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A Sundarban Tiger
by Kumud Biswas

It was a tiger of Sundarban
It was fat and full of spots
It became angry
Whenever its meals were small
One day it began to growl
It said, 'Wake up your wife
Listen, you baldy Boturam,
Serve me at once
Five pairs of lamb.'
Botu said, 'How's that?
You are not talking like a gentleman
Shouting so late at night
You should know, isn't right
It isn't good manners.
My house is a rotten place
You are a very big beast
To you it hardly befits
In your home your dear tigress -
And she happens to be my niece -
She anxiously waits
She cannot eat
Until you eat first
She has kept some iguana legs
And also some dried frogs
Some rabbits too, rotten and stale
Which you will love to smell
Happily dancing
You go back to your home
Else the newspaper reporters
Will spread all kinds of rumor
To put you out of humor.'

'What rot you are talking
You talkative fool
Stop your lecture
It makes me gasp
You baldy, you are a madcap
Come out and open your gate
And let me see
Where have you kept your goat.'
Boturam said,' It's wrong,
I pray at your four feet,
It's a great sin
To kill any living creature
It's worse still
To forcibly take
What to others belongs.'

The tiger said, 'What rubbish!
If I perish for want of food
Isn't that killing of a creature?
With me
My tigress will die too.
So I must have your goat
If not, you are there
Please note.'

So saying it raised its paws
To this Boturam said,
'Let us then go where my goat is.'
Opening the gates he said,
'Please get in,
Eat the goat and be happy.'
As the tiger went in
From outside the room
Boturam closed the door
Very fast and firm.

The tiger said, 'How very strange,
It doesn't seem to be a joke any more.
Where's the goat
I don't see even its tail
Nor do I hear it cry.
O you malicious monster
You want to kill a creature!
If I get you near
I shall hold you down with my paws
And drink your blood.
And this place is so dirty - '

Botu said, 'Yes it is.
So long here Mahesh the milkman lived
But with heaps of coal
Now lives the god of your death'.

In great rage
Its whiskers became like broomsticks
And the tiger cried out
'Where is the goat!'
Dancing, Botu replied,
'It is here in my stomach
Nowhere will you get it
Even if the whole village you search.'

Transcreation of the poem Sundarboner Bagh from the collection Bichitra by Rabindranath Tagore.

Image under license with Gettyimages.com

8-Oct-2006
 
Views: 7871
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