In every branch the banyan is full of fruits
Attracted by its hospitality round the clock
The birds in flocks are coming to a picnic.
I was also invited to a picnic by the meadows.
From their stores
All brought whatever things they could –
Cereals, spices and grams of all sorts.
We then assembled below the fig.
Some bring water filling the pots
Some go to the mango grove to collect firewood
To get some eggs
Others went to the nearby village
While in cooking three young ladies engaged themselves
Lying below the trees a few read books.
We forgot all our works
The day was like a boat freed from its moorings
That aimlessly drifts in ebbing tide.
There was a time when men were yet to build walls of bricks
They lived in open fields, forests and caves
That nomadic free life of loose rules
Still at times stirs our blood.
To taste that life
That day we had assembled at an unusual time
In an untimely feast.
Under the white light clouds
On the friendly familiar grasses
By the side of that mango grove
That belongs to none in particular
Where the world is bounteous
How our time passed doing unwonted tasks!
All day long doves cooed
For leftovers came crows
Also came dogs from the village
They fought amongst themselves
And defeated, one of them fled.
Then the sun went down casting slanting rays
The tired bullocks came back from the market.
We went back home and to its usual rules.
Our picnic came to an end
We forgot everything
The night came
And what remained
Were only some ashes of our oven.
Translation of the children’s poem Choribhati from the collection Chharar Chhobi by Rabindranath Tagore. Written at Almora in July, 1937 when the poet was 76.