There is a girl who is very small
But she holds the entire village in her thrall
Everybody is in awe
And calls her a very good girl.
But please beware what I say
It seems very doubtful
If she is good at all.
Early in the morning
When still it is dark
Before all she will wake up
And make a lot of noise
Doing a veritable riot in bed.
She will giggle and giggle
Breaking everyone’s sleep
When the mother will go to catch her
In some corner she will hide.
I cannot but respond to her gesture
When she stretches out her hands
And looks up at my face
I take her on my back
And go a round or two
But pleased by this pleasant ride
She boxes my ears with her fists.
If I say, ‘My little mother, don’t strike so hard’
She tries to snatch away my specs!
In her endless babbles
She always quarrels with me
And doesn’t know when to stop.
Do you call such manners good
The manners of this turbulent child?
Yet with her I can hardly feel like fighting
Because when she is absent
All the music stops in my home
In my garden no flowers bloom
And in the evening sky I can see no stars.
I feel my heart totally empty
Without this troublesome child
As the southern breeze raises waves of joy in the garden
Her naughtiness raises waves of joy in my home
And like flowers sways my mind.
I am at my wit’s end to tell you
In how many names she is called
After a lot of search
The parents must have given her a name
That is extremely sweet
Let them keep it in a secure place like a gem
We hardly care
We are pleased to call her in various names
And they are not flattering –
Sometimes we call her a naughty girl
Sometimes we call her an outright tyrant.
Someone will give one a name in a ceremony
Everybody will call one by that name
Isn’t this practice arbitrary?
We should be allowed to call one by the name we please.
Let the father call by one name
And the uncle call by another name
Our daughter is a darling of the house
She doesn’t need any classical name
Such a name may make the dictionary dearer
But not our dearest child
I call her by any name I please
Let others laugh at that name
It is enough if she understands
She may be a little girl
But her moods are many
To call her only by a single name
Is it proper at all?
Transcreation of the poem Parichay from the collection Shishu by Rabindranath Tagore.