Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Invitations to the Dream World

Read this beautiful lullaby in one of the blogs that I read regularly and was charmed by the innocently simple, beautiful and hopeful lines.

Lullabies are the most soothing songs of this earth. It’s blissful to catch a scene of a mother singing to her baby, making the little one sleep:

The night is cool, and the earth is wet. Sounds have ceased and the world is at rest. Save the cicadas', there’s no other sound. Stars are winking and the moon’s playing hide and seek. The deeply scented night flowers have bloomed somewhere, filling the air with mystique. And then you hear the mother singing to her child. This is heaven.

Lullabies are about all beautiful in the universe – the moon, the stars, flowers, birds, mountains, oceans, and other wonderful things. They make a person dream and imagine, hope and believe in the goodness of life.

They might, sometimes, carry a tinge of sadness, a subtle reference to the plights and sufferings of the mother or the family or the clan itself. They might be loaded with the parent’s own longings, unfulfilled dreams and wishes. This is the flavour that most lullaby songs in Indian movies carry (for e.g. the classic ‘Malarnthum malaratha’ (Paasamalar) with some magnificent lyrics from Kannadhasan, or the very poignant ‘Thendrale…thendrale’ (Kadhal Desam) by ARR, in the recent times ).

Even then, they leave a final word of consolation to the wounded, instil the belief that things would be alright and that tomorrow would be a grand new day.

There are many beautiful lullabies composed in Carnatic music, mainly sung to a deity – be it Rama or Krishna - ‘Jo Jo Achchuthananda Jo Jo Mukunda’ by MSS comes to my mind immediately. Someone wondered why these lullabies are always for Gods and not for Goddesses. It could be that we see all Goddesses as mothers, and mothers are not meant to sleep, but keep vigil on their young ones. Some gender bias here?

Switching back to the topic of lullabies –When I started digging for lullabies in Tamil, I came across this beautiful one –a popular one:

கண்ணான கண்ணுறங்கு என் கண்மணியே!
கானமயிலுறங்கு என் பூமணியே!
பொன்னான பொழுதுறங்கு என் வெண்மணியே!
பூமரத்து வண்டுறங்கு என் விண் நிலவே!
செண்டாட பூமலரும் வண்டாட தேன்வடியும்!
வண்டாடும் பொய்கையினில் !
வந்தாடும் அன்ன ஊஞ்சல்!
அன்ன ஊஞ்சல் போலிருக்கும் என் மண் ஒளியே!
அருங்கிளியே தேன்மழையே திருவாசகமே நீயுறங்கு!

Each word in this song paints a beautiful picture or sows a marvellous thought – either calling out to the little child with the simplest of endearments such as a parrot or a peacock or taking the affection to a higher level by comparing the child to a song of great wisdom (திருவாசகமே).

Here’s how I translated this song (with doles of creative liberty(!)):

My vision, apple of my eye,
Peacock dancing to an overcast sky,
My precious jewel, my flawless pearl,
Fluttering butterfly on a flowery trail,
Moon of my clear night skies
Time to rest, close your eyes.

Oh, the li’l bud grows a honeyed flower,
Beckoning the merry bee,
That dances over lotus flowers
Where sways the swan, see.

Oh, the one swaying like the swan,
Light of my mind, my dawn
Sweet parrot, my nectar rain,
Song of rarest wisdom, one can find,
Time to rest, may you sleep.

These are great words to invite sleep and step into the realms of dreams.

So, what happened to such beautiful lullabies these days?

P.S. To be fair to Parvathy, she sings great many a deal of devotional songs to Pranav and to be fair to myself, I sing lots of film songs to him J

1 comment:

Arunima said...

hey, beautiful post. Thanks for the translation. Really enjoyed reading this one.