Today's Beautiful Gem: `Bidesini' by Rabindranath Tagore

"When I was very young I heard the song, `Who dressed you like a
foreigner?' and that one line of the song painted such a strange
picture in my mind that even now it is sounding in my memory. I
once tried to compose a song myself under the spell of that line.
As I hummed the tune, I wrote the first line of the song, `I know
thee thou stranger,' and if there were no tune to it, I cannot
tell what meaning would be left in the song. But by the power of
the spell of the tune the mysterious figure of that stranger was
evoked in my mind. My heart began to say, `There is a stranger
going to and fro in this world of ours-- her house is on the
further shore of an ocean of mystery-- sometimes she is to be seen
in the autumn morning, sometimes in the flowery midnight-- some-
times I hear her voice when I turn my ear to the sky.' The tune
of my song led me to the very door of that stranger who ensnares
the universe and appears in it, and I said: `Wandering over the
world I come to thy land; I am a guest at thy door, thou stranger.'
One day, many days afterwards, there was someone going along the
road singing: `How does that unknown bird go to and away from the
cage? Could I but catch it, I would set the chain of my mind
about its feet.' I saw that that folk song, too, said the very
same thing! Sometimes the unknown bird comes to the closed cage
and speaks a word of the limitless unknown-- the mind would keep
it forever, but cannot. What but the tune of a song could report
the coming and going of that unknown bird? Because of this I
always feel a hesitation in publishing a book of songs, for in
such a book the main thing is left out."

Note: Long ago, I remember to have heard the song `O Bidesini' in
Ray's film `Charulata'. May be, somebody will post it on the net.

Om Santih! Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao