The Broken Home- Translation by Lopa Banerjee

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To retain the quintessential  essence of Gurudev’s work, is a herculean challenge.The native language is definitely the fulcrum of a writer’s work and translating it in a foreign language sometimes leads to destruction of balance between thoughts, imagery, language and off course the beauty of the prose in consideration. To quote noted lyricist Gulzar: “Translation is not only about displaying a meaning in another language. A language carries a complete culture. The culture of its vocabulary needs to be translated. If readers can’t feel the shades of the character and the links of the scene, it hasn’t been  translated properly.”

Lopa Banerjee’s translation of Tagore’s famous novella  ”The Broken Nest”  is a commendable attempt to lay bare to the world -Tagore’s compassionate and lyrical portrayal of the angst of an intelligent beautiful woman Charu trying to break free of ennui by dabbling into the imaginary world of prose and poetry. In her flights of fantasy Charu is ably supported by her brother-in-law Amal. The tapestry of their relationship is permeated by mutual respect, love for words, yearning for a beautiful world. It is foolhardy to give a name to their relationship or inanely name it as attraction or passion. Both of them nurture each other and this draws their soul together. Bhupati, Charu’s husband in his attempt to enlighten the world through his newspaper venture fails to recognize Charu’s need for companionship- this vacuity is fulfilled by Amal till probably it becomes too much for Amal to handle and Amal resolves to set sail to foreign shores to break free from the fetters of a relationship that the myopic world would label as illicit. It never probably occurred to Bhupati to fuel his hearth lamp so that it could shine more luminously- the  crack in his hearth was beyond Bhupati’s comprehension till it was too late.

Banerjee, through her skilled use of language deftly translates Tagore’s portrayal of the New Woman (nabeena), struggling to break free from the confined space of andar mahal/antahpur (inner domain) in the patriarchal society of pre-colonial Bengal. The end of the nineteenth century witnessed the advent of the New Woman -educated in literature yet forced to remain within the confines of the inner domains which led to clash of the New Woman with  the traditional woman practicing old ways of life. Banerjee, deftly etches such dramatic turmoil between Charu and Manda. The trials and tribulations of each persona of this Tagore novella has been beautifully brought out in Banerjee’s translated work. She has arguably emerged as a translator par excellence.

As a reader I was spellbound by the atmosphere created by Banerjee of a bygone era- an era that sowed the seeds of future promise – the struggles that women of Bengal undertook during those times has enabled women like me to spend a considerable portion of childhood free of any dogmatic shackles in my Bengal. Thank you Lopa Banerjee for reminding me of the history of my city.

Kudos Lopa Banerjee and looking forward to many more.

© Dr. Paromita Mukherjee Ojha, 2018

 

 

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Ashtavakra and Other Poems by Vineetha Mekkoth

Ashtavakra and Other Poems


 Authored By: Vineetha Mekkoth


Publisher:  Authorspress


ISBN-13: 9789386722522


Year of Publication: 2017

1501473879

Some poems are read in a frenzied haste to imbibe the superficial essence….Some are read in tranquility at a leisurely pace to immerse your soul in the pleasurable experience that the poet offers through His/Her vision/ruminations on the varied kaleidoscope that we mortals simply call ‘Human Life’. Vineetha Mekkoth’s  ‘Ashtavakra and Other Poems’ entranced me enough to commence on this poetic journey together where I confidently let her hold my hand and let her imagination take me to that promised land of colour and sweet nothings( Extract from the poem –Place your hand in mine, dear).

Like a brimming, playful river that charts its own course with each bend opening new vistas of undulated, virgin land, each poem in this collection posits a new facet of the poet’s unbridled imagination and concern for human life and travesties of modern so called educated society. The lines from the very first poem of this collection -‘Man – I am a woman……You can bruise me, you can batter me but my spirit will remain forever free’(From One to Another)…touched a deep chord within me as it so vividly depicted the plight of women worldwide who are subjugated, humiliated,imprisoned, fettered by the shackles of patriarchy. The angst of human soul caught in the humdrum of mundane life is brought out beautifully in another poem called ‘Paper Boat Dreams‘- where the imprisoned soul takes a decision finally – ‘ I will let me go because I am tired of being me’.

Another  noteworthy poem is Ashtavakra where myth and reality is blended beautifully and the angst of modern life that has suffocated and paralyzed humaneness in humanity is highlighted with acute poignancy. The beautiful carefree days of yore spent in grandma’s lap listening to the songs of summer – a summer that can never return in this modern materialistic age of ours is brought out in the poem ‘Granma’s Summer‘.

Each poem in this collection made me trudge willingly with the poet, crossing so many rivulets of emotions, pushing through bush and briar(Moon World) to finally reach the end of this wonderful poetic offering where my soul seeped in the vivid imagery etched by the poet yearned for more.

I eagerly look forward  to Vineetha Mekoth’s  next poetic offering…. I am taking the liberty to amend two lines from her Roseate Sonnet- In Our Hands

What promises does the next volume hold?

What bright poetic vision waits to unfold?

A must read for all who value life in all its myriad forms….Kudos Vineetha Mekkoth!!!!

 

 

 

The Quiet Type by Summer Prescott

A book that persuades the reader to read it in one go till the very end…..every character well etched..the central character and her macabre pursuit of a specific form of art sends chills down the readers soul…one is forced to think about one’s neighbours and whether the calm on the surface is the prelude of some storm brewing …the book is also a reminder to parents to nurture their children by providing them with the right sort of environment and paying attention to their emotional needs.. After all, we humans are a product of nature and nurture isn”t it??

Lost Humanity

 

#NAPOWRIMO

Day 23-24

Prompts: Glass Door & Ad Infinitum

 

Rows of soldiers stand on two sides of the glass door

Each daring the other to break the door

They have stood as guards since ages

Both sides confined within their vested cages

Every day they stare remorselessly at each other

In not so recent past they called each other brothers

Both sides’ ironically offspring of the same Earth mother

Rulers of both sides every year renew the dictum

Let enmity thrive on each side till ad infinitum-

Divide and rule policy ensured prosperity of respective kingdoms

Hatred bred hatred leading to thriving serfdoms

When, where, how the hostility will end?

Which side would be the first one to bend?

Will they remain foes or blossom as friends?

On both sides will it be Heaven or Hell-

Till date they greet each other with only mortar shells

Glass doors make ideal neighbours

Glass doors resist free borders

Mankind need to stop being humanity’s marauders

By stepping forward and shattering the glass door

Enveloping each other in their bosoms once more

Time will tell –

If glass door annihilates this misguided humanity

Or resurrects- long forgotten fraternity.

 

© Paromita Mukherjee Ojha, 23rd -24th April, 2016