Monday, June 30, 2014

Digha (1957-nagad)

This (below) is a prose-poem in Bangla (Bengali).  An English translation follows below the Bangla verses.
A brief explanation of the (phonetic) Roman transcription used here can be found at:

Bharot Xadhin
Digha used to be, in the 1950's, a small coastal town or fishing village in the southwestern Medinipur (Midnapore) district of Bengal, when it began to find favor, among the Bengali Babus of Calcutta, as a sea-side resort.  My paternal grandfather hailed from a small village in that district.  The more popular places, at the time, for those seeking the beaches, were further south, along the coast of Orissa (now Od'isha), with Puri and Gopalpur being common destinations.
Digha (1957-nagad)
Digha beach, Medinipur, W. Bengal -- fishermen with net 
 image source:

Mone po`re chot'o be`lar ko`tha,
go`romer chut'ir xuru –
t'hakurda, t'hakurmar xo`nge
t'rene base core, dokkhine bhro`mon...

Dupurer khat'a rode, po~uchulam Dighae.
Jinix-po`ttor nie, he~t'e he~t'e, elam
chot'o e`k barite, jekhane thakbo kichudin...

Bikele, amra chot'ora agrohe gelam

Xal-bone, bali-d'haka po`th.
Tai die hat'lam, edik-odik dekhe.
Boichilo, xito`l jolo haoa.
D'al-pata gaichilo gan...
Dure, xomudrer gobhir go`rjon...

Kromoxe barlo xei aoaj.
Chot'o buke, jaglo bho`e.
Hat dhore, t'ipi-t'ipi coli...

Xal-boner xexe, xada balir d'hipi.
Kothao-kothao, bono ghax,
balir theke u~ki mere ut'he,
dulche bataxe.

D'hipir opor core, ho`tat dekhlam, xamne
je`no e`k birat' lo`mba de-al...

Po`re bujhlam, xet'a
axole xomudro-digon`nto-akax.

Bixxo`e, cokh bo`r'o-bo`r'o kore,
cup hoe dekhlam amra to`khon
je drixxo dekhini ko`khono age –
bixal Bo`ngopoxagor...

Tar tire, bhangche d'heu...
Xamne, ublono xada phe`na...
Dure, xari-xari d'heuer rekha
coleche dur digo`nte.

Bho`e-bho`e egulam amra.
Paer nice bheja bali,
xamuker t'ukro...
Chott'o ka~kra chut'che bege –
d'ube ge`lo, mone holo, phe`nar nice...

Nil akaxer nice, xomudrer d'aker paxe,
darie roilam to`khon.  D'heuer opor
d'ana mele urchilo pakhi...
Xomudrer tibro haoa
boichilo, kapor-camra cepe...

Go`romer chut'ir xurute,
Kolkatar bhir-dho~a-dhulo-mo`ela theke,
xei bixal xomudrer tire exe,
pou~chulam je`no, ei groho chere,
kono-e`k xo`rgo-jo`gote...

30-e Jun, 2014
Bruklin, No`bo Io`rk

Digha (around 1957)

Digha beach, Medinipur, W. Bengal -- fishermen with net  
image source:

I remember childhood days –
at the start of the summer holidays –
traveling south, by train and bus,
with my grandad and grandma

on my father's side...

We reached Digha around noon, with the sun beating down.
Carrying our things, we walked till we reached
a small cottage, where we'd be staying for awhile...

Later, in the afternoon, we small ones
went looking, eagerly, for the sea...

We walked through the pine-woods –
along a sandy path, glancing all around.
A sea-breeze was blowing through the woods,
strumming on the branches and leaves, setting them to song.
In the distance, we heard the deep growling of the sea...

That ominous sound grew as we walked.
We felt afraid.
Holding hands, we tip-toed along...

At the end of the pine-woods – a dune of white sand.
Here and there, wild grasses,
peeking up from the sands,
dancing in the breeze...

Climbing up on the dune, we saw, of a sudden,
what appeared to be a great, long wall...

Later, we came to realize that this
was the sea, the horizon and the sky.

With eyes wide with amajement,
we silently looked out upon
what we had never seen before –
the vastness of the Bay of Bengal...

On its shore, the waves were breaking.

Near to us, the roiling white foam – 
In the rear, line upon line of waves,
reaching to the distant horizon...

Timidly, we walked towards the sea.
Below our feet
the wet sand,
pieces of sea-shells...

a tiny crab, racing along,
that seemed to drown beneath advancing foam...

We stood there on that beach,
beneath the sky, beside the calling sea,
as sea-birds spread their wings above the waves
and the strong sea-breeze blew against our clothes and skin.

At the start of the summer vacation,
escaping from the city's crowds, smoke, dust and filth,
arriving at the pristine shores of this vast sea,
it seemed that we had left our planet and
had reached a paradise.

2014, June 30th
Brooklyn, New York    

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