Posted by: Monideepa Tarafdar | August 6, 2009

Of Days Gone By

One perennially favorite song of Bengalis, no matter where they happen to be living, is “Purano Shei Diner Kotha”, translated as “Stories of days gone by”. Written and composed by Rabindranath Tagore, and loosely based, as I recently found out, on the Scottish poem/ song Auld Lang Syne, the song evokes pictures of childhood moments such as swinging from trees, running in the woods and playing with friends. Whether in Calcutta (the city that is unarguably the keeper of Tagore’s legacy) or anywhere else in the world, I have always found this is one song that, if there are more than two-three Bengalis that get to talk for more than twenty minutes together, will invariably be talked about or sung. So for these days, when I am going to be spending more than a few months in India with friends and family, here is the song and my translation from the Bengali original. If you have come across other versions of translations, please do send them across.

The Way We Were

(A version of Purano Shei Diner Kotha)

How can we forget the memories

Of our childhood gone by?

Things our eyes saw, stories our hearts told

Of our childhood gone by?

Come once again my friends,

Come let us play our old parts.

Let us talk about our joys and troubles,

Let us fill up and pour out our hearts.

Remember how we walked the meadows at dawn,

And plucked the dew-wet flowers?

Remember how we played our flutes, sang our songs

And swung from the trees and bowers?

Alas in the midst of all that

Why did we part so?

We grew up –

Where did everyone go?

Let us once again meet my friends

And play our old parts

If only in our minds,

If only in our hearts.

How can we forget the memories

Of the days gone by?

Things our eyes saw, stories our hearts told

Of the days gone by?

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