Monday, November 24, 2008

Nanhi Pujaarin

My parents came and stayed with us for a period of 3 weeks and it was good. During their stay we covered quiet a bit of this beautiful island country. One such trip was to Nuwara Eliya, the beautiful hill-station city famous for its tea-estates.

Amongst many other pleasurable experience of the trip was the good quality of tea available at the smallest of the joints. The long and winding roads stretching across the hills and clouds were full of tiny shops selling plain-tea some eats. At one such shop where we had stopped for ‘chai’ or ‘the’ (in Sinhala); I met an angel called Sevandhi Kumari. She gave me a red flower while her mother prepared tea for us. This post and the following classic poem of Majaaz are dedicated to her.

The lovely imagery and water-like simplicity of the poem is spellbinding. I’ve also attempted a sort of translation (which isn’t very good) of the poem but that will come later. First, meet ‘Nanhi Pujaarin’.

Nanhi Pujaarin

Ek nanhi-munni si pujarin
patli Bahein,patly garden
Bhor bhaye mandir mein aayee hai
Aaayee nahin maa laayee hai
Waqt se pahle jaag uthi hai
neend abhi aankhon mein bhari hai
Thodi tak lat aayee huee hai
yun hee si lahraayee hue hai

Aankhon par taron ki chamak hai
Mukharre par chandee ki jhalak hai
Dhoop chdhhe taraa chamkaa hai
Pathhar par ek phool khila hai
Chand ka tukra ,phool ki daali
kamsin, seedhi, bholi bhali
Kaan mein chandi ki baali hai
haath mein peetal ki thaali hai

Dil mein lekin dhyaan nahin hai
poojaa ka kuchh gyaan nahin hai
kaisi bholi aur seedhi hai
mandir ki chhat dekh rahi ahi
Maa barh kar chutki leti hai
chupke chupke hans deti hai
Hansana Rona uska majhab
usko pooja se kya matlab
khud to aayee hai mandir mein
Man uska gudiya ghar mein

Tiny Worshipper (for those who dont know Urdu/Hindi)

A tiny worshipper
Thin arms and a thin neck
Has come to the temple early morn
Actually been pulled by her Maa (Mother)
Woken up before her usual time
Sleep hanging in her eyes
Tresses falling till her chin
Swaying in the morning breeze

Eyes sparkling like the stars
Face shining like the moon
A star shining in the daytime
Or a flower budding on stone
Moonstone, Rosebud, Young & innocent
Silver ring in the ear
Bronze plate in hands

But got no interest in prayers
Got no knowledge of religion
She stares at the temple ceiling

With eyes innocent and sweet

Maa caresses her softly

And she laughs gently

Smiles & Tears are her religion

Got nothing to do with prayers

Has come to the temple somehow
But her heart is inside the doll-house

The red flower, now dry, still lies in my car. On my next trip to Nuwara Eliya, I shall stop at the same tea-joint for that angel and a refreshing cup of tea.