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Monthly Archives: September 2006

This one is for the billions and billions of those who read my blog and happen to be chess fans as well.

Today is a(nother) sad day in chess history, with a high-priest and master practitioner of the fine art stooping to base shenanigans upon finding himself trailing in the championship match in Elista, Kalmykia. The ugly details may be found here: http://www.worldchess2006.com/main.asp.

Turbid events no doubt will unfold in the hours and days to come. News media will have a field day wallowing in scatological situational comedy. Negotiations will be attempted to resolve the incredible deadlock. Some things may be fixed, and others will be irreparably damaged. However, as things stand, only one of the two contenders has demonstrated the dignity and moral fibre befitting a champion. Today I grieve for Caissa.

 

“Do nothing unless you must, and when you must act — hesitate.” (Isaac Asimov, Foundation’s Edge)

“Ekla Chalo Re” (Walk alone) is one of the best known songs of Tagore. I don’t speak Bengali, but luckily for me Tagore himself translated it to English.

“Jodi Tor Dak Soone Keu Na Asse
Tobe Ekla Chalo re
Ekla Chalo Ekla Chalo Ekla Chalore

Jodi Keu Katha Na Kai Ore Ore O Abhaga
Jodi Sabai Thake Mukh Firae Sabai Kare Bhay
Tabe Paran Khule
O Tui Mukh Fute Tor Maner Katha Ekla Balo re

Jodi Sabai Fire Jai Ore Ore O Abhaga
Jodi Gahan Pathe Jabar Kale Keu Feere Na Chay
Tobe Pather Kanta
O Tui Rakta Makha Charan Tale Ekla Dalo re

Jodi Alo Na Dhare Ore Ore O Abhaga
Jodi Jharr Badale Andhar Rate Duar Deay Ghare
Tobe Bajranale
Apaan Buker Panjar Jaliey Nieye Ekla Jalo re”

“If they answer not to thy call walk alone,
If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,
O thou of evil luck,
open thy mind and speak out alone.

If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness,
O thou of evil luck,
trample the thorns under thy tread,
and along the blood-lined track travel alone.

If they do not hold up the light when the night is troubled with storm,
O thou of evil luck,
with the thunder flame of pain ignite thy own heart
and let it burn alone.”

The audio may be found here:
http://www.calcuttaweb.com/gaan/rabindra/index.shtml

Far from being an inspired choice at a moment of reckoning, solitude is the only option for figurative forays into recesses of inner space. This existential actuality is neither epiphanic nor unremarkable. Neither reassuring nor unnerving. Or perhaps it is both. Perhaps it depends on what day of the week it is. Or on whether Schrödinger’s cat is alive or dead.

And here is the first paragraph of Makhanlal Chaturvedi’s “Pushp ki Abhilasha” (A flower’s wish)

“Chah nahin main surbala ke
gahano mein gootha jaun
Chah nahin premi mala mein bindh
pyari ko lalchaun
Chah nahin samraton ke shav par
he hari dala jaun
Chah nahin devon ke sir par chadhun
bhagya par ithlaun”


“It’s not my wish to be woven into the maiden’s necklace
Or be part of the lover’s garland
It’s not my wish to be the wreathe for dead kings
Or the crown of deities grand”

(Translation’s not mine)

The next paragraph is about what indeed is the flower’s wish. However, I find what its wish isn’t to be of more riveting interest.