Aspirations

Are you convinced enough?

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Writing is a compulsive thing for many of us and having been in the blogosphere for quite some time I’ve got a good idea about the struggles and turmoil others like me face. For some the trouble is with the starting, for some with the editing and for some it is commitment to get the writing completed.

As for me, I seem to suffer from the disease of not being convinced ever. Perhaps it has got to do with achieving that standard of perfection I cannot do without that. But it doesn’t take any human more than two years of life to realize that perfection is a total illusion, and thus cannot be attained. It doesn’t stop me from aspiring for it though. So I feel like this little peanut trying to jump of the sphere of the planet just looking at the perfectly lined edge at horizon.

Thus far it has been one endless search for that perfect story to commit to. I do write a lot of short pieces and some fragments of story from a larger novel that I have in mind but never have I been able to work with conviction with one story. After having reflected on this quite a bit, I find the problem is more to do with my notions of what is good and not than the actual substance that the idea carries.

I have realized I have just come to be one scared explorer. And that completely beats the point of writing which is essentially a process of discovery. Now I look back with admiration and yearning at those early years, where I recklessly wrote absolutely anything that struck me. And those were happy and fulfilling days indeed.

I find I’m not alone on this front for I have heard several artists talk about grappling with the loss of innocence in their art. As you grow and learn more about the details of your art you tend to watch out for them with open eyes. But you are actually shutting out the big picture from view which is the sole motivation and purpose that got you into it. It is a case of losing perspective of sorts I suppose.

I’m trying to cope up with this new inertial halt and hopefully I’ll gain some momentum soon. What with the New Year, there is definitely a lot more to discover and experience to propel my pursuits forward.

And lovely readers tell me; do you suffer from the same problem of trying to attain an illusory standard in your own field? How do you tackle it and get going with your work other than the brute force approach?

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Dicovering Translated works

I somehow never got around to reading translations much. It was something I had given very little thought to. But strangely, I just realized that there’s always a copy of one translated work on my desk. It is a book I go to whenever I have a hard time whipping my wild side down. Bhagavad Gita by Mani Rao has been with me for about two years now and I have found utmost solace from its substance.

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But I have been completely blind to the fact that it is a translation and by far the best one I’ve ever read. While I did love it for it was I never really gave it credit for the kind of quality it has as a translation. The Bhagavad Gita, the mammoth dialogue between the charismatic super hero Lord Krishna and his friend and warrior in distress, offers a highly spiritual path to success and mental peace to those will read with open mind. It is a bundle of lessons, a wonderful poem captured live while Krishna advises his friend Arjuna, in 18 chapters. And translating it into an easily readable form for today’s audience isn’t easy at all.

And this is exactly what Mani Rao has done. I love the fresh presentation of the Gita yet it encompasses the crux of the matter. What is even more striking is the fact that even after reading it over and over it still appeals to me. The most important words are strung together in a certain way for impact and as it turns out that is exactly what a reader of today needs as a go-to after a taxing and strenuous day. Mani Rao tells that this is a deliberate effort and I commend on this novelty of thought. It is certainly not easy to translate The Gita and in a completely new format too. So, I am so happy to own a copy of this book though it is quite appalling on my side to have not acknowledged this earlier! I guess we do take things that we have very close to us for granted.

And this got me thinking about uncovering more translations that are out there. Being a non-native English speaker and writer, this makes a lot of sense and again I really wish this had occurred to my mish-mashy head sooner. It would definitely be a whole new experience reading about the native in a foreign language and I am excited about what all I will uncover. It is quite strange that I should discover my own nativity through a second eye but that’s how it is right. The world is one global village and the love of my life, English rules the roost for many a reason. The popular Indian journalist, Barkha Dutt once remarked that we do indeed dream in English and I couldn’t agree more. For I grew up with Heidi in the mountains of Swiss and loathed her fresh cheese and milk as while I had my everyday Indian breakfasts just as any kid in an English country would have.

When I started out writing stories I always a faced grave problem while naming my characters. I wondered how I should name my characters. I suppose a bit of the identity crisis in me just popped out during those times. However that stage has passed thankfully and I can now safely name my characters as the plot requires.

And as I typed this post, I also remembered how much I enjoyed reading No one writes to the colonel by Gabriel Garcia Marqueez which was a translated work too! It is a heart breaking story of an old colonel who lives with his sick, old wife in a dilapidated house mourning the death of their son all the while waiting for that letter which can give them some financial relief. The story is so fresh in memory and all the credit goes to the translator, J.S.Bernstein.

There’s much beauty in a well translated work for it offers a convenient view of the inside story of a nation,its people,their stories, dreams and aspirations to the outsider. But in my case, I think I am first going to discover those little things that have gone without notice in my own turf through these translations.

All that said, now I have given myself so many reasons not to hold up that last bit of balance in my account for indulging in some translated works.