Saturday, September 08, 2007

Affair with an Argentine

'Dear Gurudev, days are endless since you went away" - she wrote...

" when we were together we mostlly played with words and tried to laugh away our best opportunities. Whenever there is the least sign of the nest becoming a jealous rival of the sky .. my mind, like a migrant bird, tries to take ... flight to a distant shore." - he wrote.

She - Victoria Ocampo, the ardent Argentine admirer.

He - Rabindranath Tagore, the Indian poet
she -34 year old
he - 63 year old

It was a subtle affair, a platonic love, born on the banks of the river Plata.They spent together two unforgettable months in 1924 at the villa Miralrio of Victoria with a view of the river,in San Isidro on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. The river Plata was flowing quietly overhearing their light conversation and heavy breathing. The famous Tipa tree in the garden of the house was bending and crouching ...listening to the silence of the couple who used to sit under its shade.

He called his muse Bijaya ( victoria ).
One third of his Purabi poems are said to be inspired by this Argentine angel.

Here is a poem
" Exotic blossom, I whispered again in your ear
What is your language dear
you smiled and shook your head
and the leaves murmurred instead "

She wrote an essay " Tagore on the banks of the river Plata" and a book "Tagore en las barrancas de San Isidro"( Tagore on the ravines of San Isidro)

She gifted him the armchair in which he used to sit in her house. The chair is sitting now in the Shantiniketan museum even now cherishing and guarding the secrets of the poet and his muse. Tagore wrote a couple of poems on the chair too..


Ashok said...

There is an interesting anecdote about the armchair. I heard this from a lady (right now cant remember her name) who was a close associate of Victoria Ocampo. This was in 1976 when my father was posted in the Embassy of India in Buenos Aires.

Gurudev was fascinated with the armchair. He told Victoria how he would miss it when he went back home. As was common those days, the cabin of the ship which was to take him back had a very small door. When he entered it, he found the armchair (too big for the door)in his cabin. Victoria Ocampo had got the cabin dismantled so that the arm chair could be put in.

Sergio Leo said...

Yes, this is some latinamerican love affair...
Beautiful story.

Jeff said...

Yes, the story about those two is fascinating. I've been intending to write more about them on my Buenos Aires blog...someday I'll get around to that but I'm glad to see you post on this topic.