Monday, November 29, 2004

lost in translation?

double translation.

The following fragment of poem, written by Pash, is translated from the hindi translation of the punjabi original.
but the hindi had a power and a rage that made it seem true to the original. does the english live up?
The poem is written in the voice of the swan who once fell wounded at the yet to be Buddha - Siddhartha's feet - and became the first proof of the boy's future greatness -

When I fell faltering right at your feet

You became the Buddha

But I am still wandering with broken wing

I speak from a dried up orchard far from Mansarovar

And now it's not to you

But to the soldier on the death field of Kalinga

Drawing his last breath that I say

Why is it

That enlightenment is always the twist of the noose around our necks

Soldier, why does the path to salvation

Always pass through the gate of our last choking hiccups...

Thursday, November 18, 2004

fragmentary prose marsiya


A marsiya is a poem of mourning, and this is fragmentary prose....
a twenty first century prose form that is a cultural reflection of on an eighteenth century poetic genre,
shehr-ashob = mourning the city....

'Every place in this city is a memory of loss.
Every place in this city is a loss of memory.’'

Every place in this city is a memory of loss. The truism hammered itself into my heart as we sat in the wide, mowed lawns of the world across the Ring Road, Humayun’s Tomb.

- Slanting sun fingers caressing blushing sandstone, she said, and laughed at herself for saying it.

The perfection of the marble dome rising over the marvellous intricacies of the honeycomb building with its elegantly faded red exterior simplicity, in the centre of a garden built to represent Paradise…its beauty such a cloak for the hideousness, the sheer magnitude of the loss…the dormitory of the house of Timur …where slept the beheaded Dara Shikoh in a humble bunkbed … where Bahadur Shah Zafar and retinue were arrested even before they could make a last-ditch stand …and the Delhi I will never know and can only guess at was humiliated, imprisoned, exiled …

Every place in this city is a loss of memory...

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

diwali, and excerpts from a forgotten novel...

....She taught me to love the sun, its angled gold light from November to March, Diwali to Holi, from the festival of light to the festival of colours. She taught me to look at the tarmac on evening bus rides, how it glowed gold-orange, splashing on to the road through tree shadows, how the harried crowds of Delhi hurrying home could look so beautiful. She taught me to look again at the crumbling stones of my city, how the sun spread honey over the hard blue-grey quartzite, how the inscriptions and arches were moulded by the soft light of sunrise and sunset, as parrots burst bright green through the crevices. She taught me to stay to watch the sunset through latticed Mughal windows, and the lovely, lonely patterns that the slanted sunlight cast across the floor, gradually lengthening towards the headstones of the forgotten graves, and fading before they did as night set in. She taught me what beautiful elegies the fading sun wrote in gold....

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

uncle terrorist

Connaught Place. I'm sitting in the backseat of a car, video camera in my lap, we're heading for our next location.

it's a nice gently warm November day in delhi, or would have been if it wasn't for all the exhuast from all those cars bunched close together.

i look very different from the picture you see up on the blog - the hair is cut short and respectable, and the eight day stubble is a uniform one; no imitation wolverine...

a small van pulls up next to us at the traffic light, it's full of school kids. i don't really notice then becuase i'm busy changing the tape.

then there is a round of nervous gigglinng six inches away from my window, and a kid says, with nervous glee, looking at me - 'Uncle Aatankvadi, Uncle Aatankvadi!' (Uncle Terrorist). I look up, momentarily shocked. Then I realise that from where the kid is sitting, the camera, most of its bulk concealed, could possibly pass for a gun.

The kid couldn't have been more than eight years old.
Anyonne can be a terrorist, especiially if they have a beard.

If this is what has happpened to children here in India, is it surprising that George Bush is probably winning America?

Uncle Aatankvadi.
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