Thursday, May 09, 2013

The Schoolmaster

Here's my translation of this poem by Rabindranath Tagore on his 152nd birth anniversary. Meanwhile, I wonder what the poor kitten who comes to our house in Hooghly everyday for after-lunch leftovers is doing in the absence of my parents in the house.

The Schoolmaster
~Rabindranath Tagore

Let’s say I’m schoolmaster Kanai,
        The kitten is my pupil today,
I don’t use the cane on him, mother,
        It’s just a twig that I use to play.
He’s always late for class,
        Never interested in the lesson,
Raises his right paw and yawns
        When I say, “Here, listen”
He neglects his studies all day,
        Spends all his time in play.
I say, “M N O P Q”
        He only says, “Mew, mew.”

I explain the books to him,
        As much, mother, as I’m able,
“You should never steal food,
        Be good, like Gopal of the fable”
All I say goes in vain,
        He listens to nothing at all,
Let him come across a fish,
        None of this he’ll recall.
And sparrows – if he spies one,
        He’ll leave the class and run.
I keep saying, “M N O P Q”
        He mischievously says, “Mew.”

Repeatedly to him I say,
        “At school time you must learn.
Play to your heart's content,
        Once school is over and done.”
He’ll act as if he’s a good boy,
        Glance at my face looking bland,
Every word that I said,
        He’ll pretend to understand.
Whenever he gets a chance,
        He’ll vanish from sight at once.
I say, “M N O P Q”
        He only says, “Mew, mew.”

(Translation by Sugata Banerji)


  1. bah!daruun hoyeche! - Sumana

  2. khub sundor. haattali haattali...

  3. khub bhalo translation korechho :)

  4. Sneher Joy-
    Darun laglo.
    Gautam prati bachhar-i e-samay tomar translation pathai.Besh ananda paai. Ebaro pelam.
    Darun abhigmata holo!Prai sottor bachhar aager akta sakaler
    drishya chokhe bhese elo. Uttar kolkatar Shyam Square South-e amader ghare madur pete bose amar ma pore pore bolchhen r ami porte chesta korchhi--"ami aaj Kanai master; poro mor beral chhanati.
    Anubad prati baar-i bhalo laage.Ebar ateet smriti achchhanna rakhlo besh kichhukshan. Jyotirmoy Mukherjee