Reading With New Eyes


There is now a definite change in the way one approaches words. I have always been fascinated by words; but there is a subtle difference in the way I view them. It happened after I metamorphosed into a translator. (One wing at a time) Every adjective and adverb tantalize me… The four hundred page tome that I am blessed to work with (a dream project)  is scribbled all over : both with Biblical references  and words that have sprung  unexpected surprises on me.

The paragraph with the reference marked Sirach 24: 14 , also has on its fringes ‘affliction, persecution and Jeremiads.’

John 13: 21 is  written on another page and it shares humble space with  ‘fleer, capricious and surly’.

Lamentations 1:1 is  scribbled at one place with the edges of the page rimmed with ’embroiled, otiose quivers and duplicitous.’

Note: The divine references have no relations with the eagerly scribed words. Those are inspirations  from books,  the kindle, newspapers, even from the mouth of babes (literally from my little girl..)Words  which intrigued me- for they were exactly what I had been searching for at some juncture of the project. Speak about the teacher appearing when the student is ready!

I have started observing the common comma, the humble hyphen, the innocuous period all rather alertly and with appropriate awe.  Phrases such as  ‘to be seized by foreboding’ and ‘words which carried after her retreating figure’, have halted me in my tracks like a country girl in a city party gaping at the pomp and glory. From Gothic novels to newspaper editorials and Coleman Barks with his ecstatic rendering of Rumi’s poetry, I am being constantly tempted by the delectable pleasures- thankfully not forbidden- of words and metaphors.

‘ I was a thorn rushing to be with a rose,

vinegar blending with honey, a pot of

poison turning to healing salve, pasty

wine dregs thrown in the millrace. I was

a diseased eye reaching for Jesus’ robe…’

(Ahhhhh! Rumi!)

‘Nightingale, iris, parrot, jasmine. I speak those

languages, along with the idiom

of my longing for Shams-i Tabriz.’


I am also adding cloisonne door knobs, fleur-de-lis pattern, carved cinnabar bowl,fine parquetry, rosettes, rattling and soughing branches,  aquamarine streaks of beauty…in my fast growing notes.

A reader lives a thousand lives in just one lifetime. A translator, my dears, a translator lives a dual existence. In one,  she is the reader with the thousand odd lives. In the other, a ghost who walks, a phantom of delight, who gets to dive into the deep blue sea waters of one language and emerge on a gorgeous cove of another language…What divine grace is that indeed… May the Lord keep filling my coffers with more of His works.