When I started the English translation of this wonderful novel written in my mother tongue, by some one I personally consider as one of the finest writers I have ever read, the total of the page numbers looked rather formidable.The language- so poetic, the metaphors- deep and dark and resonating at regular intervals, the craft- exquisite, the characters- haunting. The theme – enchanting. The novel, well, as a reader let me say that I had finished it at one huge gulp, skipping breakfast and lunch.
“Wonderful,” writes the author and sends me her love and affection. To her, I say, “Thank you dear…for the privilege. I learned much about myself in the journey, and hope to learn more in the years that we’ll work together. Your wise perspectives have certainly broadened my outlook in life.”
The main character sat next to me and told me to use, “impassive” instead of “indifferent” since he said, he was really bleeding inside all the while , did I not see, as he put forth that ice cold face for the world. Somehow, he felt “impassive” caught that idea better. Well, I shrugged, you were a damn fool were you not, by the way ? You did act indifferent when so many were struggling for your compassion, so why try to take refuge under “nonchalant” and all those synonyms now, when no one cares a damn any more and the truth is staring at you on the face? The fact is, I coughed, you are blind -factually and metaphorically. And unless you dare to open your own inner eyes, you will never see the truth. He looked indifferent.
When she came in, her long hair swaying, and looked at me with her half lidded eyes, she murmured that I should try to paint her in darker tones of pain. I am a good artist, I retort, and I know exactly how many tints of grey to colour you with. You went all out to claim what you thought was yours, did you not? And there you are – the ash coloured sari, the haunted eyes, the large heart, and that serpentine envy within you. But then, you played a brilliant last move, my dear. I wish I could have shaken you hard. From the depths of the well, she croaks out to me: I was the main heroine, did you not see? I did, I did, I say- without any words. You loved too much, you poor woman.
When she traipses in, radiant and dimpled, I take a deep look. Amazing creation! You light up lamps wherever you go, do you not-literally and metaphorically- you beautiful woman, you have that gift within, do you not ? What is that strange fascination that you hold over the male imagination? Eternal, cliched, and rather ridiculous at first impressions, if I may say so. The author, she obviously had a great time, creating you. But I, I saw the real you only towards the end. What resilience, what strength…I am amazed by your radiance. All cliches flew out of the window as you emerged from within the dewy drops of imagination and sat down in sunshine, near me. I started liking you.
As for you, dear friend, whose palm smells like an ink plant, you epitomise what happens when friends get intimidated by those they care for. You also showcased the turmoils when a friend becomes an alter ego. Then you emerged from your friend’s shadows and you grew up fast. It took someone special, but one could see the change. Even the smell of your palm changed, did it not?
I loved the journey with all of you. A translator is like a stepparent. Though one does not give life, the responsibility of making the child thrive in a new environment, is all yours. Let us see when the child takes the stage-the world will verify if both sets of parents had played their roles well.