Bendre’s English Bird Is Flying – Have You Seen It?

At about this time last month, i.e. September 2021, I was wondering if the measured progress of my website’s ( statistics would allow me to celebrate it reaching a total of 50,000 views by the end of the year. Given that some 8500 more views were needed to get to 50,000 and the average monthly views-count was about 1500-2000, I reckoned it would be around March 2022 when the milestone would be reached. Not having posted anything new for more than a year (and having acquired a degree of satisfaction about the monthly numbers), the forecast was something I was able to take in my stride. Indeed, I had recently achieved a state of (almost) detachment that allowed me to go a couple of days without even looking at the website’s numbers.

It is only in hindsight that the 25th of September stands out. Squat and insignificant as the day now looks on the bar graph (that shows daily views over a month), it would be the very first day that Bendre’s the The Bird is Flying – Have You Seen It? (ಹಕ್ಕಿ ಹಾರುತಿದೆ ನೋಡಿದಿರಾ?) would occupy the top spot in the ‘most viewed posts’ section; jointly sharing the honour with ‘Song-Essence’ (ಹಾಡ-ಹುರುಳು) on that day.

But just like a bird can when it wishes to, so too would the ‘The Bird Is Flying’ poem begin to fly ‘up and away’ from the next day, soaring to precipitous heights with an abandon the more ‘earthbound’ poems could not hope to match. To wit – September 26 would see the poem gather 98 views, September 27 would see it get 99 views, September 28 would see it gloriously cross a hundred views (and reach 180 views) and it would gather 320 and 449 views to close out the month of September. And like a high-flying kite draws attention to the (earthbound) player-of-its strings, so too did the ‘Bird Is Flying’ poem draw attention to the other poems on the website and raise their profile (and, consequently, their views).

It’s been two weeks now since the ‘The Bird is Flying’ poem took flight – and the milestone of ‘50,000 views’ (that was predicated on steady, earthbound travel) has lost all relevance. Soaring high with outspread wings, the poem’s singular flight has lifted the website’s numbers to stratospheric heights and allowed it to surpass the 100,000 (or one hundred thousand or one lakh) views mark! And though I am still searching for what caused the ‘The Bird is Flying’ poem to finally spread its wings wide and fly like Bendre knew it could, I am overwhelmed (in rather dazed fashion), extremely gratified, and very grateful to the people and the circumstances that have given such an unexpected boost to my website and the translations therein. No matter what happens next (though I hope, of course, that the bird of Bendre’s poetry continues to soar), these last two weeks – should the statistics prove to be legitimate and not ‘bot-generated’ – have brought a certain ‘ಸಾರ್ಥಕತೆ (saarthakaté)’, a certain sense of fulfillment to a work that has been a long labour of love. Sure, it would have been even nicer if some of the more-than-thousand new visitors had left a comment to show they were there but then again – one mustn’t be greedy!

As serendipitous as it’s been for the purpose of this write-up that the relevant poem was so felictiously named ‘The Bird is Flying’ (though I do hope I haven’t overdone the metaphor!), I would like to conclude by quoting a few lines from another poem of Bendre’s; lines that seem to me especially appropriate for the occasion, given how one poem-feather set off a ‘domino effect’ that gave the other poem-feathers the chance to be recognized.

“Push them, blow them, make them fly,
let them fly as much they will,
these feathers that were born to fly,
these feathers on a bird’s body.”

(6th stanza of the poem ‘Feather’)

P.S: Almost exactly one year ago (October 12, 2020), I celebrated the fact that my website had been visited by 10,000 unique visitors! At the time, I talked about how it had taken about four-and-a-half years for the website to reach the milestone and how the 10,000 visitors hailed from 59 different countries. As I write this, the number of unique visitors has more than tripled and crossed 30,000 while the number of countries they have come from has risen from 59 to 71. All in all, it’s extremely gratifying.

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