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Chalka chalka re

January 24, 2012

Meaning and Context:

Chalka re from Saathiya is sung at a wedding by the bride’s friends as a send-off song.  A seemingly light hearted song, it says a lot about the traditions of any Indian household on the event of the daughter’s marriage.

The meaning of the title-Chalka re kalse ka pani, is lost in its literal translation. Kalsa (kalse here) or an urn is an article of quite some importance in Hindu traditions. It holds the holy water and is an integral part of every religious ceremony. It is a symbol of prosperity and bounty. It is also the symbol of a woman as, like a woman’s womb brings forth a son-the spearhead of family future, the kalsa brings forth welfare for the family.

Here the poet has said that the water from the kalsa has spilt (a little, not entirely) which means prosperity is on its way. A daughter’s marriage is an event of a lifetime for everyone in the house and much effort goes into securing a financially secure relation. From what I have gathered after reading two-three Jane Austen novels is that it used to be like this in the west too!

The song goes on to say that the dainty little bride is now stepping out of her innocent days of childhood where her only concerns were her cows and lighting the evening lamp near the Tulasi plant (a tradition followed in most hindu homes even today). The images here depict a very rural scene but the meaning can be extended to urban and more contemporary settings.

Towards the end the women are already asking the not-yet-married girl to bear a son by next monsoon. The male child was the only desirable kind of child earlier. It may sadly still be so in some places. And the eagerness for the daughter to bear a child right after marriage is also something that used to be, but may not be so now.

So the song presents some social commentary in disguise of a cheerful ditty. Even though the words of the song may not hold much meaning today the song is quite harmless and is widely popular at weddings.

Link to the song:

The Song:

Chalka chalka re kalse ka pani
Chalka chalka re o ankh na mani

Maiya bole jaana nahee, bhaiya ko bhee maana nahee
Babul bole bas ek din kal kaa, chalka

Gudda bole jaana nahee, guddee bole jaana nahee
Sakhee bole bas ek din kal kaa, chalka

Polay polay pairo se chalee, chalee re
Baabu tere chhotee thee galee
Biti mere pichhe reh gayee, reh gayee
Pakhiyo ke niche rah gayee
Gaiya meree pyaasee rah gayee
Tulasee vaalee vaadee rah gayee
Chulha mai jalaatee rah gayee

Baabula chhoda tera angana

Ab ke jo ghar aayegee, hire vaala chhalla laayeya
Godee me khilaaye sakhiya, sakhiya
Nanha munna lalla laiyo
Abb ke jo saavan aayega
Dusaree bidaayee dolegee
Piya kee judaayee dolegee

Chalka chalka re kalse ka pani
Chalka chalka re o ankh na mani

Line by line translation:

The water spilt from the urn
It spilt as my eyes didn’t heed me

Mother said don’t go, brother’s words I didn’t heed
Father said we only have tomorrow, so spill

My doll said don’t go, my dolly said don’t go
My friends said we only have tomorrow, so spill

She walked with delicate feet
Father your lane was narrow
The past is now behind me (she said)
Left behind under something
My cow is left thirsty
The lamp for Tulasi I forgot
The stove remained unlit

Father, I am leaving your courtyard…

Next when you come home, bring a diamond ringlet with you
Whom your friends can rock in their laps
Bring such a little baby boy
Next when the monsoon would come
You will be separated again
This time from your husband (as you will come home with the baby)

The water spilt from the urn
It spilt as my eyes didn’t heed me


From → Shaadi Ke Geet

One Comment
  1. I like this song and its music also

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