Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Blessing in Disguise...

A chance request heralded in a refreshing change in life. My uncle needed a malayalam translation of an interview he gave for his forthcoming novel. I hesitantly embarked on it, scared of not being able to do justice to something that would be appearing in the papers, 10 years after i last wrote something seriously in malayalam, the 10th ICSE exams and barely escaped from disaster. But the words flooded in, the beauty of the malayalam language manifested itself in me, something that never happened in 10 years of cramming malayalam at school. Oh! I have rediscovered a lost love. All the years of wondering whether I squandered a legacy in the mother tongue has lingered like a permanent scar, several times in life i have rued my overt fascination for the english literature at the cost of malayalam, but this time I am determined to make a new beginning.

And so a new beginning, i think i am making...a friend who has come into life like a whiff of fresh air, a person who has begun to make me think in new dimensions, look at human relationships from new perspectives and introduced me to paradigms in philosophy and psychology i had not cared to observe...handed me a collection of 6 scripts of M.T.Vasudevan Nair. I took it up pessimistically, with a valid reason too...none of the 6 films, Kuttiyettathi, Murapennu, Olavum Theeravum, Nirmalyam, Iruttinte Athmave and Kanyakumari...I had not had the priviledge of watching. I wondered how I could relate with it, but what an experience it has been, scripts as a branch of literature have come to stay!! MT's character have so much life and feeling in them, he invests his simple stories with such multi-dimensional relationships and the beauty of his language just leaves you captivated. As I write this, i am a fortunate reader transported to the banks of Bharathapuzha, wondering if characters and families like this still live, whether time has eroded the values, stigmas and burdens these people carried and so much more.

Its been ages since that romantic feeling coursed through my veins, I never thought it possible again...somehow i have become charged and inspired to pick up my pen and start scribbling in malayalam my thoughts, and the also resume an old habit that i thought had died in me...of writing little stories. Its such a painful, tiring process...to be laboring with the language thats my mother tongue, my diary which had for so long been eclipsed by this blog is coming alive again...i know its now or never. Its like the next few months are all I have been given to do all I want, before I sacrifice myself at the altar of what's still a maddening world to me...of careers, consumerism and monotony. When MT talks of silent, sometimes unrequited love i gush at how convincing and universal his characters still are, i wonder if it will remain so for eternity. I once read of how all of MT's male characters are weak, vacilliating, defeated creatures and how somebody wrote a peice called Shantante Amarsham(An Impotent Man's Rage) deriding him...but i now think no amount of criticism can take this man's genius away from him.

Anyways I just cant wait to head back home, walk into DC Books and come out with a shelf-load of modern malayalam literature. All those years in college of fretting at long, boring homilies at Sunday mass where I was more impressed by the command of the priests over the malayalam language rather than the message they strived hard to impart, and the online reading of Manorama, Deepika and Kaumudi must have struck root in me somewhere. Else I wonder how I achieved my little feat of doing the translation...i was about to give up even before i looked at it, but my dad, my most earnest motivator urged me to look at it as an opportunity...tonite as i pen this post down in my diary to take to the cafe and key it down, i wish you readers could feel my euphoria, my excitement and happiness at discovering a lost love. When life gets too boring and that accursed question mark hovers about you...a blessing comes in disguise.

24 comments:

mp said...

Good job Jiby! Maybe you'd want to blog some of your Malayalam creations. You can be sure to get some readers from the Malayali blogosphere.

(Check out varamozhi if you haven't already.)

Dhanush said...

I have been reading your posts here and there, but never commented. But today I would for you have wrote about my most favourite Malayalam writer, M.T, and about Malayalam. Malayalam is a great language, a language that is so pure and beautiful, once you know the essence of it.

I have that same book of yours, the scripts one. It is a real good one, you must read other books too. His "MTyude Theranjedutha Kathakal gives you most of his short stories". I can really understand what you mean when you are `transported to the banks of Bharathapuzha' for I have read, re-read and re-read and again re-read his works, so that they are etched in my memory. And the beauty is he writes it all simple, in and around Nila.

The critic may be true in saying that the male characters are weak and defeated creatures. Be it Appuni, Sethu, Bhiman, Govindankutti or the Vasu himself they are all weak at some point of time. But that doesn't mean that they are defeated for ever. All of them bounce back to conquer something or the other. And yes, no amount of criticism can fade him.

Writing Blog in Malayalam is a bit tedious, but do-able. I have done that in my chall-dhanno and photo blog(Instructions are there). So do write your stories and publish them. The Boolokam (as the Malayalam BlogWorld is called) will read it. For your non malayalee readers translate them to English too, now that you have got an experience in translating. And as I read this I can feel how your stories would be developed as this blog is simple and pure. The feeling you have are etched in a nice way. I can feel the euphoria. Truly!!

Some books to get from DC Books

Naalukettu, Randamoozham (Must Read), Asuravithu,Kaalam,Manju,Vilapayaathra, MTyude Theranjedutha Kathakal(This was out of stock, but you will get from www.dcbookstore.com), Stories like Ninte Ormakku, Sherlock, Vaanaprastham, Kuttyedathi, Oppol, Palivaalum kalchilambum - Man I really wish if I could by heart them all. Check out some lists here too


Cheers Buddy!!

silverine said...

One can almost feel your exhileration!!! Good work Jiby,I am sure this is a start to great things. Heck, now I am gonna try and read some Malayalam books, esp since I know how to read Malayalam.

Best of luck!!

Thanu said...

I wish cud read mal this well so I can read a good book. All i can read in balarama (not that it is not a good book, and just takes me hours.

Jisha said...

chach…i read ur translation…..just sat there stunned for some time….didnt even think u could do one line of it…….u did a really good job…..hate to admit it but felt really proud of u after reading it…….
me commenting for the first time on ur blog…….can feel ur excitement…wanted to be a part of it…..

Jiby said...

Manoj, i dont have a laptop now...so using varamozhi is out of the question for now...my way of blogging is quite primitive these days...i scribble in a diary and then bring it to the cafe and blog!!! i will try and begin blogging in malayalam as soon as i get back to tvm.

Dhanush, thanks for the long comment. i will surely grab all those books u said. infact i have been rueing at my laziness for not getting randam oozham when i was in tvm. I have watched almost all of MT's films since the mid-80's but besides his genius other factors like the direction, the actor's performance and the visual effect would hold my eye...this is the first time i read a malayalam script and felt for myself his greatness. Thank you so much for that list...i just cant wait to get started.

silverine, i guess we both are in the same boat then...good luck to you too!!! every literary work in malayalam i have read till date though miserly in number has impressed me.

thanu, dont be discouraged...folks like u who find it tough to read malayalam, study with me. they have a malayalam paper to face, and instead of going to basics they are reading novels to get up to speed.

jish, inne kaaka malanne parakkumo???u gave me a real surprise, gal. thanks, for that first comment!!!

Anonymous said...

Jiby,
Whenever I read MT's 'Oppol',I get so affected that I find my eyes brimming ...

Reading 'Randaamozham' was such a beautiful experience that I felt being taken to a different world...

Don't miss S.K.Pottekaad....His way of characterization is matchless...His 'Oru Desattinte Katha' is indeed a masterpiece...

Anonymous said...

dey ninte translation eniku ayachu thaade....jnan onnu vaayikkette....and i can certainly feel ur excitement..cant wait to see you on august!

Shan

Jiby said...

anon, am definitely looking forward to reading those books. thank you for the suggestions. wuld have loved to put a name to your comment.

shan, nee ivide varumbam athe kaanikkaam and a lot more other stuff. with u gonna be around i am surely looking forward to some good fun.

Isaac Karoor said...

Hi Jiby, thank you for the excellent translation of the English text of my interview into Malayalam. Kerala Express in Chicago will be publishing it soon.

My novel is going to be released on July 4th, the day the United States celebrates its national independence. I consider this day of its release as symbolic since my novel is about freedom and dignity of women.

Now what about translating the whole novel into Malayalam?

Anonymous said...

jabba

like old wine, u seem to be maturing with age ;-) just read your last 3 blogs at one go and was damn impressed. awesomely well written stuff. why don't you put this on the mailing grp as well?

jaru

Anand K said...

Bravo! Rediscovered your roots, eh? Good...
I try to appreciate malayalam literature but short stories (Padmarajan, NS Madhavan, Kaakkanaadan, B Murali especially) and some novels(Randaam Oozham, Asuravitthu etc) and the histories are as far as I could go. Never liked poetry (in any language for that matter). Thing is, I spend so much time on extra-academic reading in English fiction-nonfiction, religion and folklore all my life (at some cost to my academics) that I never could go deep into my own language. Darn!

Another factor is I suck in *writing* malayalam... I can read pretty fast but the complicated grammar, accents, metre and the very alphabets form a sort of grating dissonance in my skull! Strange eh, coming from the son of a Malayalam Prof?! Pssst....My Mom is ashamed of me at this! Well, Mallu is an extremely difficult language but still that's no excuse for a Keralaputran. :P

Ahhh, hope I fix this in the future...

Geo said...

thats cool, man...
u r scaling new heights…
congrats…

I too am an ardent MT fan… Don’t, please don’t miss Randaamoozham. It’s a classic

(Now I am afraid whether you will find it ordinary after all these praises about it)

silverine said...

You are tagged ! :)

Arjun Ramakrishnan said...

when I watch the horrible malayalam movies of today, I think we lack good scipts like the ones MT wrote. MT not only brought fame to Malayalam language and literature, but his contribution to Malayalam cinema is also great. of course, cinema is a much more far-reaching medium than books and as such, I think MT has affected the Malayali conscience a lot more through his scripts.

I also took to Malayalam books late and that is something I regret. but it didn't take me long to realize that Malayalam has an enviable literary heritage. now I have made up my mind to read all the good works in time.

all the best for your endeavors, we should do more and we owe a lot more to Malayalam I think.

Cheers

Jiby said...

jaru, nice to see ur comment here man. why dont u start blogging too??

pappanabho, u atleast kept reading someting or the other all those years...while i rotted!

geo, after ur praises for randamoozham in that post u wrote sometime back i have been rearing to read it like crazy. dont think MT can ever disappoint me.

silverine, its on the way!!!

arjun, all of us loyolites have been afflicted by this belated malayalaphilia!! must have to do with the well-stocked library of english books we have there.

Kurur said...

Interesting post Jiby!

Besides MT, there are many writers (most of them "pravasi" like you and me) who have been instrumental in letting the world know how lyrical a language Malayalam is. O V Vijayan, M Mukundan, Anand and more... Perhaps the best of the lot was the late VKN who was unique in his line of work and remarkable in his treatment of subjects and characters.

There seems to be some force at work which urges an Non Resident Malayali (or pravasi) to churn out marvellous works of literature. Perhaps its the longing for his motherland, spurred on by lingering memories...

Johnny said...

Some of my malayalee friends don't know to read or write malayalam.

Once one of my friend told a female."Ne enne manabhanga peduthi". He thought "manabhanga peduthe" is the malayalam translation of demoralization.

Gr8 malayaless!

Hope to read your malayalam posts soon.

Suji said...

Reached here thru Silverine's blog. Congrats on your translation efforts. Malayalam is truly a great language. As they say it is as high as the mountains (Mala) and as deep as the ocean (Aazham). Wish I could read Malayam fluently. Takes me hours to read a page. :(

Inji Pennu said...

ജിബ്യേ,
എന്നാല്‍ മലയാളത്തില്‍ എപ്പഴാ എഴുതാ? ഇത്രേം മനോഹരമായി ഇംഗ്ലീഷില്‍ എഴുതുന്നുണ്ടെങ്കില്‍ അതു ഒന്ന് മലയാളത്തിലും കൂടി എഴുതാമെങ്കില്‍...
മലയാളം ബ്ലോഗുകള്‍ കണ്ടിട്ടുണ്ടോ? പറഞ്ഞോളൂട്ടൊ..നല്ല അടിപൊളി മലയാളം ബ്ലോഗുകള്‍ കാണിച്ചു തരാം..ഇനി ഇന്‍സ്പിരേഷന്‍ വേണമെങ്കില്‍...

Jiby said...

sandeep, will look forward to reading the authors u said. yeah i agree with the force that works in nri's that makes them return to their roots.

johnny, that was damn funny man!!

suji, even i needed a lot of time like u...started reading newspapers though most of them are crap and things have changed.

lg, i sit at a cafe and cant read this malayalam font...when i go home i'll look forward to reading it!

Freudian Slip said...

Your blog is a mixture of being insightful while at the same time good natured humor. I enjoy reading it, keep it coming :)
Matt

hackingtom said...

Your observation is great. Thanks for thinking positively on Malayalam. Its a great language. It has lots of great patron in each time. From Ezhuthachan onwards... It has Basheer, VKN, MT, Thakazhi, OV Vijayan, Mukundan... the list goes on and on... English is a very beautiful language. But here we have a faulty system to ignore (and sometimes to insult) our beautiful mother tongue. Your blog reminds the greatness of Malayalam Language and its matured literature.... Well done, Sir.

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