In these six couplets of PARI’s Grindmill Songs Project, Gangubai Ambore of Tadkalas village sings about summer mornings, concern for her son feeling the heat, and her husband’s pride in a virtuous wife

In the hot month of May, this instalment of the Grindmill Songs Proiect contains songs about summer.

Gangubai Ambore of Tadkalas village in Parbhani district sings four ovi in her strong, soulful voice. Her ovi opened the Grindmill Songs Project on PARI on March 8 – songs suffused with sorrow, her voice spoke of long years of loneliness — and it captivated listeners .

PHOTO • Bernard Bel

In the first of six couplets here, Gangubai sings that she sees Lord Ram on waking up in the morning when she opens the door of the house.

In the second song, she says that on getting up in the morning, she sweeps the market street in their locality and the god Maruti, Lord Ram’s messenger, has arrived.

In the third couplet, the singer tells us that in the morning on waking, the image of Lord Ram at the altar of the tulsi plant is the first sight she beholds.

In the fourth verse, Gangubai sings that it is very hot in the month of Chaitra, and she worries about her son, who she says is the gold in her talisman. (In the Hindu lunar calendar, Chaitra begins in March/ April)

In the fifth ovi , she sings that her son feels the scorching heat on his forehead and wants nice clothes for her beloved son, her Gopala. (Her son is like Lord Krishna for her).

In the sixth song, the singer tells us that when she walks outside the home, she looks nowhere, and her husband is very pleased with this behaviour and feels proud of her.

सकाळी उठूनी हात माझा कवाडाला
राम नदरी पडला

सकाळी उठूनी झाडीत होते पेठ रस्ता
राजा मारवती देव आलाय रामाचा गुमस्ता

आत्ता सकाळी उठूनी हात माझा कवाडाला
तुळशीच्या वृंदावनी राम नदरी पडला

असं उन्हाळ्याचं ऊन ऊन लागत चईताचं
असे माझे गं पंडीत सोन माझ्या ताईताचं

असं उन्हाळ्याच ऊन लागत गं कपाळाला
बाळा माझ्या पंडीताला दसती दंड गोपाळाला

अशा रस्त्याने चालले पाहीना मी कोणीकड
राया माझ्या देसायाला समुद्राला पाणी चढं

sakāḷī uṭhūnī hāta mājhā kavāḍālā
rāma nadarī paḍalā

sakāḷī uṭhūnī jhāḍīta hōtē pēṭha rastā
rājā māravatī dēva ālāya rāmācā gumastā

āttā sakāḷī uṭhūnī hāta mājhā kavāḍālā
tuḷaśīcyā vṛndāvanī rāma nadarī paḍalā

asa unhāḷyāca ūna ūna lāgata cītāca
asē mājhē ga paṇḍīta sōna mājhyā tāītāca

asa unhāḷyāca ūna lāgata ga kapāḷālā
bāḷā mājhyā paṇḍītālā dasatī daṇḍa gōpāḷālā

aśā rastyānē cālalē pāhīnā mī kōṇīkaḍa
rāyā mājhyā dēsāyālā samudrālā pāṇī caḍha

On getting up in the morning, my hand opens the door
My eyes behold Ram

On getting up in the morning, I was sweeping the street in the locality
King Maruti, the god, has come as Ram’s messenger

Just now, on getting up in the morning, my hand opens the door
I behold Ram near the tulsi altar

It is so hot in the month of Chaitra
Pandit, my son, is the gold of my talisman

The forehead is feeling the scorching heat of summer
A scarf on the head and shoulders suits Pandit, my son, my Gopala

I walk on the road, I don’t look here and there
My dear husband feels great, the sea water rises up as if it’s high tide

Note: The rising sea water denotes the pride that the husband feels about having a virtuous wife.

Profile shot of Gangubai Ambore (The grindmillsongs project)
PHOTO • Bernard Bel

Performer/ Singer: Gangubai Ambore

Village: Tadkalas

Taluka: Purna

District: Parbhani

Gender: Female

Caste: Maratha

Age: 56

Education: None

Children: 1 daughter

Occupation: From a family that had 14 acres; she was dispossessed and lived in a temple in the village.

Date: These songs were recorded on April 7, 1996

Poster: Shreya Katyayini


PARI Grindmill Songs Project Team: Asha Ogale (translation); Bernard Bel (digitisation, database design, development and maintenance); Jitendra Maid (transcription, translation assistance); Namita Waikar (project lead and curation); Rajani Khaladkar (data entry).

Other stories by PARI GSP Team
Editor and Series Editor : Sharmila Joshi

Sharmila Joshi is former Executive Editor, People's Archive of Rural India, and a writer and occasional teacher.

Other stories by Sharmila Joshi