Flute Music: Summary

The poem ‘Flute Music’ unveils the life of a bachelor clerk who is constantly at war with his poverty. The article attempts to provide a Flute Music: Summary by Rabindranath Tagore.

Flute Music: Summary

The poem portrays a poor clerk named Haripada who lives in the alley of a milkman named Kinu. The room is dark, shabby, and unhygienic, difficult for human habitation. One could see the picture of Lord Ganesha, the bringer of good fortune hanging on the wall. Apart from the clerk, a lizard holds a share of the room. The clerk with a monthly salary of twenty-five rupees has to make his living. He manages his food from Datta’s house for teaching their children. To mitigate the expenses of light, he spends the evening in the Sealdah station, where he becomes a witness to the cacophonous bustle of the city life. He returns home at half-past seven, tired and worn off by his dark alley and monotonous life.

His relatives used to stay on the banks of the river Dhaleswari. He was supposed to marry his aunt’s brother-in-law. However, the marriage could not materialize as he ran away from the holy ceremony thinking of the innocent girl, her future plight, and his own unfortunate self. The eternal reminiscent of that moment, the bridal dress image- the Dacca sari, vermilion on her forehead.

During the monsoon, the ‘tram’ fair raises the cost, but his wage gets curtailed due to his late arrival at the office. As, such the alley looks like a heap of garbage, a foul-smelling hell to be compared with. The umbrella with numerous holes makes him drenched, and the walls of his room are totally damp. A deep psychological misery intertwines his life and leads him to desperation.

Amidst such a grim atmosphere, the poet introduces the character of Kantababu. A man of culture, a typical Bengali Babu who is indeed a great connoisseur of music. Sometimes he would play in the morning, and at times during the afternoon and midnight. On that particular day, he played the Sindhu-Baroya Raag, which highlighted the theme of ‘eternal pangs of separation.’ A feeling of disgust and a current of intensified pain made their way straight into the clerk’s heart and reminded him of his perpetual separation from his would-be wife.

The girl with the bridal dress would flange in his mind, reminding him of his unfulfilled desire. The poet now makes some interesting concluding remarks. “Nothing distinguishes  the clerk from Emperor Akbar.” This is because of the fact, “our sweetest songs are those which tells us the saddest thought.” The raag of Kantababu accentuates the pain of Haripada, which at times Akbar might also have felt listening to music. The sad music unites their heaven, being the pleasure of their pain.

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