Today's Beautiful Gem: `puSpavilApamu or The
Blossoms' wail' in Telugu by
Jandhyala Papayya Sastri (karuNas'rI), translated by me. (Part II)
"UludArAlatO gontukuri biginci guNDelOnunDi sUdulu grucci gUrci
muDutsukonduru muttsata muDula mammu akaTA dayalEnivAru mI yADuvAru
"With silken thread you tighten the knots
around our necks; with
sharp needles you pierce through our hearts; and then with great relish
your women-folk wear us in their stylish hair. What pitiless people!
"guNDetaDi lEka nUnelO vaNDI piNDi
attarulu cEsi mA pEda netturulanu
kampu dEhAlapai gumAyimpukoraku pulumukonduru akata mI kolamuvAru
"The members of your race squeeze the
juices out of us and boil us in oil
to produce scents. Then they apply those essences containing our poor blood
on their stinking bodies to smell pleasantly.
"mA velalEni mugdhasukumAra sugandha
jIvitamella mIkai tyajinci kRs'inci nas'incipOye mA
yauvanamella kollagoni Apai cIpurutODa cimmi mam-
mAvala pArabOturugadA narajAtiki nItiyunnadA
"Our precious life, filled with beauty,
youth, aroma and ambrosia, has been
sacrificed, wasted and destroyed for your sake; after robbing us of our
youth, you sweep us off with a broom and consign us to dust-heap. Oh,
what fine morals does mankind possess!
"buddhadEvuni bhUmilO puTTinAvu sahajamagu
prEma nIlOna zaccenEmi
andamunu hatya cEseDi hantakuNDa mailapaDipOyenOyi nI manujajanma
"Having been born in the land of Buddha,
you seem to be devoid of innate
love. You are indeed a murderer of Beauty. Has your humanity been defiled?
"iTulu puSpAlu nannu cIvATlubeTTi- naTlugA
pUlu kOya cEyADalEdu
Emi totsaka dEvarakeruka sEya vaTTi cEtulatOn iTu vaccinAnu"
"Having been humbled by the flowers thus,
my hands could not pluck them.
Not knowing what to do, I returned home with empty hands to inform
the Lord of all that took place."
Note: The Telugu original contains fourteen stanzas. Due to the space
limit, I could share with you only ten stanzas. A few of the above verses
were sung by the late Ghantsala. These poems left an indelible impression
on my mind when I was in my teens. I hope it brings back pleasant memories
to my Telugu friends. I trust the rest of you will be moved in the same way
even if my translation might not have entirely conveyed the original 'rasa'.
Om s'aantih: Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao