Yeh Kadamb Ka Ped (Subhadrakumari Chauhan)

I must have been in class II or III when I first heard कदम्ब का पेड़ (Kadamb ka Ped) and I haven’t forgotten it since. It’s been over 15 years now.

This  piece of work is by Subhadrakumari Chauhan.

The most astonishing fact is that I remember Mrs. Kadam teaching us this in class. I think what really got to me back then was its rhythm (you have to read this aloud in order to understand what I’m saying). Not just that, I think it was also the fact this was a kid saying “Mom, you know, what if?”, and this entire poem is about him imagining a world where he had this flute that would make him so awesome. And all the little shenanigans he could have pulled off.

Such a beautiful memory. I’m glad I’m putting it down and sharing it away so that 15 years from now, I’ll remember how I felt 15 years ago. Precisely.

Read on 🙂

Kadamb is a fast and beautifully growing tree with regular branching and blooms with it’s beautiful flowers in summers. It’s botanical name is Anthocephalus indicus or Anthocephalus cadamba and some of its common names are Kadamb (Hindi), Vellaikadambu (Tamil) and Kadamba  (Sanskrit). Kadamb is a fragrant and beautiful solid flower, which is round in shape.

In Mythology: Kadamb trees and flowers are universal favorite among the Gods. Krishna loved to sport in Kadamb forests, and the Mother Goddess Durga resides in a Kadamb forest (Kadamba vana vāsinī).  The Kadamb tree is popularly associated with Lord Krishna, who is usually depicted playing his flute under it. Many of Lord Krishna’s ‘Leelas’ (His pranks) are said to have taken place under Kadamb tree.



यह कदम्ब का पेड़ अगर माँ होता यमुना तीरे
मैं भी उस पर बैठ कन्हैया बनता धीरे-धीरे

ले देतीं यदि मुझे बांसुरी तुम दो पैसे वाली
किसी तरह नीचे हो जाती यह कदम्ब की डाली

तुम्हें नही कुछ कहता पर मैं चुपके चुपके आता
उस नीची डाली से अम्मा ऊँचे पर चढ़ जाता

वहीँ बैठ फिर बड़े मज़े से मैं बांसुरी बजाता
अम्मा-अम्मा कह वंशी के स्वर में तुम्हे बुलाता

सुन मेरी बंसी को माँ तुम इतनी खुश हो जातीं
मुझे देखने को तुम बाहर काम छोड़ कर आतीं

तुमको आता देख बांसुरी रख मैं चुप हो जाता
पत्तों में छिप कर फिर धीरे से बांसुरी बजाता

बहुत बुलाने पर भी माँ जब नहीं उतर कर आता
माँ, तब माँ का ह्रदय तुम्हारा बहुत विकल हो जाता

तुम आँचल फैलाकर अम्मा वहीं पेड़ के नीचे
ईश्वर से कुछ विनती करतीं बैठी आँखें मीचे

तुम्हें ध्यान में लगे देख मैं धीरे-धीरे आता
और तुम्हारे फैले आँचल के नीचे छिप जाता

तुम घबरा कर आँख खोलतीं, पर माँ खुश हो जातीं
जब अपने मुन्ना राजा को गोदी में ही पाती

इसी तरह कुछ खेला करते हम-तुम धीरे-धीरे
यह कदम्ब का पेड़ अगर माँ होता यमुना तीरे


For those who’re not so used to Hindi, here:

Yeh kadamb ka ped agar ma hota Yamuna teere
Main bhi uss par baith Kanhaiyya banta dheere-dheere

Ma, if only this Kadamb tree was beside the Yamuna
Maybe even I could have turned into something like Kanhaiyya (Krishna)


Le deti yadi mujhe baansuri tum do paise vaali
Kisi tareh neeche ho jaati yeh kadamb ki daali

If only you bought me that flute that’s worth pennies
For sure that somehow that branch of that Kadamb tree would have lowered itself for me


Tumhein nahi kuch kehta par main chupke-chupke aata
Uss neechi daali se amma unche par chadh jaata

I wouldn’t have told you but secretly climbed the tree
From the lowered branch, I would have climbed onto the higher ones


Vahin baith phir bade maze se main baansuri bajata
Amma-amma keh vanshi ke svar mein tumhein bulata

I would sit there and gleefully play my flute
And I’d call out ‘Ma! Ma!’ to you 


Sun meri bansi ko ma tum itni khush ho jaati
Mujhe dekhne tum bahar kaam chhod kar aati

Hearing the sound of my flute, I know you would have rejoiced
And you would have jumped and left everything to see me


Tumko aata dekh baansuri rakh main chup ho jaata
Patton mein chhip kar phir dheere se baansuri bajata

Seeing you coming, I would stop playing the flute and hide
Hiding behind the leaves, I would secretly play my flute again 


Bahut bulane par bhi ma jab nahi utar kar aata
Ma, ab ma ko hriday tumhara bahut vikal ho jata

Despite you calling out to me several times, I wouldn’t come down
Your heart ma, I know in your heart you would worried


Tum aanchal phaila kar amma vahin ped ke neeche
Ishwar se kuch vinti karti baithi aankhein meeche

You’d spread your dupatta and make a cozy shelter for me right under the tree
You’d sit there with your eyes closed, praying


Tumhein dhyaan mein lagi dekh main dheere-dheere aata
Aur tumhare phaile aanchal ke neeche chhip jaata

Finding you lost in prayer, I would slowly-slowly climb down
And hide under that dupatta of yours


Tum ghabra kar aankh kholti, par ma khush ho jaati
Jab apne Munna Raja ko godi mein paati

You’d open your eyes and get scared, but you’d be happy
When you find your darling boy in your lap


Issi tareh kuch khela karte hum-tum dheere-dheere
Yeh kadamb ka ped agar ma hota Yamuna teere

It would look something like this, us playing around
If only Ma, this Kadamb tree was beside the Yamuna.




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