Wednesday, October 17, 2007

When conversation ceases

My current favorite song is Paravaiye Engu Irukkirai from the movie Kattradhu Tamil. Ilayaraja's haunting voice is pitch perfect for the song and Na. Muthukumar's lyrics are sentimental without being mushy. You can hear the song here and read the lyrics in Tamil here.

I wanted to translate the stanza that stayed with me long after hearing the song. But the song is so well written, that I decided only a professional can do justice to it. So I asked a published poet to do the translation for me. As expected, she has done a far better job than I could have done.

உன்னோடு நானும்.. போகின்ற பாதை
இது நீளாதோ, தொடுவானம் போலவே
கதை பேசிக்கொண்டே.. வா.. காற்றோடு போவோம்
உரையாடல் தீர்ந்தாலும்.. உன் மெளனங்கள் போதும்
இந்த புல்பூண்டும் பறவையும் நாமும் போதாதா..
இனி பூலோகம் முழுதும் அழகாய் போகாதா

Won't this path stretch like the sky
as we walk together
Come, tell me tales
we will go with the breeze
When conversation ceases
Your silence will suffice .
This meadow, these birds and us-
won't the world be beautiful.

Translator - Lalita Mukherjea.


Ravages/CC said...

Ok. This is like dangling a rather large juicy carrot, or well, a large frothing cup of coffee in my eyes.

One bit I would have so liked the published poet to translate is the thing about தொடுவானம் - Horizon.
Such a super line that one - a path that extends infinitely, just like the horizon.

Here goes:

Hand in hand, you and I.

Find us a path, that stretches
infinite. Off to the horizon,
on winds we ride. Talking, whispering, tales
that never die.

(Okay. this line, in Tamil, is brilliant)
When words die, I will listen to your silence. You and I, the birds and greens. Is the world beautiful? Oh yes!

(Not as good as I thought I could. Damn!)

Lalita said...

Dear CCG,

The first thing I said, ad libbing, when Chenthil sent me stanza and transliteration was:

Won't the world be beautiful, if you walk along this path with me, chatting? We will walk to the blue horizon, talking and then your silence can accompany me. Like the grasses and birds, won't the world be beautiful?

The chatting came up because of Bengali influence, where katha bawla is to speak, utter words. It made me think of tales only after consideration and chagrin. Then the horizon somehow got lost, though 'thodu vaanam' evokes horizon to me.

Then I mulled over it more, and that was the badly punctuated result, I had no idea Chenthil meant to post it.

And it is a beautiful line, about 'uraiyaadal theerndaalum un mounangal podhum'.

Will it work if I said 'Won't this path stretch to where sky touches earth'?

Lalita said...

And lay off about the published poet thing, both of you. It is ancient history. I am a tired and a retired poet only, these days.

Ravages/CC said...

Still, you are Published. And a Poet.

Yes, path stretching to where sky touches earth is good, but too, um, literal, no?

(And oh, I am still liking your translation - the one Chenthil posted. I couldn't help having a go at translation myself.)

What say, one more round of translation?

Anonymous said...

It's a rather loose translation. It's a pity not to begin the way the verse does, with "unnodu naanum", the mutuality of "kathai pesikondai" is missing in "tell me tales", muzhuvathum was omitted, ithyathi, ithyathi.

Being published-ku enna mathippu!

That aside, I wonder if the echo of Eliot was intentional or a sound effect imposed by my own over-Englished brain.

Anonymous said...

Oh to be young an be in love all over again.

Ram N said...

people dissect / disagree this piece ....

But to me the it was a brilliant piece of work in both Tamizh & English to read at the 1st go ....

let the flow carry on ...

Lalita said...

@CCG-You want one more round of translation, you get one more round, so there.:-)

This path you and I are walking on
Won't it stretch to touch the sky?
Come, tell me tales
We will go with the breeze
When conversation ceases
Your silence will suffice
This meadow these birds and us-
Won't the world be beautiful