Geeta Banerjee Baul
Pranchandapur, Mirulidangal, Birbhum
O, How does a Strange Bird Flit in and out of the Cage (O Tare Dhorte Parle Monoberi)
O, how does a strange bird flit in and out of the cage
Should I catch it, with my mind I would shackle its feet.
Eight rooms and nine doors, latticed windows here or there
And in the main chamber above, a hall of mirrors.
A twist of fate, why else would the bird behave so strange
Breaking out of the cage, it flies to an unknown forest.
My mind, you pine for your cage of fragile wood –
Fakir Lalon laments, it may collapse any day.
Recorded February 2008 in Santiniketan, WB
This is one of the best-known songs by Lalon Fakir (viz. 1774/5-1890), the renowned seer of Kushtia (today in Western Bangladesh).
The cage – This seems to be a metaphorical reference to the human body. To go by the conventions of Baul dehatava (doctrines of the body), the doors and windows may refer to the various sense organs and orifices of the body. The ‘bird’ seems to refer to an elusive spirit or soul within that cannot be pinned down to the body, and which the mind (mon – also translatable as heart) seeks to control and shackle without much success.
Translator/Transcriber: Aniruddha Dutta
Camera : Shubhankar Bhar, Somak Bhattacharya
Camera Caretakers : Sanjib Das, Shantu
Sound : Dhiman Karmakar
Production Co-Ordinator : Kartick Das Baul
Edited by Rhonda Granger