Sone Ka Hiran (The Golden Deer) सोने का हिरन
(A poem in Hindustani Language, describing the range of emotions that ate into our essence, while we lived a life with social distancing and lock down. In this write-up, I explain only the gist of the poem highlighting the part where interestingly my modern day pandemic plight is best illustrated through a reference to a feature of an Indian Mythology of Ramayana.
Additionally the poem expresses many emotions through the Urdu poetry formats of couplets too. For full translation, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bahar nikalna meri fitrat hai.
Mujhe andar qaid karna mujhse bawgawat hai
Ki ye jo paabandiyo ka saaya hai,
Bass isne hi sataaya hai.
(Stepping out of the house is my habit,
Asking me to stay locked-down is treachery to me.
For, it is this constant shadow of do’s and don’ts,
that torments me.)
ye kaun batayega.
Nafz bina pakde kya vo mera haal jaan payega?
(how much distance is enough? Who will tell?
Would you know my condition without feeling (touching) for my pulse?)
Abb ye jo Mere charo ore ek Lakshman Rekha hai
Uske uss paar hi sone ka hiran dekha hai.
Par hiran kya tha, kyon tha…ye bhi mujhe maloom hai
isliye mann maar kar, dehleez ke andar hi rahoongi,
(Now that there is a Lakshman Rekha around me—-this boundary around me, I see a golden deer on its other side, beckoning me.
But who is the golden deer?
Why is the golden deer? I know.
So, even when it kills my spirits, I will stay within my self-defined Lakshman Rekha,
And I will still continue to say,
That (social) distancing is needed.
(Lakshman Rekha is a reference to the famed Hindu mythology of Ramayana, where Rama’s younger brother Lakshman draws a line on the ground around their cottage in the forest, asking his sister-in-law Sita to not step outside the line while the two men were away. No sooner had the men left that Sita espies a golden deer just outside the line, and enchanted she steps outside that line, only to be instantly abducted by the demon Ravana who had disguised himself as the golden deer.)
Nidhi Thakur (Ph.D.) is an economist by training, and a climate-activist plus mutli-lingual story-teller/poet/writer by instinct. She publishes in poetry journals and perspective blogs, and curates her work in Hindi-Urdu-English on social media under the moniker ‘heartversesmind’. Her spoken poetry has been featured in Jaipur Literature Festival 2021, and TheQuint.com. It was never meant to be, but it is the greatest defining fact of her life is that she is an immigrant, and thus she celebrates, to the best of her ability, both Longing and Lingering. She writes/reflects in Short Hills, NJ, over endless rounds of hot chai!