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Kalpa-vruksha kanye saaThee

by Dr. Mandar V. Bichu

Song: Kalpa-vruksha kanye saaThee
Year: 1953
Composer: Vasant Prabhu
Lyricist : P. Savlaram

This Marathi non-film song is a moving expression of a distraught daughter's gratitude towards her departed father. Evocative lyrics, a superb tune and a peerless rendition- everything gels so well to make this song a gem, a milestone. It is a perfect ode to all fathers of the world!

How this song was born is a tale in itself. Lata's mother 'Maai' used to always urge the famous lyricist P. Savalaram that he should pen a song in her late great husband's memory on the occasion of his death- anniversary. Lata -who was well aware of the working of a creative mind- intervened and told her mother not to rush him into writing this song in a time-bound manner. She told Savlaram - 'Whenever you really get into that mood, then only you write it.'

After many days P. Savlaram got that right feel and wrote the opening lines. Elated with what he had conceived, he immediately phoned Lata and recited those lines. She did not say anything- just broke into sobs!

Master composer Vasant Prabhu tuned the song. The recording was over after the first take as Lata was too overcome by emotion. As soon as she finished the song, she cried out - 'Baba'!

Each and every stanza of the song is a glowing and emotional tribute to her late father Master Dinanath - a great singer in his own right. Here is my effort at a loose translation which obviously falls far short of the original.

*(Kalpa- vruksha – Wishing Tree, a mythical tree, which is supposed to fulfill all wishes. Here it is a reference to the musical legacy left by the father for Lata.)

kalpavruksha kanyesaaThee laavuniyaa baabaa gelaa
vaibhavaane baharunee aalaa, yaal kaa ho baghaayaala
yaal kaa ho baghaayaala?


After planting a Wishing tree for your daughter, O father you have gone away
Now that the tree has blossomed with the fruits of success,
Will you ever come back to see it?

tumhee gelaa aaNik tumchyaa devpaN naavaa aale
sapta swarga chaalat yetaa thorpaN tumche kaLale

When you departed, your name attained a Godly status
Now when seven heavens have walked up to me, I realize your true greatness

Gange kaaThee ghar he apule teerth-kshetra kaashee zaale
tumhaaveeN shobhaa naahee vaibhavaachyaa deuuLaalaa
vaibhavaachyaa deuuLaalaa, vaibhavaachyaa deuuLaalaa

Our house near the river-bank has today turned into a place of pilgrimage
But without you this temple of success has no real glory.

surya chandra tumche DoLe, durooneech te baghataat
kamee naahee aataa kaahee, krupa-drishTeechee barsaat

Sun and moon are your eyes, through which you keep seeing me from afar
Now there is no dearth of anything, thanks to your blessing vision.

paach boTe amrutaachee pancha-praaN tumche tyaat
paaTheevaree phirvaa haat, yaa ho baaba ekach veLaa
yaa ho baaba ekach veLaa, yaa ho baaba ekach veLaa

Your life was locked into the five fingers of your hand

*(It is a poetic reference to Dinanath’s love for his five children- Lata, Asha, Meena, Usha, and Hridaynath)

How I miss that magical touch of your loving hand on my back
How I wish you could come back just once, just once to affectionately caress my back!

kalpavruksha kanyesaaThee laavuniyaa baabaa gelaa
vaibhavaane baharunee aalaa, yaal kaa ho baghaayaalaa
yaal kaa ho baghaayaala?

After planting a Wishing Tree for your daughter, O father you have gone away
Now that the tree has blossomed with the fruits of success,
Will you ever come back to see it?

About the author
Dr. Mandar V. Bichu

Lata Online’s editor-webmaster-curator Dr. Mandar V. Bichu is a pediatrician based in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, who is also a prolific writer-journalist. His fascination for Lata Mangeshkar’s music has resulted in two books-Gaaye Lata Gaaye Lata and Lata-Voice of the golden era, and many published articles.