Thursday, May 27, 2010

Vedanti helidanu (Sage and the poet)

An accomplice sent in lyrics of a song from a Puttanna Kanagal movie Maanasa Sarovara and asked me if I could try translating it into English. The song showcases some disapproving views of a sage on materialistic life, women and luxuries juxtaposed with romantic, optimistic views of a poet on the same.

Vedanti helidanu, honnella maNNu maNNu,
kaviyobba haadidanu, maNNella honnu honnu.

Vedanti helidanu, ee heNNu maaye maaye,
kaviyobba kanavarisidanu, hoon ivale cheluve cheluve,
ivaLa joteyalli naa swargavane gelluve,
naa swargavane gelluve.

Vedanti helidanu, ee baduku shunya shunya,

kavi nintu saaridanu, ooo idu alla shunya,
janma janmadi savide naaneshtu dhanya dhanya,
naaneshtu dhanya dhanya.

I tried using the same pattern as in the original, which appeared to follow a sort of dismissive, direct one liners for the vedanti and a slightly more detailed, happy counter arguments from the kavi. Regretting any injustice to the original, here's an attempt at translation:

Said the wise one, gold just is mud, worthless muck;
Sang, the poet, soil is gold, precious, priceless gold;

Said the wise one, woman, an enigma is she, a mystery;
In romantic trance, soliloquized the poet,
yes, she’s the moon, the radiant moon;
with her, win the world over, will I,
reign supreme, will I.

Denounced the wise one, this existence is void of essence, shorn of substance;
The poet, he announced,
Oh, hollow, this is not,
for, I have relished, transcending all births;
fortunate, am I, so privileged am I.