Friday, February 12, 2016


Checked my blog stats by chance on a day when there was an inexplicable spike in the number of visitors. Like, over a 1,000, which never happens. It's not like I've posted much, let alone anything controversial or even topical.

The evergreens are those poems and choruses that everyone comes for: Edwin Morgan, Anouilh's Antigone, Marachera, a couple more things. More recently, it becomes evident that board exams are round the corner and people are looking for things on schools. So Shantamma, that post about conversations about schools and Rishi Valley keep getting read.

But otherwise? *shrug* Who knows why anyone still reads this blog? (This is not ingratitude. I'm glad the three or four of you who still check in are around).


'Spike' also reminds me of reading at the University of Hyderabad with Kazim Ali. I read my ghazal, in the last line of which is the word 'spike'. Kazim, following a train of thought set off my poem, suddenly decided to read a new one he'd written, and which he had to read off his laptop. It had something to do with the word 'spike' but the only thing I remember about it is that was preceded by a story about a sect of mystical men who swear to wear trousers with drop-crotches, to catch any babies they might have.

Yes. I am not dreaming this up. I was not on anything.


That ghazal I wrote, it was one of the poems I sent in for a couple of German poets to translate. This is the Poets Translating Poets project that the Max Mueller Bhavan has been doing all of 2015. Hyderabad was the penultimate stop, and in January, Jeet Thayil, Jameela Nishat, A. Jayaprabha and I translated poems by German poets Sylvia Geist and Tom Schulz. We each had to translate a minimum of four poems and submit four for the Germans to translate.

I thought it would be fun to give them a ghazal. Sylvia took it on. She said she avoids rhymes and form in her own poetry because it comes too easily *envy* but was thrilled to work on it in translation.

I don't have enough - or indeed, any - German to judge the results. They'll be up on a website eventually, and you lot can do the needful. Instead of talking rhyme words and form, I remember googling images for that office object newspapers and restaurants use, to spike bills and memos and things. 

For some reason, it was particularly important to have the right image in one's head before attempting a translation.

The whole exercise was fun, exhausting, but I'm still wondering if it was useful. As a first pass at something, sure. But as a final translation? I feel process ought to be privileged over product, but what do I know?


The other thing that's spiked is the temperature. Early Feb and we were already at 36C. Night temperatures are at 22C. Our year is one unending summer punctuated by a few days of deluge and a week or so of mild chill and mist.

My wrists already have mild burns from any encounter with the laptop. This summer - now - I intend to go offline as much as possible, return to pen and ink (okay, not ink; but some reasonable substitute), and try to get accustomed to having nearly no electricity.

We have to be the only people in this city to not have an inverter or a generator. Plan to keep it that way.

1 comment:

Anindita said...

I've been struggling with the 'going offline' thing recently--just can't seem to do it, as is evident. I keep resolving to use notebooks but come back to using the laptop for everything, and then falling down the FB hole. Good luck!