I have never delved much deeper into the life of Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore. I have read his poems and been mesmerized but offlate I have been attracted to a different aspect of his personality which is that of an aashiq, a lover.

While reading up on his poems online I came across the reason behind he naming his wife as Mrinalini. He had named his wife Mrinalini because Nalini is what he would call his love interest. If this comes as a shocker to you then there’s more to this. And if you already knew this then I was living under a rock all this while!

Nalini aka Annapurna Turkhad was a daughter of founder of Prarthana samaj Dr Atmaram Turkhad. They were one of the prominent families of Bombay. So basically, a Bengali babu fell in love with a Marathi mulgi. How cool is that! This bit comes out as I am always fascinated by Bong culture so pardon me if the reading flow got interrupted.

Rabindranath Tagore came down to Bombay to learn English from Anna. And despite the fact that Anna was a tad older than Tagore, he fell in love with her. The feelings seems to have been mutual because Atmaram Turkhad is said to have suggested a marriage proposition but it was rejected by Tagore’s father because of the age gap. However, Nalini makes her appearance in number of Tagore’s works.

For instance, this one just got to me. I felt it. It is from Tagore’s poem Probhati.

Oh! Nalini open your eyes
Is sleep still to abandon its ply
See standing at your door
The rising sun’s first score
Hearing my morning song
See all around the shroud of sleep has gone.

In another he writes,

Do inscribe my name, my darling, with utmost care and affection, in the temple of your soul.

Also, I came across one heartfelt poem from his works Gitanjali.

My song has put off her adornments.

She has no pride of dress and decoration. Ornaments would mar our union; they would come between thee and me; their jingling would drown thy whispers.

My poet’s vanity dies in shame before thy sight. O master poet, I have sat down at thy feet. Only let me make my life simple and straight, like a flute of reed for thee to fill with music.

The longing for his love is quite visible too.

I am like a remnant of a cloud of autumn uselessly roaming in the sky, O my sun ever-glorious! Thy touch has not yet melted my vapour, making me one with thy light, and thus I count months and years separated from thee.

On a whim I picked up the book Tagore by K. C. Ajayakumar which is a fictional account on Poet Laureate’s life. But I do hope to find a mention of this love story in that book.

Tinsel town is abuzz with the fa t that Priyanka Chopra will be producing a film based on this love story. It will be an ambitious project bringing Marathi and Bengali film industry together. The film will be helmed by National award winning filmmaker Ujjwal Chatterjee and will star Vaidehi Parashurami and Saheb Bhattacharjee in the lead roles.

I simply cannot wait for this film to go on floors. 😍


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