....and all that jazZ

Monday, June 20, 2005

I just finished "The hungry tide" by Amitav Ghosh. I must say its a thoroughly
enjoyable read. Its nice to read an Indian author who writes in english and writes well. The mistke most such authors make is that they can't think in English and so the language ends up limiting them rather than they use it to play out the strengths of a setting or a story. One of the protagonist's shares my love for poetry and the poet Rainer Maria Rilke.

I made me go back and re-read some of the peoms I really love and some that I have never read before. So here is one.

You who never arrived - Rilke

You who never arrived
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost
from the start,
I don't even know what songs
would please you. I have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of the next
moment. All the immense
images in me-- the far-off, deeply-felt landscape,
cities, towers, and bridges, and unsuspected
turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods-
all rise within me to mean
you, who forever elude me.

You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at,
longing. An open window
in a country house--, and you almost
stepped out, pensive, to meet me.
Streets that I chanced upon,--
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and, startled,
gave back my too-sudden image. Who knows?
perhaps the same bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, seperate, in the evening...


  • While writing, the author thinks not for himself; he thinks for his characters. And when you are talking about the Indian authors writing Indian stories, its hardly possible for their characters to think or speak in English. Thinking has nothing to do with the words that are produced in front of the readers. The author's promise should be for the ocean of emotions oevr which the small ships of words move. The greatest authors writing in any language are those who understand the culture, not the language. I'll refrain from making any conclusions about Ghosh as I have not yet read him, but I dont think your point about Indian authors is very correct.

    -- Akshaya

    Originally @ Jun 21, 2005 07:55 PST

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:57 PM  

  • I disagree. How evr great your idea or haracter maybe, if you do not have complete grasp over a language you will never be able to communicate effectively. it does not matter at that point then whether you understand a culture or not. Anyways no great piece has ever been writeen without an understanding of a culture, That is always given. But if you do not have the words or a complex feel fro the language the understanding is left uncommunicated.
    "many a gem of wisdom is left unsaid because someone lacked the ability to express ir"

    Originally @ Jun 21, 2005 08:34 PST

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:57 PM  

  • Like all those occasions when we have done the same, we should agree to disagree. I dont think the space is enough for me to express what I want to say. But just as a small suggestion, you could do well to read some of Samuel Beckett. Probably, it would be worth the time and energy.

    -- Akshaya

    Originally @ Jun 21, 2005 09:36 PST

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:58 PM  

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