Saturday, June 28, 2008

Vallamai Tharaayo

My interest in tamil poetry stems primarily out of Bharatiyaar lyrics I learnt as songs that my Sir expained beautifully in trying to make us feel "it" and express the emotion when we sang them.
Hampered greatly by my limited knowledge of the literary style of the language (some will argue that my spoken style isn't great shakes either....though I vehemently disagree!), I find that other stuff takes me forever to comprehend.
Anyway, I am going to rave in this post about one of Bharatiyaar's most famous songs, engraved in the collective conscience of tamil movie audiences by a despodent looking Kamal Hassan singing it in Varumaiyin niram sigappu. Nalladhir Veenai seidhe is a wonderful song that is essentially devotional. Bharathi asks the goddess Sivasakthi to grant him some "things" and what is most striking is not just the "things" he asks for but the tone , which is almost as if he demands that she give him what he is asking for.
nalladhor veenai seidhe - adhai
nalam keda puzhidhiyil erivadhundo ?
solladi sivasakthi - ennai sudarmigum
arivudan padaithuvittai
Having made a beatiful Veena-
would you throw it to dust and let it rot?
Tell me oh Sivasakthi-
Why have you bestowed me with sparkling wisdom?
vallamai thaaraayo - intha
maanilam payanura vaazhvatharke
solladi sivasakthi -
nilachumayena vaazhnthida puriguvayo ?
Give (me) skill so this society
may live a fruitful life
Would you rather, Oh Sivasakthi ,
that they spent it being a burden to the land they tread?
visaiyaru pandhinai pol - ullam
vendiyapadi sellum udal kaettenn
asaiyuru manam ketten - nitham
navamena sudar tharum uyir kaetten
I ask for a body that does the bidding of my soul
much like a ball
I ask for a clean heart and a spirit that is kindled
anew each day
dasayinai thee chudinum
siva sakthiyai paadum nal agam kaeten
asaivaru mathi kaetten - ivai
arulvathil unakkaethum thadaiyullatho ?
I ask to be able to sing your praise
in the most difficult times (when my skin is on fire)
I ask for unshakeable wisdom
Tell me Oh sivasakthi- what stops you from bestowing on me all this?
I love how it starts...ok I love it all. The imagery is so powerful and I think thats what makes most of his poetry so inspirational. Here its almost as if he is chiding the Goddess. He says - Does it make any sense to you that someone would put all that energy into crafting this beautiful Veena and then just throw it in dust? Well if that doesn't make sense to you then all this energy you have put into creating this beatiful Veena that is the human form is a waste if you don't also give me all these other things. Without them , my existence is a burden on this land.
And then after a long list of things he wants, in one sentence he summarises the pride he feels in this human form, the admiration he feels for the almighty that crafted it and his perception of the enormity and omniscient presence of this entity when he says "What stops you from granting me all this?" meaning that while all this will enhance my already beautiful form so that I will also be useful to myself and others....I don't see how you could have missed it...you my creator, you who knows everything and you, for who this new list of demands is not a big deal.
While higher being like Bharathi have more abstract demands, all I am asking for at this point is the will to keep awake and not goof off :)

8 comments:

Lahari said...

Hi Misha,
a very good translation... I enjoyed reading it
Hey kannuku therunchithu,there is a small typo in "Nalladhir" Veenai seidhe, Nalladhor nu mathidungale...

Lavanya

Arun said...

அன்புள்ள மிஷா,

நல்ல பதிவு! மேற்கொண்டு எழுதவும்!

//Anyway, I am going to rave in this post about one of Bharatiyaar's most famous songs, engraved in the collective conscience//

You meant to say, 'collective consciousness', I guess. :)

//by a despodent looking Kamal Hassan singing it in Varumaiyin niram sigappu. Nalladhir Veenai seidhe is a wonderful song//

சற்று குழப்பத்தில் இருக்கிறீர்களென்று நினைக்கிறேன்! :)

வறுமையின் நிறம் சிவப்பு ('சிகப்பு' அன்று; 'சிவப்பு') திரைப்படம் சரி தான். ஆனால், அதில் நீங்கள் குறிப்பிட நினைக்கும் பாடல் இதுவல்ல என்றே நினைக்கிறேன்.

நீங்கள் சொல்வது போல், (கமல்ஹாசன் உயிர் கொடுத்த) ரங்கன் கதாபாத்திரம் சோர்வாகப் பாடும் பாரதி பாடல் கீழ்வருமாறு:

தீர்த்தக் கரையினிலே தெற்கு மூலையில் செண்பகத் தோட்டத்திலே
பார்த்திருந்தால் வருவேன் வெண்ணிலாவிலே பாங்கியோடென்று சொன்னாய்
வார்த்தை தவறி விட்டாயடி கண்ணம்மா மார்பு துடிக்குதடி
பார்த்தவிடத்திலெல்லாம் உன்னைப் போலவே பாவை தெரியுதடி


நீங்கள் மொழிபெயர்த்திருக்கும் பாடல் அப்படத்தில் பூர்ணம் விஸ்வநாதன், டெல்லியில், சங்கீத மேடையில் பாடுவது போல் அமைக்கப்பெற்றது.

தங்கள் பதிவில் 'nalladhir' என்று வந்திருக்கிறது; திருத்தி விடவும்.

அன்புடன்,
அருண்.

Arun said...

To add:

தங்கள் மொழிபெயர்ப்பிலிருந்து இங்கு நான் சற்று மாறுபடுகிறேன்.

//
vallamai thaaraayo - intha
maanilam payanura vaazhvatharke
solladi sivasakthi -
nilachumayena vaazhnthida puriguvayo ?

Give (me) skill so this society
may live a fruitful life
Would you rather, Oh Sivasakthi ,
that they spent it being a burden to the land they tread?

//


"வல்லமை (எனக்குத்) தாராயோ - இந்த
மாநிலம் பயனுற (நான்) வாழ்வதற்கே" என்பதே பொருத்தமாகத் தோன்றுகிறது.

So,

"Bestow on me the necessary might so that I could lead a life whereby this society benefits" would be a more appropriate translation. The focus, here, is not on the society being able to lead a fruitful life. (Of course, I was only concentrating on capturing the ideological essence, here, and not the poetic spirit. You may want to rephrase it accordingly.)

You may note that this idea goes well with the image presented in the first line of the poem: Just as a beautiful veena (capable of producing excellent music) left idle to gather dust amounts to wasted creative endeavour, so also, a man such as himself blessed with such sparkling wisdom, must not be wasting his life idly but instead must do things that benefit the society, ultimately.

The next couple of lines, again, have the focus centred on Bharati himself:

Would you rather, Oh Sivasakthi,
that I spent it being a burden to the land I tread?

You see what I mean?

அன்புடன்,
அருண்.

Arun said...

பார்க்க:

தீர்த்தக் கரையினிலே

நல்லதோர் வீணை செய்தே (01:28 அளவில் பாடல் துவங்குகிறது; 04:45 அளவில் பூர்ணம் விஸ்வநாதன் மேடையில் பாடும் காட்சி வருகிறது.)

மேலும்,

//asaiyuru manam ketten//

அது "நசையறு மனம் கேட்டேன்" என்று நினைக்கிறேன்; சரிபார்க்கவும்.

அன்புடன்,
அருண்.

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Thulasi Kakkat said...

miss you

Arun Kumar said...

hey. Awesome work. I have heard of this song, but I have never read it..

A small suggestion: I think it would be good to have, in addition to the transliteration and translation, the lyrics in Tamil too. I just feel it keeps the feel intact.

Bharathiyar is a great poet, and a lot of people would have got to read about this song through your post. Great!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading your blog. Pity tis dormant now, do come back with more Tamil Poetry translations!

N