai
kavalaiyae avanadhu thalaiyaNai

Suffering is his mattress,
Worry is his pillow,

அவனுக்கு தெரியும்
  விருச்சத்தை சுருட்டி
  விதையாக்கும் வித்தை

avanukku theriyum
viruchchathai surutti
vidhaiyaakkum vithai

He knows the art of
condensing a tree into a seed

பாரதி முதலில் பயந்தான் பிறகு
  பயம் அவனை கண்டு பயந்தது

baaradhi mudhalil payandhdhaan piRagu
payam avanai kaNdu payandhdhadhu

At first, Bharathi was afraid,
later fear was afraid of him,

தன்னை எரிக்க வந்த வறுமையை
  அவன் செரித்து விட்டான்

thannai erikka vandhdha vaRumaiyai
avan serithu vittaan

The poverty that came to burn him
Was (crushed into pieces) and digested by him

அவன்தான் சூரிய சொப்பனங்களில்
  சொக்கி கிடந்தானே
  இருட்டு அவனுக்கென்ன பொருட்டு ?

avandhaan sooriya soppanangaLil
sokki kidandhdhaanae
iruttu avanukkenna poruttu ?

For him, who was enthralled In the celestial dreams,
Would the darkness be of concern?

அவன்தான் நாளைய பூக்களின் மேல்
  நடந்து கொண்டிருந்தான்
  இன்றின் முட்கள் என்செய்யும் ?

avandhaan naaLaiya pookkaLin mael
nadandhdhu koNdirundhdhaan
indRin mutkaL encheyyum ?

For him, who was walking On the flowers of tomorrow,
What harm could today’s thorn bear?

நின்றது இந்தியா வா?
  இல்லை இருதயத்தின் ஒரு பாதியா ?
  சந்தேகத்தில் மனம் சலிந்தது

nindRadhu indhdhiyaa vaa?
illai irudhayathin oru paadhiyaa ?
sandhdhaegathil manam salindhdhadhu

Is it India that stopped?
Isn’t it half his heart?
His mind was weary with the confusion!

 தன் பேனாவை எண்ணியே
  பெரிதும் வருந்தினான்

than paenaavai eNNiyae
peridhum varundhdhinaan

He thought about his pen
and repented a great deal,

எதிரிகள் போர்களத்தையே
  திருடிவிட்டதாய் திகைத்தான்

edhirigaL poarkaLathaiyae
thirudivittadhaay thigaithaan

He was astounded
For he thought that the enemies
Stole the battlefield itself (Rather than waging war)

அவன் இமைப்பதற்கு
  இரண்டு நாள் ஆயிற்று

avan imaippadhaRku
iraNdu naaL aayitRu

It took him two days
to even blink an eye
(due to the shock)

வருமானம் வரும் வழியே
  முட் கதவுகளால் அல்லவா
  மூடிவிட்டார்கள் ?

varumaanam varum vazhiyae
mut kadhavugaLaal allavaa
moodivittaarkaL ?

Didn’t they close the path
That brought income
With doors of thorn?

வறுமை தன் வாசலை
  விசாலமாக விரித்தது

vaRumai than vaasalai
visaalamaaga virithadhu

While poverty opened up
its paths wide open

சுயலோகத்தையும் அவன்
  நாடகத்தில் வரும்
  நவரசம் போல
  நன்றாய் ரசித்தான்

suyaloagathaiyum avan
naadagathil varum
navarasam poala
nandRaay rasithaan

He enjoyed the misery in his
own life,
like the way one would enjoy the
splendid expressions of a drama,

கொடுக்க வேண்டிய வாடகை
  நகராத கூவம் போல
  தேங்கியது

kodukka vaeNdiya vaadagai
nagaraadha koovam poala
thaenggiyadhu

The rent that he needed to give (for his house),
started to became stagnant like a well

வசூலிக்க வரும்
  செட்டியாரோ
  கடன்பட்டார் நெஞ்சம்போல
  கலங்கினார்

vasoolikka varum
chettiyaaroa
kadanpattaar nenjampoala
kalangginaar

The Chettiar who came to collect the rent,
his heart was agitated like the one who was in debt,

கோவில் மாடத்தில்
  கூடுகட்டும் புறாவிடம்
  வாடகை எப்படி வசூலிப்பது

koavil maadathil
koodugattum puRaavidam
vaadagai eppadi vasoolippadhu
at the altar of the temple,
to the pigeon that was making its nest,
how can one ask for rent?

இன்று கட்டாயம்
  கேட்பதென்று கால்கள் விரையும்

indRu kattaayam
kaetpadhendRu kaalkaL viraiyum

“Today I will for sure ask”,
with this thought his feet walk briskly

பாரதியின் வாசலுக்கு வரும்போதோ
  காலணியோடு அந்த
  கருத்தையும்
  வெளியே விட்டுவிட்டு
  வீட்டுக்கு போவார்

paaradhiyin vaasalukku varumpoadhoa
kaalaNiyoadu andhdha
karuthaiyum
veLiyae vittuvittu
veettukku poavaar

But when he hit Bharathi’s doorstep,
with the footwear
even this thought
was left behind,
and the Chettiar would go in,

பாரதி சிரிப்பான்
  ஒரு வெண்கல மணி
  விண்ணில் அதிரும்

paaradhi sirippaan
oru veNkala maNi
viNNil adhirum

Bharathi would laugh,
A bronze gong would
strike in the skies,

வாரும் விளக்கெண்ணெய்வாள்
  வாடகைக்கு அப்படி என்ன அவசரம் ஒய்

vaarum viLakkeNNeyvaaL
vaadagaikku appadi enna avasaram oy

Come in! Oh know it all buddy!
What is the hurry to collect rent now?

இன்னும் பத்து வருஷம்
  சுயராஜ்ய ஜோதி
  தெரிந்துவிடும்

innum pathu varusham
suyaraaJya Joadhi
therindhdhuvidum

In ten years,
The light of Independence (swarajya),
will be lit,

பிறகென்ன ?
  அரசாங்கத்தின் கஜானாவிற்கு
  காசோலை தருவேன்
  போய்வாரும்

piRagenna ?
arasaangathin kaJaanaaviRku
kaasoalai tharuvaen
poayvaarum

Then what?
I’ll draw cheque Even to Government treasury
(For I would be that rich by then)
Come back later than now

மீண்டும்
  வெண்கல சிரிப்பு
  விண்ணை உரசும்

meeNdum
veNkala sirippu
viNNai urasum

Yet again, the bronze gong (his laughter)
will fill up the skies

ரணங்களை எல்லாம்
  ஆபரணங்களாய்
  அணிய பழகிய
  அந்த பொழுதில்
  வங்காளத்து மகான்
  வந்து சேர்ந்தார்

raNangaLai ellaam
aabaraNangaLaay
aNiya pazhagiya
andhdha pozhudhil
vanggaaLathu magaan
vandhdhu saerndhdhaar

He had learnt to wear all his debts (battles)
as his jewels
At that moment the great from Bengal
arrived

Note: An excerpt from Vairamuthu’s book ” Kavirajan kathai” Chapter 27 – உயர்திணையைவிட உயர்ந்தவன் (Greater than the greatest)

PS: Thanks to Sucheendra for the translation of this beautiful Extract.

Is this a dream?

Flowers, oh flowers, is this a dream?
Mountains, oh mountains, is this a memory?

My heart melts away, My eyes tear up (in happiness),
I see you in those skies, I see you all over the earth,
For you are the Apple of my eye.

Opening the clouds, descending to the earth,
Come hide in my heart, come, come
If I hide in the heart, Cupid’s arrow could strike,
Instead, shall I hide in the curls of your hair?

Is my hair the (learning) place for my hero to sleep?
In the age of adorning flowers, is it fair to forget me?
Not a moment passes without thinking of you, my loving rathi
Just saying your name is enough for the river of love to stall and part to give way..
My life is in your breathe, Your words are in my speech..
Oh my life, come let’s live for five or six centuries together

If flowers had tongue, if the breeze could speak,
They would speak of love and love only..
If the Moon knew Tamil, if the waves knew languages,
They would write poetry on us and spread it all around..
Life is in the ascent with you, my colorful moon..

Like the blue in the sky, this relationship has blended into one..
Even at times without sleep, I’m dreaming of you..
Like the body and the soul, our bond has been united..
Won’t forget your tunes.. Won’t part my flesh..
I’ll live on for you, Oh my life, come..

Another beautiful melody in the combination of Vairamuthu and AR Rahman which makes the song a delight to hear the music as well as be drowned in the words.. The song’s video is available over here!

Are you my friend or foe?!

Oh my dear love, Oh my dear love,
What are you going to do to me?
Even after knowing that I am an artist,
Why do you ask for my eyes?

Crucifixion or Wings,
which of these are you going to give me?
After having caused the pain,
Why do you stand afar and watch?

Love, when you throw a flower,
Any mountain would melt a little.
Love, when you throw a pebble,
Any ocean would be disturbed a little.

Now am I to recover or fall through?
Live life or leave life?
Is this the elixir or the poison?
Or is this the elixir and poison in one?

Love, I worshipped you,
By falling at your feet;
but, you closed your eyes,
and I wailed inconsolably.

Is this a good change or a faltering?
Is there a mist accumulating in my heart?
Is this a daily conflict within me to decipher
if you are my friend or foe?


The details of the song and the video is available over here! How could I convince you to listen to the song, because this song finds place in all my playlists and of course I love it.. 😉

The endless search!

For a thing known not to be found…
a true search has begun to try and find it…

Come, let us search and exhaust the options..

Oh Love that drench my heart like a rain! Where did you end up falling?
Even before my eyes looked at you, did you hide under the soil?
Is it possible to find you searching tirelessly, in my lifetime?
Are you okay seeing me walking ablaze with your thoughts?
Oh girl! do you even have a memory of me in your heart?
For the life I lived and for the days I’m going to live,
You are the reason, come to me my life!

A tear drop slowly parted away and dropped from my eyes, Why?
A star in the sky suddenly sobbed shedding tears, See!
Few moments had slipped through my fingers,
I register my love for you again to imprison and capture back those moments!

A search has begun. A true search (can be interpreted as search for a person) has begun.

Like an ocean wishing to fill itself into a conch,
My soul wishes to engulf my body, See!

Come Love… Come my Life!


There are not many songs that have me hooked at the first instance.. And even rare are those songs, that stay so, even after years around a decade..

Though most of those songs are from few long decades back, this is a song from the past decade.

The search for love is almost as ancient as love. And the theme is taken up for dissection and wrapped back with various wordings all through the age.

So this song starts saying that this is indeed a search pursued by many to return empty handed, yet the search continues.

The most important reason that holds this song in the top list is the words used.

The misery of love-struck tears are expressed in many ways. Here, the tear doesn’t fall off itself in an impulse. But it was agonisingly slow and the impact is too high. High enough to impact one of the stars in the sky to gently sob..

The poet mentions the damsel as the rain that drench him with love and he asks her, how could you accept me burning ablaze with your thoughts.. What a beautiful contradiction!

Note: Thanks to Pradeep for the beautiful translation of this song!

P.S. Further details of the song are available here.

What next, yes or no?

For the craze that was dazed with the sound,
With the blood that was oozed from the war of love,
I have written a sonnet, my friend,
Read it away, if you’ve the eyes for it..

What is seen with the eyes,
What is seen in the hind legs,
What is seen in you as the bride,
What is seen by being afar and behind,
Will not be forgotten by the heart, even if it’s burnt..
I’ve not said everything, as even the (literally rich) Tamizh lacks words to describe it!

Neither
By admonishing nor
By cursing me nor
By punishing the heart nor
By severing the head
Would my love gets drained!
Rather bid me to eat fire,
And I would consume it!

Either say yes or
Kill by asking to stop;
Either summon me or
Kill by sending me away;
It’s heaven in earth in your nod
And the cemetery is nearer on your no!


This is a translation from the recital in the album Duet.

The beauty of poetry is better appreciated when it’s actually read out aloud with proper intonation. The recital of this poetry is one amidst the top list.. Everything is so perfect and I hope I’ve done justice to the poetry with my translation.

Do check here to hear the audio!

Is this Inspiration or Imagiantion?!

Full moon would be her face
Jasmine would be her fragrance
Lightning would be her eyes
Silence would be her language
Dew drops of winter would be voice
Deer calf of the fragrant forests would be her walks

I saw her one day and
asked for her heart as boon
She did give but immediately took it back and went away!

She is indeed the island of the sea, untouched hitherto,
In its fragrant sands, I wished to be a floral shrub..

She is indeed the melody, unforgettable after hearing,
Even after understanding the stanzas, I stood in silence..

She being one shore, and me being the other shore,
In between gushes the river of solitude..

Is it possible for the hands to fish in the waters of mirage?
The time stands testament to the happenings of the present..

She comes along with peace,
And I grasped her fingers..
The journey continued while witnessing the many rainbows along the path..

As sleep caressed my head, I rested under a tree..
When I woke up, she wasn’t there and the minute turned bitter..

She was by my side, in that minute,
She appeared afar, in the next minute..
She runs like the false-deer that eludes the vision..

Between me and her, a screen stood opposing,
When mask is worn, would the faces be visible?


This is my translation of a song from the movie Jodhaa Akbar, released in 2008. The details about the song is available over here along with the tamil verse.

This song caught my attention with its music, for it is so soothing and pleasant to hear. This song is always in the top 5 of my most played track list. The reason it is there is just not for the music or the voice. But the lyrics.

The hero gets besotted by the beauty of his new wife. She is near yet so far in heart. He yearns for her. And this song is what transcribes his emotions.

The reason the lyrics stands close to me is the closeness of this song to the John Keats’ song La Belle Dame sans Merci

Below  is the complete song: 

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel’s granary is full,
And the harvest’s done.

I see a lily on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever-dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful, a fairy’s child;
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She looked at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan

I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
A faery’s song.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna-dew,
And sure in language strange she said—
‘I love thee true’.

She took me to her Elfin grot,
And there she wept and sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild, wild eyes
With kisses four.

And there she lullèd me asleep,
And there I dreamed—Ah! woe betide!—
The latest dream I ever dreamt
On the cold hill side.

I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried—‘La Belle Dame sans Merci
Hath thee in thrall!’

I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gapèd wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill’s side.

And this is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

Both are very beautiful songs as stand alone. They both are in different genres, yet they both have some common elements and that’s what I link and like between them.

The mysterious girl;
Her beautiful features,
Her love for him,
Him, wanting to serve her,
The feeling of elation in being with her,
She lulling him to sleep,
Him waking into harsh reality,
From the dream of the dreamy girl,
His lament to reach her..

Now all I wonder about the first song is whether it is an inspired imagination or just imagination by two individuals in the same way!

What I wish to be!

Oh bamboo forests!
Oh songs hummed by bees!
Oh dear falls, that splatters drops
Of water into the far away peaks!

Born in the laps of nature,
How to live by losing heart?
I’m vexed of being human,
I wanna roam and fly as a bird!

 

The red lotus that blooms in the mud;
Smells not of the mud, but of its own life!
The trees don’t hate, even when roots are cut;
It showers flowers even on the root-cutting rivers!

Won’t I change into lotus?
To achieve the purpose of this birth;
Won’t I change into tree?
To attain serenity in this human life;
Won’t I become a dew drop?
To be relished by the sunny ray or a bunny!

 

Even when clouds are formed from salty oceans;
It never ever rains back with saltwater!
Even when the sun falls down over the mountains;
It extends its life by lighting the moon!

Won’t I change as clouds?
To achieve the greatness of its character;
Won’t I change into Sun?
To rule the world with my light;
Won’t I become rain drop?
To live beyond birth and death!


This song has a beautiful music which adds the feel to the lyrics and pretty good visualisation too.

This song is one of my all time favourites and which never fails to lift up my mood and provide some sanity to my life. As the translation tries to bring out the essence of this song, I can’t think of anything, to add more to this heart-warming song..

So What is the favourite part of this song??

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