Trees don’t survive
Up on the high mountain,
Neither plants grow up there
Nor a blade of grass takes root.
It’s only snow all over there
White like the sheet of shroud
And as cold as the death itself.
So playful and cackling river
For this inevitable nemesis
Silently cries on her fate.
A height whose mere touch
Turns flowing water to stony ice
A height whose mere sight
Generates an inferiority sense
Is entitled to salutation,
An invitation to climbers,
Or even worth hoisting flags;
But neither a poor sparrow
Can build her nest over there,
Nor any tired wayfarer ever
Can take rest for a while there.
The truth must be realized
That mere height is not enough,
Secluded from the rest,
Isolated from the milieu, and
Disconnected from the surroundings.
Thus standing aloof in sheer zilch
It’s not a majesty in itself
But sheer feebleness of mountain.
The gap between the height and depth
Is somewhat akin to the sky and netherworld.
The taller one grows,
Lonelier one becomes,
Carrying an undesirable burden,
With countenance of forced smile,
In fact, he repents all the time.
Hence it’s essential in life
That the greatness comes
With ample magnitude and gratitude
So that the person doesn’t conduct in
Semblance to an erect and stunted trunk,
Instead, one mixes up with people,
And takes others along too,
To walk together in life for a cause.
To go along with the flow in life,
To lose self in someone’s memories
To be humble with great stature,
Too gives meaning to one’s existence
And fulfils one's life with fragrance.
This planet doesn’t need Lilliputians
Instead, needs humans of high stature
Tall enough to map up the sky, and
Talented to seek life in new spheres,
But they don’t need to be so tall
As to deny the small grass
To grow under their shade, and
A thorn to exist or a bud to bloom.
Neither a spring nor fall season
Instead, only greatness blues around,
In sheer stillness of being alone
Is this what one aspires for?
O my Lord!
Avoid showering greatness
Which renders me so rude,
That I fail to hug a common soul.
This is an affective translation of Late Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee's poem Unchai (Height). I found it so inspiring that I decided to translate it for a wider reach and for the benefit of people who do not understand Hindi well.