If you have not lived in a concrete jungle all your life, you would have definitely heard different bird calls. Who is not captivated by the the koel singing in it’s sweet voice, perched on the branches of a mango tree in spring time?

Common crow Crow

Koel Koel

One well known samskrita shlOka says thus:

काकः कृष्णः पिकः कृष्णः को भेदो पिककाकयोः
वसन्तकाले सम्प्राप्ते काकः काकः पिकः पिकः

The crows is black, the koel is black.
Pray, tell me the difference ?
Come spring time, you’ll see
Who’s the crow and who’s the Koel!

ಕಾಗೆಯು ಕಪ್ಪು ಕೋಗಿಲೆ ಕಪ್ಪು
ಎಲ್ಲಿದೆ ಏನಿದೆ ವ್ಯತ್ಯಾಸ ?
ವಸಂತಕಾಲವು ಬಂದಿರೆ ತಾನು
ಆಗುವುದದು ಖಂಡಿತ ಭಾಸ !

Sometime back I had written about samasyA pooraNam in Samskrita, and in Kannada. A few days ago, I got a couplet from a visitor to my Kannada blog. I found it very interesting. I had not read or heard about this before. I am not sure if is a good samasya-pooraNam example, but it could very well be one.

The couplet has only two consonents in it – r and t. I guess it is very hard to write poetry like this in other language. At least for people like me 🙂

Here it goes the shlOka:

तारतारतरैरेतैः उत्तरोत्तरतोरुतैः ।
रतार्त तित्तिरी रौति तीरेतीरे तरौतरौ ॥

To make it comprehendable, I have to split the compound words as below:

तार तारतरैः एतैः उत्तरोत्तरतः ऋतैः ।
रतार्त तित्तिरी रौति तीरेतीरे तरौतरौ ॥

tAra tArataraiH EtaiH uttarOttarataH RutaiH |
ratArta tittirI rauti tIrE tIrE tarau tarau ||

Here is my attempted translation into Kannada:

ತಾರತಾರಕ್ಕೆ ಏರುವ ದನಿಯಲಿ
ರತಿರಾಗದಲಿ ಜೊತೆಬಯಸುವ ತಿತ್ತಿರಿ
ರೋದಿಸಿತದು ಕೆರೆಕೊಳಗಳ ತೀರ
ತೀರದಲಿ ಮರಗಿಡಗಳ ನಡುವಲಿ

I don’t have to reiterate that I have not kept the special feature of the original!

The couplet is describs the plight of a female partrige bird that is looking for a mate among the trees on the shores of lakes and ponds, calling in sounds that go to higher and higher pitch with each of it’s calls.

I have never seen a Partridge (tittirI, ತಿತ್ತಿರಿ) anytime in wild – But here you can see one here, thanks to google search 🙂  The closest I have come across a partridge is in the Christmas song – A partrige in a pear tree!

When I am talking about birds, I should definitely tell about the cAtaka bird. This bird is supposed to drink only the rainwater that is falling from the clouds, and not drink any other water. So, no wonder that it calls out for rain. The cAtaka bird ( A form of cuckoo, Cuculus Melanoleucus as per some sources on the web; Some other sources equated it to the Pied Cuckoo and the bibeeha bird, neither of which is identical to Cuculus Melanoleucus) has become a well known poetic image in Samskrita.

Bhartrhari writes thus:

रे रे चातक सावधानमनसा मित्र क्षणं श्रूयताम्
अम्भोदाः बहवो हि सन्ति गगने सर्वेपि नैतादृशाः
केचित् वृष्टिभिरार्द्रयंति धरणीम् गर्जंति केचिद् वृथा
यं यं पश्यसि तस्य तस्य पुरतो मा ब्रूहि दीनं वचः

Oh, CAtaka bird, give me a patient hearing, just for a minute
There are plenty of clouds in the sky; but none so alike
Some drench the earth with copious rain; others thunder in vain
So don’t be an indigent and supplicate in front of everyone!

Although he is addressing a bird, it is very clear who he is takling to!

To end this post, here is my translation of this subhAshita in kannaDa:

ಎಲೇ ಚಾತಕ, ಸಾವಧಾನ ಮನದಿ ಕೇಳು ಒಂದೆರಡು ಕ್ಷಣ
ಬಾನಲಿಹವು ಹಲವು ಮುಗಿಲು; ಆದರೊಂದೊಂದೂ ವಿಭಿನ್ನ.
ಮಳೆಯ ಸುರಿಸಿದರೆ ಕೆಲವು, ಬರಿದೆ ಗುಡುಗುವುವು ಕೆಲವು
ಅದಕೆ ನೀ ಕಂಡ ಕಂಡಲ್ಲೆಲ್ಲ ತೋರದಿರು ದೈನ್ಯವನ್ನ