Couple of translations

Haven’t written anything in these pages in a long long time. On a whim re-translated these two English poems. Here you go,

1. Where the mind is without fear by Rabindranath Tagore

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action …
Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake.

ಎಲ್ಲಿ ಬುದ್ಧಿಗಿಲ್ಲವೊ ಭಯವು ಎಲ್ಲಿ ತಲೆ ಎತ್ತಿ ಇರುವಲ್ಲಿ;
ಎಲ್ಲಿ ಅರಿವಿಗಿಲ್ಲವೊ ಬೇಲಿ;
ಎಲ್ಲಿ ಜಗ ಒಡೆದಿಲ್ಲವೊ ಮನೆ ಮನೆಯ ಕಿರು ಗೋಡೆಗಳ ನಡುವೆ;
ಎಲ್ಲಿ ನುಡಿಯು ಹೊರಡುವುದೊ ನನ್ನಿಯ ನಡುವಿಂದ;
ಎಲ್ಲಿ ದಣಿಯದ ದುಡಿತ ಕೈ ಚಾಽಽಚುವುದೊ ಕೈವಲ್ಯದೆಡೆಗೆ;
ಎಲ್ಲಿ ತಿಳಿವಿನ ತೊರೆ ಕಳೆದಿಲ್ಲವೊ ಒಣ ರೂಢಿಗಳ ಮರಳುಗಾಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ;
ಎಲ್ಲಿ ಬುದ್ಧಿಯನು ಮುನ್ನಡೆಸುವೆಯೊ ನೀ ಸತತ ಬೆಳೆಯುವ ಭಾವದಲಿ ನಡೆಯಲ್ಲಿ;
ಅಲ್ಲಿ, ಆ ಸ್ವಾತಂತ್ರ್ಯದ ಸ್ವರ್ಗದಲ್ಲಿ, ತಂದೇ, ನನ್ನ ದೇಶವು ಏಳಲೇಳಲಿ.


To whom I owe the leaping delight
That quickens my senses in our wakingtime
And the rhythm that governs the repose of our sleepingtime,
the breathing in unison.
Of lovers whose bodies smell of each other
Who think the same thoughts without need of speech,
And babble the same speech without need of meaning…

No peevish winter wind shall chill
No sullen tropic sun shall wither
The roses in the rose-garden which is ours and ours only

But this dedication is for others to read:
These are private words addressed to you in public

ಋಣಿ ನಾನವಳಿಗೆ,
ನಮ್ಮ ಎಚ್ಚರದಲೆನ್ನ ಕರಣಗಳನುತ್ತೇಜಿಸುವ
ನನ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಪುಟಿಯುವಾನಂದದ ಸೆಲೆಗಾಗಿ
ನಮ್ಮ ಶಾಂತ ನಿದ್ರೆಯನು ಕಾಪಿಡುವ
ಉಸಿರಾಟಗಳ ಏಕ ಲಯಕ್ಕಾಗಿ

ಪ್ರೇಮಿಗಳು ನಾವ್ಸೂಸುವ ಪರಸ್ಪರ ಮೈ ಕಂಪಿಗಾಗಿ
ಆಡದೆಯೂ ಆಲೋಚನೆಗಳು ಅವೇ ಆಗುವ ಪರಿಗಾಗಿ,
ಅಂತೆ, ಅರ್ಥಗಳ ಹಂಗಿಲ್ಲದ ಅವೇ ಮಾತುಗಳಿಗಾಗಿ…

ಬಿರು ಚಳಿಯ ಗಾಳಿ ಶೋಷಿಸಲಾಗದ
ಉರಿ ಬಿಸಿಲ ಸೂರ್ಯ ಬಾಡಿಸಲಾಗದ
ಗುಲಾಬಿ ಹೂವುಗಳ ತೋಟ ನಮ್ಮದು; ಕೇವಲ ನಮ್ಮದು

ಆದರೀ ಅರ್ಪಣೆಯು ಪರರ ಓದಿಗಾಗಿ:
ಎದೆಯ ಮಾತುಗಳಿವು ನಿನಗೆ ಹೇಳಿದವು ಎಲ್ಲರೆದುರಿನಲ್ಲಿ


इन्सान के रूप मे देवता या…

Happened to watch parts of ‘Kabhie Kabhie’ and ‘Veer-Zara’ yesterday, courtesy recent sign up to the NetFlix. It was interesting to see same/similar dialogue in both the movies.

Vijay Khanna (Shashi Kapoor) has just found out that the ‘Kabhie Kabhie’, the book of shayari presented by Amit was in fact inspired by none other than his wife Pooja. He knows now that Amit and Pooja were in love once upon a time. He is hurt and the extrovert that he is, talks straight from the heart. Within no time he says ‘लालत है तुम पर विजय खन्ना तुम तो बडे छोटे आद्मी निकले’ He is not going to blame his wife of 20 years, who has showered her love on him, borne his child and made hi home. He is even magnanimous enough to say ‘हमारे बीवि हैही इतने हसीन के उस पे प्यार हो जाये.’ A visibly moved Pooja (Rakhi) is crying when they get home. She says to Vijay, ‘क्या तुम इन्सान के रूप मे देवता हो या देवता के रूप में इन्सान?’

In veer-zara it is the lawyer Saamiya Siddiqui uttering the line, ‘ये किस जमाने के लोग है। क्या ये खुदा के रूप मे इन्सान है या इन्सान के रूप में खुदा?’ This she is saying about Veer who spends 22 years in a jail in Pakistan so that Zaara’s world is not rocked by him and Zaara has spent the same 22 years living in Veer’s house in India to fulfill his dream. They don’t know what they are doing for each other! Zaara things Veer is dead and she’s doing all she can to keep his dream alive. He’s spending his time behind bars in Zaara’s country and Zaara is keeping Veer’s dream alive in his country.

I had seen Veer-Zaara before and didn’t like it much then. But somehow it touched more this time around, even though I only watched the later half of it. Hearing the identical dialogue in both movies made me wonder if that was some kind of a theme Yash Chopra had in building his characters. He sure was way ahead of his time in the kind of stories he gave to the Hindi cinema. His earlier movies though had much bolder theme than the newer ones. However the human element, conflicts and the way characters deal with conflicts is very well captured in all his movies and that probably was his strength.

Found this interesting interview of Yash Chopra on Kabhie Kabhie by Karan Johar. Yet to listen to it..

The story that turned into wind…

There was a kid who loved to listen to a story every night before going to bed. One night he was so distracted that he was doing everything very slowly. His dad was already waiting for him in the bedroom with a story, but the kid was still away brushing his teeth, very slowly!

Finally the kid was done with his chores and he stepped into the bedroom. As he came in, he heard a sound ‘whoosh…’ He didn’t care as he hopped on the bed and asked his Dad to tell him a story.

‘Oh didn’t you hear that sound?’

‘Which sound? The whoosh sound?’

‘Yes, that sound. That was the sound of the story! It turned into wind and went out the window!’


‘Yes, it was such a wonderful story, it had nice cars, roads, beautiful gardens filled with ponds and ducks. It even had prince and princess with their galloping horses’

‘They all just turned into wind and went out the window? whoosh.. ?’


‘Yes, I was holding them all for you. They waited for you and grew impatient. They said they will go.’

and they went?

‘I didn’t let them go easily. I asked them to wait. I said you are almost here. initially they listened to me. But when you didn’t come for long time they started to go’

like whoosh.. ?

Yes, those beautiful cars and the roads, slipped through my fingers and went whoosh.. The horses and the ducks, the gardens, the prince and the princess.. all of them, just turned into wind and ‘whoosh’ they went out the window..

just when I came into the bed room?

Yes 😦 May be if you came little bit early they would be still here.. May be tomorrow they will all come back.. sleep now. Good night!

and he slept without story?

Yes! Good night. Come to bed on time tomorrow OK?

OK. Tell me the story tomorrow night. Good night.

(Story within a story I came up with for my son. Didn’t how and why it came like this to my mind, but by the time I finished the story, I remembered the line ‘gALi hELida kate..’ I forget if that’s a line from Jogi’s story or one of Jogi’s story itself.

Next night I had to make up a new story that came through the window as wind to the Dad, who heard it and told it :-))

IPL finals and the induced gyan!

Yesterday I ended up watching the IPL 2013 final’s final 5 overs. CSK was eight down with Dhoni and Ashwin at the crease when I started watching. Dhoni being the best finisher in the game I thought this would be the ideal platform for him to prove his captain cool tag one more time. I did wonder why he chose to come 7th down though. The last time I watched cricket for this long was when Dhoni played the captains knock in the T-20 world cup, I forget how many years back it was.. may be it’s time for another T-20 world cup already 🙂

Eventually Ashwin got out and overs were over as well. Dhoni was cool and cleared the boundary line a few times to bring down the difference and dent the bowling figures a bit.. other than that it was Mumbai Indians time to celebrate their first ever IPL victory and Tendulkar to declare that the 6 year wait for finally over and add as a matter of fact, that this was his last IPL.

All this has happened on Sunday and probably everyone else has moved on to other things by now.. why the heck am I still writing about all the known things again, this late that too 🙂

Well, just using this post to record couple of observations,

1. The MI had effectively won the match by the time last over had started. They all knew it. Glee was on their faces and spring in their steps. But they still had to go through the motions. Bowl those remaining balls and only then can they let out the victory cry and start the real celebrations. Until then, enjoy the feeling, but keep the cool and actually finish the game! Pollard even managed to bowl a wide on the last ball 🙂

Watching this, for some strange reason, reminded me what I had read about ‘jeevanmuktas.’ Those are the great souls who have done all that is needed to achieve mukti or the salvation. They are guaranteed of it, but they have to wait. They have to spend time and experience the ‘praarabdha karma’ before they attain actually get the mukti. Now my understanding of ‘jeevanmukta’ or the term ‘jeevanmukta’ may not be the right term to describe the great souls who have reached that stage, but I do remember reading something similar. I think Sri Madhwacharya even says that the ‘ananda’ experienced by these souls will be enhanced in mukti by these deeds they do even after they are ensured of their salvation. Felt good to have had this thought occur to me while watching the IPL game. Where is this game of IPL and where is the salvation? Where is the mango tree and where is the koel (ಎತ್ತಣ ಮಾಮರ ಎತ್ತಣ ಕೋಗಿಲೆ)? But then, didn’t Sri Madhwacharya say that this jagat is satya and the experiences in this jagat are satya? Nothing goes waste!

2. When the IPL trophy was handed over to the MI team, there were a few waiting to hold up the trophy and pose for the photograph with the team. Sachin Tendulkar wasn’t one of them. He was just standing to the side, almost out of the frame. Just in time, Bhajji gestures to him and actually pulls a hesitant Tendulkar towards the trophy and makes sure he lifts the trophy. I thought that was sweet of Bhajji and equally sweet of Tendulkar to try and be a bystander and let the captain and other youngsters shine in the limelight.

Into Thin Air

I read this book few years back and was struck by two things, the magnitude of the struggle Everest climbers endure and the real tragedy on the Everest in 1996. John Krakauer has done a wonderful job of recreating – in words – his Everest climbing experience and the horrors of that fateful day. He takes us through his preparations, the eventual climb, his feelings as he climbed and his feelings at the top of the world. He opens the book with the description of his physical condition and the mental state when he was at the top of the world. The harsh reality of the twenty nine thousand feet climb is revealed right at the start, in your face. With that opening, he takes us on a breathtaking journey.

I think I was reading that book in 2008 (read it 2009 looks like). When I was mid way through the book and around the point of reading the tragic parts, heard the news of torrential rains and the never seen before floods in the Northern Karnataka regions. It was beyond anyone’s imagination. The story in the book, the tragedy unfolding at the moment and relative calm of my surroundings in which I was reading about the two events struck a chord with this quote from the book. There have been many occasions since then when I have remembered this quote. The message of this quote has stayed with me and it always seems so much true.

I distrust summaries, any kind of gliding through times, any too great a claim that one is in control of what one recounts; I think someone who claims to understand but is obviously calm, someone who claims to write with emotion recollected in tranquility, is a fool and a liar. To understand is to tremble. To recollect is to re-enter and be riven…. I admire the authority of being on one’s knees in front of the event.

Harold Brodkey – “Manipulations”

(Watched the movie Into Thin Air today and was reminded of this quote. Hence the short post in the blog. Usually I don’t watch the movies based on the books that I have read. Somehow I saw the movie today. Liked it. Obviously not as detailed as the book, but covered the tragedy part in detail and overall does justice to the story)

Why bring in freedom of expression?

Cartoons in text books? Hmm.. that must be new! We never had any cartoons in our Karnataka state syllabus text books. I was really surprised to read about this Ambedkar cartoon row in NCERT books. IIRC, the NCERT books have always been colorful and attractive. Now they have cartoons too? I had to find out, so did what I always do to find out, Googled it. Found this link which complained that the particular NCERT book in question could be still be seen online. Followed that link and not so surprisingly, the book could still be seen on the link referred to there.

Going through the text in there, I see the context in which the cartoon is inserted. This is not the only cartoon in that chapter. There is another cartoon about Nehru, one about EU and two more about Iraqi constitution. With each of the cartoon there are some questions about what the cartoon conveys. Overall the cartoons seem to have been used effectively to present an opinion and invite the young-adults (these are class-11 kids remember?) to ponder over the opinion expressed and finally, to form their own opinions. The subtext to this particular cartoon in the book could have been better. It essentially says that the constitution forming was going on at ‘snail’s pace’ and only after that asks the questions. Proper context to that may be available in the details, but who reads that first? It’s the cartoon that everyone looks at first.

Many a blogs and web articles been written on this. I’m surprised at the mention of ‘Freedom of Expression‘ in this context. Whether cartoons should be part of school textbooks could have been the issue debated. Instead what we see is this debate on the ‘Freedom of Expression’! If you don’t see anything wrong with that cartoon being there in the textbook, don’t go on arguing about freedom of expression of the cartoonist. Instead, argue on the basis of why (and how), that particular cartoon enhances the learning for the kids. You have a chance to win the debate. If you go on ranting about the freedom of expression, you will loose.  For, the term freedom of expression has been used and abused. While it is important to preserve the freedom of expression, it is also important to recognize the stage where it can be used. An adult is free to smoke or drink on his own volition, but he (or she) can’t advocate the same in school textbooks, can he(/she)? Under the guise of freedom of expression one can bring in any cartoon (or anything for that matter) into school textbooks!

I have read few articles on this and this one from Prajavani seem to be the better one. It covers the context of the cartoon in the textbook as well as the historical context.

(Looking at the book, i think it is a good idea to use cartoons in school textbooks, as long as textbooks remain textbooks and not look like dummy’s guides 🙂 )