The Hope Of A Mango Tree

An attempt to translate "Varuvaanillarumee" from "Manichitrathazhu"

Apologies to all those who love this poem and the language Malayalam.I have tried to translate "Varuvaanillarumee" from Malayalam to English but, have been failed by my own ignorance of both languages and, by the fact that the beauty of a language can never be translated into another.
"Varuvaanillarumee", from the Malayalam movie "Manichitrathazhu" is an amazing poem which has portrayed loneliness like none I have read or heard.

The movie is a 'psychological thriller' in which a young couple who come to stay in their ancestral home, a mansion, get preoccupied with the stories about the house and the events in it. The young wife, with a psychotic history, starts to identify herself with a dancer of the past who was murdered in the mansion and who's spirit everyone believed haunted the house.

As the story progresses incidences of paranormal nature bother the people in the house. A psychiatrist friend of the couple investigates the happenings and it is during his research that the young wife's childhood and the loneliness that marked it, is revealed. 

The story, the characterization, the screenplay, the performances and the music, can have volumes written on. The movie is a classic and could be regarded as the best psycho-thriller ever produced in India.

This song "Varuvaanillarumee" is played as a backdrop to the scenes depicting the young wife's childhood. The child is left with her grandmother by her parents who get busy pursuing their own life's ambitions. The loneliness and sadness associated with the abandonment fester inside the little girl.
The lyrics of the song plunges you into the depths of a heart that's brimming with longing and the music lets you not realize the violence of the plunge. A sensitive listener could visualize an abandoned old house in a larger courtyard and a lonesome young woman, forsaken by none yet abandoned by circumstances.

The lines reflect her thoughts in a solitude carved out of the loneliness. She compares her state with the mango tree in her courtyard. The tree she remembers had never bloomed. Many springs had gone colorless until one late summer morning she found the mango tree blushing in yellow flowers. She believes that the season had changed that night just for the tree to bloom.  She hopes her life too would be adorned by blossoms one day and that someone would come looking for her.

She is in a complex state of consciousness where she knows that there is no one who has left her with a promise to come back and, that there is neither anyone looking for her. Yet, she idly imagines that a beloved is to arrive and in that hope, spends her days.

Her hope is symbolized by the door that she leaves ajar.

One day, she hears footsteps of someone at the gate of the courtyard. She recollects the day the mango tree bloomed. She wonders if this was her day to flower. She runs to the door and hopefully looks towards the long path to the gate of the courtyard.

The poem ends with the sight of a man, who had lost his way and had mistakenly taken the path to her house, returning halfway on realizing his error.
The song is surely melancholic or out rightly depressing but, there are certain emotions that people find difficult to describe or to express it to themselves, let alone others. Such emotions need an expression and certain works of art, like "Varuvaanillarumee", do exactly that.
I would hopefully imagine - may be the man who went halfway returned the next day and with him returned the spring in her life; a spring that lasted for a lifetime.

There is always a hope, however bleak the situation- the hope of the mango tree.

                      *   *   *

My translation of the poem follows:

I know there is no one to come my way
Yet I await a beloved's arrival
I know both would remain my imagination
yet I desire- the beloved and his arrival

The Spring lost its way many times
to the branches of a Mango tree that never bloomed;
And then, for the abandoned one
the seasons changed, adorning it
with blossoms of the spring.

I know there is no one to come to this abandoned path
yet every day, I walk up to the gate
lay my eyes on the path, awaiting a beloved's arrival
I know both are my imaginations
yet I desire- the beloved and his arrival

There is no one with a promise to come back
yet in hope, I keep my door ajar
A beloved is to come my way
In vain, I desire- the beloved and his arrival

Once when the time stood still
I heard footsteps at the gate
I felt like the moment had brought me the spring
the spring that would never maroon me 
When I eagerly ran up to look
into the long narrow path to the gate
Someone, who had mistakenly taken the path
was returning half way to me
On the path to me, he was returning halfway 

                         *   *   *

Below are the original Malayalam lines:

Varuvanillarumeng oru naalu mee vazhi-
-kkariyaam athennalumennum
Priyamulloralaro varuvanudennu njaan
Veruthe mohikkumallo
Ennum veruthe mohikkumallo

Palavattom pookalam vazhithetti poyitta-
-gorunalum pookkamangombil
athinayi mathramayoruneram rithumaari

Varuvanillarumee vijanamameevazhi-
-kkariyaam athennalumennum
padivaathilolam chennakalathavazhiyake
mizhipaaki nilkarundallo
mizhipaaki nilkarundallo
Priyamulloralaro varumennu njaanennum
Veruthe mohikkumallo

Varummennu chollippirinjupoyillarum
Ariyam athennalumennum
Pathivaayi njaanente padivathilenthino
Pakuthiye chaararullo
Priyamulloralaro varuvanudennu njaan
Veruthe mohikkumallo

Ninayatha nerathen padivaathilil oru
Padavinyasam kettapole
Varavaayalorunaalum piryiathen madhumasam
Oru mathra konduvannalo
Innu orumathra konduvannengo
Kothiyode odichennakalathavazhiyilekki-
-rukannum neetunna neram
vazhithetti vannaro pakuthikkuvachente
vazhiye thirichu pokunnu
ente vazhiye thirichupokunnu
ente vazhiye thirichupokunnu


Popular Posts