Get Your Premium Membership

Deception Part 2 - Translation From Tagore

This is the second part of Rabindranath Tagore's Narrative poem - Phanki (Deception). The first part has been already posted. I get her a bed ready in the waiting room. Tell her – Binu, now be comfortable and sleep. Myself find a chair in the platform, Buy an English novel and start reading. So many trains pass – passengers as well as goods, Almost three hours are over. At that time Binu appears at the door of the waiting room and says, “I have something to tell you”. I enter the room and find a Hindustani girl Looking at me, Greets me, goes out, but keeps standing holding the pillar of the patio, Binu says “Her name is Rukmini. See those huts in a row beside the well ! She lives there, her husband is a porter with the railway company. Some year in thirteen hundred, they had drought in their region; husband and wife together had to flee being oppressed by the landlord. They had seven acres of land, in some village, beside some river -“ Laughing, I stop her and say – “The train will be here before you finish the life-story of Rukmini. In my opinion, it will be alright for everyone, if you tell the story in short”. Binu gets mad, her eyes big with rage, and eye-brows slanting, she says, “Never, I will not make it short. You are not in a rush to go to work, then why worry? You have to listen from the beginning to the end.” The amusement from reading the novel disappears; I have to listen in details The long story of the porter-woman. The real business is in the end, which is a little expensive. The woman’s daughter is going to get married, so some jewellery – armlets, bracelets – are required to be made, At least twenty-five rupees need to be spent. That worry is causing a great distress to Rukmini. That’s why for this time, it is my turn to help the poor woman to find some peace. Today before we board the train, we have to donate that money to this poverty-stricken woman. How shocking! Have you ever heard anything like this? She must be a sweeper, or something like that, by caste, Does the scrubbing and mopping in the waiting room for passengers, I have to give her twenty-five rupees! Very soon we would be a destitute if things like this go on! “Okay, okay. this will be done! I’ll see to it! I have only one note of a hundred rupees, and I have no change.” Binu says, “we can get the change at the station”. “Alright, that’s what I will do”. Saying this, I take the girl to a corner, And reprimand her really well. ” I will see how you hold on to your job. You are cheating the passengers! I will see to that your wickedness ends ! “. The woman starts crying and touches my feet to ask for forgiveness, I pay her two rupees, and let her leave. The light goes out in our sanctuary of life, I return when only two months are over. This time I get off at Bilaspore, I am alone. In the last moment she touched my feet, and said, ” I may forget everything from this life, But I will have the memory of the last two months for ever, like the everlasting sindur on Narayani’s forehead in heaven. You have filled these two months with heavenly bliss, I will bid farewell cherishing that blessedness”. Oh the Divine, Today I want to let Binu know, There was a big deception in my two months’ devotion, A deception of twenty-five rupees. If I give one lakh to Rukmini today, It’s not going to make any difference. Binu has left with those two months with her – She will never know my gift included a deceit. I get off at Bilaspore, and ask everyone, “Where is Rukmini? “ People are surprised with the inquiry – How many people knew Rukmini? After a lot of thinking, when I say ” Wife of Jhamru, the porter” Everybody answers ” They are not here any more”. I ask ” Where can I find her? ‘ The Station-master gets irritated, and says” Who knows that? ‘ The Ticket-checker smiles and says ” A few months earlier, They have left, perhaps for Darjeeling, or Khasrubagh, Or Arakan” I keep asking ” Do you have their address? “ They get annoyed, who bothered about their address? How do I make them understand – Today I need her, the most useless, now is the most needed, The only one who can lift my burden! “You fulfilled these two months with your ethereal love” – How do I bear with Binu’s last few words from her soul, I am responsible for The lie which remains permanent. Translated by: Malabika Ray Choudhury

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021

Post Comments

Poetrysoup is an environment of encouragement and growth so only provide specific positive comments that indicate what you appreciate about the poem.

Please Login to post a comment

Date: 4/14/2021 4:53:00 AM
Mala I have read both parts and the story is Tagore all the way! How well he picks such an emotional issue and makes us think about life! Your translation stay true to the great poet and brings us the genius of a man we would otherwise not know! Thanks for this wonderful work you are doing.
Login to Reply
Ray Choudhury Avatar
Malabika Ray Choudhury
Date: 4/14/2021 5:08:00 AM
Dear Krish, thank you so much for reading both parts of the translations. When I read these poems, I want to share the emotions with the whole world (including my own children). My daughter is the one who encouraged me to start translating. So glad you enjoyed - hope many other readers do. BW ~ Mala
Date: 4/12/2021 3:44:00 PM
Hello Mala, this is so sad. Love friendship Darlene
Login to Reply
De Beaulieu Avatar
Darlene De Beaulieu
Date: 4/13/2021 10:23:00 AM
Hello Mala, yes it was sad. Enjoy your day . love, Friendship Enjoy your day .
Ray Choudhury Avatar
Malabika Ray Choudhury
Date: 4/12/2021 4:31:00 PM
Thanks, Darlene, for reading the rest of the poem. Yes, it is definitely very sad. BW ~ Mala

Book: Reflection on the Important Things