“Kiüṁ mire kalgīāṁ vāle dāte!
Kiüṁ tusīṁ aide suhane ho?” my father is singing.
So sweet is his tone, so full of love, his question:
“Why my Kalgīāṁ vāle dāte 1? Why are you so beautiful?
I am a child listening.
I know nothing of the poet or his song.
But, from that point on I know that Kalgīāṁ vāle is beautiful.
His beauty is grander than the sun, more serene than the moon and if every flower is touched by his beauty I need only look at one blossom and imagine he is so much more.
The awesome beauty of my Kalgīāṁ vāle was, simply passed on to me.
Not once did I think of the poet – Bhai Sahib Bhai Vir Singh ji - or his deep love for the Guru that poured into his words; that spilled from his verses and became a part of his Kambdī kalāī collection. How much love must lie in the eyes of this beholder?
Will I ever find those eyes… to see so much?
And is it possible that our meeting too could be so memorable that the impact of my ‘trembling hand’ is felt for generations like Bhai Sahib’s?
I seek no answers.
It is my hope that I feel more and love more, each time I sing, hear or read these verses.
In trans-creating my father’s favorite poem I have endeavored to capture that simple wonder I felt as a child. Obviously, I fall short, for I neither possess the poet’s exquisite sight nor his love-drenched heart.
In the original poem Bhai Sahib pens:
“Kamal māltī nargas sosan,
Eho gīt alāïā hai…”
He refers to the attributes of the lotus, the lily, the daffodil and the māltī 2 – a delicate blossom with a sweet, strong fragrance. I could not translate all the flowers and evoke that same sense of romance. Therefore, I have settled for: “Sun-kissed daffodils, moonlit māltīs,” while trans-creating this line.
I have taken many such liberties with this verse, failing to be faithful, choosing instead, to convey the effect the original had on me. I hope I have succeeded in passing on that feeling of being immersed and glowing in love with a Beloved who personifies Beauty.
My Kalgīāṁ vāle: Why are you so Beautiful, Beloved?
Why, my Kalgīāṁ vāle dāte!
Why are you so…beautiful?
In a glance
I’m taken captive!
How do you
Are you Beauty -- personified?
Or did One fashion you so?
The sun and moon bear testimony–
“It is He who has fashioned us!”
Sun-kissed daffodils, moonlit māltīs
“He lends us His fragrance…
It is He who adorns us!”
The silent song
Of starlit nights resonates–
“O’ Kalgīdhar! Beauteous Benefactor–
We reflect your radiance!”
O’ Tell me, Beautiful!
Why are you so…?
How are you so…very beautiful?
That, in a glance
Is He equally beautiful?
The One who fashioned you?
Or do His charms exceed yours?
And in a glance,
Enchants …even more?
Or… was it that the Sculptor,
Fell so in love with this beauteous form, that
He poured Himself into your frame?
Is that why such beauty spills?
O’ Tell us!
Why are you so…?
How are you so…utterly beautiful?
My Beautiful, my Beloved
How do you captivate me so?
1. Guru Gobind Singh Sahib
2. Chinese honeysuckle or Rangoon creeper
Satbhari Kaur is a writer based out of Toronto.