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Naina Dey : Chance Meeting



Lady with a fan. Courtesy - outlookindia.com




(Bengali original “Hathath Dekha” by Tagore.
Translated by Naina Dey)


Chance-meeting

A chance meeting in a railway coach,
Never thought it possible any day.

Had seen her often before
In a crimson saree
Dyed as a pomegranate flower;
Today she wears black silk,
Her head covered with her saree’s end
Encircling her face, fair and delicate like the champak in bloom.
It seemed, she had encased herself within a profound remoteness in black,
The remoteness which lurks at the edges of the mustard fields
In the intense blueness of the sal woods.
My whole being stopped short;
I beheld the familiar face in unfamiliar reserve.

Suddenly dropping the newspaper
She folded her hands in greeting.
The path of societal formalities opened up,
I struck up a conversation ---
How are you, how’s your family, etc.

She remained looking out of the window
As if in a distant stare oblivious of those intimate days.
Gave a brief reply or two,
Or didn’t even respond to some.
Conveyed through the restless motion of her hands ---
Why all this talk,
It is better to keep still.

I sat on another bench
With her companions.
Finally she motioned me to come near.
What nerve, thought I 
Went up and sat on the same bench.
Obscured by the whistle of the train
She spoke in a muted voice,
‘Don’t mind
Where’s the time to waste time!
I must get down at the very next station;
You will travel far;
We’ll never meet again.
So I will hear from you
The answer to my question which has remained unspoken all these years.
Will you tell me the truth?’

I said, ‘I will!’
She gazed at the sky outside and asked,
‘The days that have passed us by
Are they really no more?
Are there not any left?’

I kept silent for a while;
Then replied,
‘All the stars of the night lie hidden
In the depths of the day.’

I was in doubt, did I make it up.
She said, ‘Let it be, now go to the other end.’
Everyone got down at the next station;
I proceeded alone.


Shantiniketan
24 June 1936



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Focus – "Reading Across Time": Tagore Today

Editorial
  Amrit Sen : Editorial

Lead Article
  Udaya Narayana Singh : Redrawing the Boundaries

Critical Essays

  Nation, History, Cultural Exchange
    Avijit Banerjee : Tagore’s Visit to China
    Bijoy Mukherjee : Rabindranath and Indian History
    Biswanath Banerjee : Tagore and Acharya PC Ray
    Sagarika Chakraborty : Tagore the Diplomat
    Soumitra Roy : Tagore’s Ghare Baire

  Responses to Caste and Gender
    Dhriti Ray Dalai/ Panchanan Dalai : Tagore’s ‘Chandalika’
    Dipankar Roy : Women in Tagore’s ‘Domestic Novels’
    Sanjukta Dasgupta : “Streer Patra” - A Feminist Text?
    Swati Ganguly : Gender, Sexuality and Conjugality in Samapti

  Translation and Reception
    Anindya Sen : Tagore’s Self-Translations
    Jayati Gupta : Whose Gitanjali is it Anyway?
    Sushobhan Adhikary : Cartoons on Tagore
    Usha Kishore : The Auto-translations of Rabindranath

  Rural Reconstruction and Ecopoetic
    Bipasha Raha : Experiments with Village Welfare
    Debotosh Sinha : Tagore and Rural Reconstruction
    Falguni Piyush Desai : Floriography in Tagore’s Poetry
    Marie Josephine Aruna : ‘Letters’ and Ecopoetics

  Aesthetics, Paintings and Dance Dramas
    Aju Mukhopadhyay : The Poet of Sublime Love
    Raghupathi K V : Aesthetics of Tagore and Sri Aurobindo
    Sudeshna Majumdar : Paintings of Tagore
    Sutapa Chaudhuri : Dance Dramas of Tagore

  Tagore and the Short Story
    Dominic K V : Tagore’s Short Stories
    Mausumi Sen Bhattacharjee : ‘The Hunger of Stones’

  Tagore and Visva-Bharati
    Anindita Chongdar : Anecdotes of Santiniketan
    Debmalya Das : The Visva-Bharati Quarterly
    Subodh Gopal Nandi : The Visva-Bharati Library

Creative Responses

  Article
    Sanjukta Dasgupta : Remembering Rabindranath

  Poetry
    Frank Joussen : Tagore and Walt Whitman
    Nuggehalli Pankaja : The Voice of Tagore
    Sanjukta Dasgupta : To Rabindranath
    Shambhobi Ghosh : Yet

Translations
  Ahmed A H S : Birthday and other poems
  Anup Maharatna : From ‘The Last Writings’
  Ashoka Sen : Africa
  Barnali Saha : The Vacation (Fiction)
  Naina Dey : Chance Meeting
  Parantap Chakraborty : The Son of Man
  Suranjima Saha : Preamble to a Journey
  Swapna Dutta : The Editor

Reviews
  Amrit Sen:Behind the Veil & Tagore and Modernity
  Kumaran S : Pathos in the Short Stories of Tagore

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