Re-interpreting Rabindranath

It has been a long while since, I have seen you. The exams and college have kept me relatively busy these past few months and I have missed you all for every single moment of that journey.

Strangely, enough these long nights and terrible days have not be entirely fruitless. For better or for worse, I found a taste for an old artist from my heritage. Yes, like this typical Bengali boy, right now am eating a morning tea as Kishore Kumar sings “Amar Bela je Jay”, and it is making me feel good too.

And last time I went on a date, I sang “Amaro porano jaha chai” while I was walking on the road in celebration. I smiled to the sweetness of the song, I laughed at the versatility of it.

However, I am pretty sure, my Rabindranath is not the same as yours. Like any artist that has ever been, the poet is interpreted by me as a different being, an wholly different entity for me. What appears as merely romantic for you, is sexual for me, and a lot of other songs are songs written to a lover rather, than a God. Perhaps, because I am in that phase of my life, where my sighs command my personality, and where, I fall in love with every fleeting figure in my life.
Rabindranath has evolved for me, as had Sukumar Ray when I first encountered the motley of people at my college, as had Sukanto when I had seen poverty for myself. It has always been a part of growing up I mean, seeing artists change. You discover a second nature of works behind the surface and as you keep scratching, the world that you see is changed more and more.

So, consider my embarrassment when even my mother goes that interpreting Rabindranath sexually, to see it in that spectrum is not done. It is not that I do not get her sentiments. But, can you stare closely at “Purono Sei Diner Kotha” and say that it is meant only for the opposite sex friends you had? Or could it be applied to the childish romance you had staged with your best friends as well?

I mean, Tagore is known for depicting each and every spectrum of life through his music, through his stories. And even if the original intent was not the same, which I am very sure it was not, it can be interpreted as thus. Being an elitish in the matters of interpretation binds the poet into your mental image alone, and by all means you get to hold onto the image that you have of Tagore, but, do not ask me to hold onto your image.
What you drew with charcoal pencils can also be drawn with wax crayons.
This sis something I want you to understand.

Artists, readers, people… All see a poet differently, because poetry is flexible. Poetry is meant to mean different things. And the verse which sings of anger to you, sings to me of pain.

And no interpretation made thus, is terrible.


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