Gitanjali – Rabindranath Tagore 1861-1941
22/05/2009 at 3:12 pm (Life in the city)
Born in 1861 to an influential Bengali family, Rabindranath Tagore achieved fame as a novelist, playwright, poet, painter, lecturer, politician, and composer. In 1913 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, the first non-European to achieve such an honor.
The Gitanjali, or song offering, is his collection of prose poems which have been translated from Bengali and when Bishwajit introduced me to this enormous body of work I stayed up into the early hours of the morning reading it, transfixed, verse after marvelous verse. Tagore is held in very high regard by the people of Bangladesh. Quite rightly so in my view.
On the day when the lotus bloomed, alas, my mind was straying,
and I knew it not. My basket was empty and the flower remained unheeded.
Only now and again a sadness fell upon me, and I started up from my
dream and felt a sweet trace of a strange fragrance in the south wind.
That vague sweetness made my heart ache with longing and it seemed to me
that it was the eager breath of the summer seeking for its completion.
I knew not then that it was so near, that it was mine, and that this
perfect sweetness had blossomed in the depth of my own heart.