Tagore entertains Dilip and his friendsOnce Dilip Roy and his friend, the great poet-composer and singer Atul Prasad Sen and another very great singer, Uma Bose, were invited by Tagore to Santiniketan. When they arrived, they saw that Tagore was very upset. They said to him, "Why are you so upset today? We have come. You always show us such kindness and affection. Today something has gone wrong."
Tagore said, "Wrong? I have just received a letter from someone. He is getting married. He wants me to write a poem on his wedding. Can you imagine? I have to write a poem on his wedding! I am so upset. This is a joke."
Then he said, "Dilip, do not get married. And then, if you do get married, please do not ask me to write poems on your wedding."
Dilip assured him, "No, no, you do not have to worry."
Tagore said the same thing to Uma Bose, "Never get married. Marriage is not good at all."
Then Tagore told them a comical story about marriage. He said it happened in his name, but I doubt it very much. Tagore was another joker. This is the story that Dilip and his friends heard directly from Tagore.
Tagore's relatives found a bride for Tagore. In India, that is the tradition. First the relatives make the arrangements. Sometimes the bride and groom do not even see each other before the wedding; they have such faith in their elders. Anyway, the relatives went to see the future bride and they were very, very pleased with the girl. They said she was most beautiful, plus she was an accomplished pianist. She could also play some other instruments. She was expert in everything. So the marriage was all settled.
Tagore went with a few of his friends to see the prospective bride before making a final decision. After they had waited for a few minutes, a lady who was beauty incarnate came into the room and started playing the piano. She was playing so hauntingly. Tagore was so moved, so excited and so delighted that he was going to marry this particular lady. He was swimming in the sea of ecstasy.
For about ten minutes she played. Tagore could not resist. He said to his friends, "Let me tell her that I am ready to get married. I am ready to marry her!"
Tagore's friends said, "No, no, it is not proper etiquette! Do not do that kind of thing. You will definitely get married, but do not act out of turn. We will make all the arrangements."
They did not want him to misbehave. For ten or fifteen minutes, she played, and Tagore was all the time dying to tell her that he was going to marry her.
Then, after playing the piano so hauntingly, the lady turned to the guests and said, "Now I am sending in my daughter. She will come and play for you. She has been getting ready."
When the daughter entered the room, Tagore's heart fell. She was ugliness incarnate! The mother was so beautiful and they all thought that she was the one who was supposed to be the future bride. Tagore himself was all eagerness to marry her. But she was only entertaining the guests while her daughter was getting dressed. When the daughter showed her face, it was enough. She had no beauty, nothing.
Tagore was so disappointed and disgusted. He did not want to hear her music. He only wanted to disappear. But his friends did not allow him. They said, "No, it is not appropriate, not appropriate. You have to stay here with us for some time."
The daughter played the piano and went away. Then the friends informed the mother that the marriage was cancelled.
After telling this story, Tagore once more advised Dilip, "Dilip, never get married!"
This was Dilip Roy's funny, funny story about Tagore. Whether it actually happened in Tagore's life or not, we do not know.
By the way, I have recently come to learn that Atul Prasad's cousin was Sahana-di, my Ashram mother. What a small world! He himself was an excellent composer. I have freely borrowed the melody from his supreme song "Balo balo balo sabe" for my song "Chalo chalo chalo chalo".