Dec 5, 2007
I always remember my younger brother Bob. There is not a day, when once or twice, his smiling eyes don't appear from the blue and stare at me...asking, 'hey 'baroo, what are you up to? ' He is so lovable, so great and so sensitive....Bob has translated my many poems and short stories in a way as if he had written them. He composes me in his language. He restructures me in his way, in his letters. He re-writes me so amazingly that I wonder some time.... wow...was it me, who did it? Unbelievable..! This is the translation an author can dream of.
Once he wrote -' had I been born in Chattisgarh in India and Uday (baroo) in LA (US) ...we would still have been the same persons.' This is true.
I met him this year at Virginia, where he teaches my language to his students. He is a scholar of Sanskrit and Urdu beside Hindi. I've two collections of my short stories translated by him -'Rage Revelry and Romance' and 'Short Shorts Long Shots'.
He has a cool ..serene environ in his backyard with many flowers and plants. Yeah ! there is a small pond too..and you can see Indian lotus blooming there..surrounded from all the sides by American-westerner plants and buds and flowers. ...I'd seen lotus conversing with those flowers in whisper and had seen them playing with unknown colorful tiny birds and large squirrels...
He has four adorable cats and has named them ...Baasmatee, Kaajoo, Mokshaa...( I can't reach to the fourth one! all Indian names ...! )
My angelic and divine friend and a wonderful writer-translator Jason Grunebaum has allergy to the cat's hair so he had no option but to sleep in a traveler's tent in the backyard. hmm... there was then no remedy to Jason's hardships. there was a drizzle in the late night ..and he was there absolutely unperturbed...dreaming his dreams. I went out to see him and find out his woes...and was just astounded to see thaat he was in a deep sleep. Like angels sleep in divinity.
Kids also sleep like this... they dream of peace and tranquility, they dream about butterfly and rainbow colors under stormy skies. (I remember Von Gaugh's painting 'maze under disturbed shy'. It shows fragile and adoloscent maze plant's fear about an in coming holocaust... when you see this painting, you don't remain quiet, you develop an intense longing for peace...you search a whale's tummy to hide your self from the violent madness hovering over)
We celebrated Nazen's birthday next morning and Nazen (meri bahoo and Bob's wife) treated us all with tastiest 'jaljeeraa'...(hmm..abhi tak munh me paanee aa rahaa hai)
I'll write more about Bob soon...
This poem Tibet was written years before. I have seen Tibetan refugees, those lamas....monks passing through my small remote village since my childhood. They would give us children 'meethee golee sugar-balls. We loved them.
It was much later when I discovered -they are homeless. I was born in 1952 and they were driven out of their homes and lands in 1959...
Having come from Tibet,
Lamas keep wandering around
These days, mumbling mantras
Their herds of mules
Go down into the gardens
They do not eat marigold flowers
How many flowers
On one marigold flower,
When it’s the rainy season
Do we have?
When it’s three o’clock
Is it here?
Are there marigolds,
Do lamas blow conch shells, Papa?
Have you ever seen lamas
Wrapped in blankets
In the darkness?
When people die
On all four sides of their graves
And bow their heads
They do not recite mantras.
They whisper – tibbut
And they cry
all night long.
Like us, Papa?
Translator: Robert A. Hueckstedt