This poem is one of the very few poems I wrote in the year 2016. Being part of India’s much-vaunted “youth brigade”, I decided that year to do my part and add my might to the country’s burgeoning workforce. The result was some money in the bank and the gradual decline of the time and “mind-space” I’d had for over a year – a period that saw me write an astonishing (to me) 50 or so poems in 2015 alone.
Regrettably, by the end of 2016, what had been a gush had reduced to the barest trickle – catalyzed relentlessly by the monotony of corporate work and Bangalore’s wildly-entropic traffic.
This particular poem was written about two months into my job – before I had become “as jaded as a dog that has had too much of the sun”. The most significant thing about this poem is that it is a transcreation of a Kannada poem I had written a week previously; in spontaneous response to a spell of rain that followed Bangalore’s hottest recorded day in some 75 years.
I must hasten to add that I am no Kannada poet. However, when the rain came down on April 25, 2016 to provide much-needed respite, I simply began an ಆಟ (aaṭa: play, game) of my own with the Kannada language – a light, breezy, happy game that combined both ನಾದ (nāda: sound) and ಪ್ರಾಸ (prāsa: rhyme) and started and ended almost as naturally as the rain.
And this little poem’s ಗತ್ತು (gattu: gait, progress) was so very nice that I thought I’d try to translate it into English – and when the first two lines came out felicitously, I just continued on and finished the whole thing in a state of a true wonderful happiness, exultation even. (Just thinking about that time makes me smile now.)
In a word, I like to think of this poem as a happy poem. Revisiting it has certainly made me happy.
So, without further ado, here is the poem, bookended respectively by my Kannada and English recitations.
(NB: A transcreation looks to capture the spirit of the original rather than literally translate it. In this case, the phonetic rhythm of the original has most definitely left its mark on the transcreation.)
The Rain – An Ode
The rain the rain the rain the rain
An olden water is shining again
As it whirls and it curls and it pearls and unfurls
Like a pageant of happy and beautiful girls
Bending and bowing to the wave of the wind
Pervading – expanding – from above to mankind
Playing and singing as it falls and it drops
Imbuing the dying with livening sap
Seeking the silence – stretching past speech
Expanding – outspreading a happier reach
Dropping – unstopping – leaping and tapping
Shaping – unshaping – refreshing – enwrapping
Flowing and growing, beautifully showing
Inmoving – outmoving – flirting and skirting
Tearing – unsparing – the mane of the sun
The rain has returned in celebration.