The dark lords black, burdened
Heave a sigh of relief
Droplets flung all over
Stir the lake from her sleep
Concentric circles abound
Their lives mystical but brief
The rain maiden's soaked
Drops slide down her hair
Unoiled yet fragrant,
Setting off ripples a few
Her antics from afar
Part thrilled part terrified
Join didi? um no!
Petrified or amused- Apu stands still
And so does the tree beside.
The rain maiden's delirious,
Unmindful of the the dark lords' cry
She spins her fragile figure around
Weaving magic like fine silk.
If the sky, the lake, the rain make the canvas,
Our rain maiden's the art
The rain maiden's finished
She runs towards the frail thing
And holds the child close.
Apu, eyes wide, seeks refuge
In didi's outstretched sari
Wrapped safe, fear lapses to joy
The dark lords filled with rage
Perhaps taken aback by her audacity
Cast a spell so fierce!
The rain maiden's no longer fiesty;
Gold has a melting point and so had she.
The rain maiden's sick
Bedridden, numb with cold
Her playfulness knows no illness.
She beckons the worried child
And promises a spectacle soon,
"We'll run alongside the chugging train!"
The kind neighbour relents To poor Apu's plea What awaits her is pure misery. The mother and her young One alive one dead; Eyes as lifeless as the rain maiden.
The rain maiden's gone And so is his smile He's bereft of her fingers- The fingers that caressed,groomed His unkempt hair. A void, left behind, As big as their bond.
The picture of the desolate child Staring at the vacant sky Evokes something inexplicable And soon we find ourselves say, "Take heart little Apu, Durga's only asleep, till it rains again"
The 1955 Bengali movie Pather Panchali (song of the little road) is a poignant tale laced with love and warmth. Satyajit Ray was an unconventional story teller with an eye for detail. His repertoire includes an assortment of genres- ranging from the highly intellectual to the deeply spiritual. Pather Panchali, his best known piece of art, was incidentally his debut movie. Watching the movie was indeed a surreal experience for me. The grandmother who gleefully relishes stolen fruits, the aspiring playwright who finds it hard as a priest to make ends meet, his wife who is the ultimate embodiment of sacrifice, our hero Apu who is the picture of innocence and gaiety, the child maiden Durga who wins our hearts with her sprightliness and makes us cry inconsolably at the very end are earthy characters who tug at our heart strings and claim all our love. I have tried to pen these verses as a devout fan drawn to the inimitable genius of Ray as well as the lyrical realism of his debut work. To Ray, with love.
Note - Go.watch.the.movie.