Friday, February 22, 2013

Verbose Dispose

There are times I vegetate. I know I have been in that mode more often lately than ever.

I must be getting old.

 I remember the old matriarchs 'doing' that when I was a child. Every home had a matriarch then, who would just sit idly fanning her face with a jute fan , chewing endlessly on tobacco or maybe it was the cuss words that she wanted to spit out on the endlessly moving family around her, but didn't for reasons best known to herself.I am pretty sure that they were abuses, since most of the time when her mouth opened to speak, the sentence would be prefixed and then suffixed with some kind of grotesque obscenity that was so original , that it was more frightening than funny.

At least in those days it seemed like that. Maybe we as children felt so because we knew that everywhere, the old matriarch  wielded a mysterious power over all the elders; and her one complain would fetch us either a reprimand or a spanking, depending upon the volume of our giggles in her presence. So we would stifle our laughter as best as we could and the cuss words seemed to relegate themselves into some deep recess of our subconscious and stayed like concussions in the brain .

I know they did, because now, sometimes when I vegetate, the not so vegetarian words begin to surface which makes me feel that I must be on the brink of turning into 'the matriarch' sooner than expected.If the words threaten to spill out from my mouth, surely I must be turning into one.

As they say, in these times everything matures and decays faster than they did before : the times of disease and science.

Speaking of disease, we in India live in a septic environment, which paradoxically turns gangrenous specially at times when  the 'safai abhyan' ( cleaning operation) in the city is in progress. One morning you wake up to the clanking sounds of the bulldozers and the cranes at work scooping out sewerage from the gutters and dumping the muck on the roads besides the drains. The reason they give for not carting it away immediately is because the muck is 'too heavy while it is still wet'. So they leave it on the road to dry for a week or months depending upon the memory of the cleaners. If we are lucky and there is no rain in the meantime, the muck would cake and solidify and leave half of the road for the passerby to edge forward on the edge. But, if it rains, then you find yourself right in the middle of drains full of sewerage right from your doorsteps to everywhere, and the sickening stench would permeate your nostrils and hit the brain in such a manner that would make you gasp and spew ( not necessarily in that order) off and on.

Such a time is upon my town these days, so in lieu the cuss words threaten to spill out more often than not.

That is how I realized that I must be turning into' the matriarch'!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Just a thought...

Yea....I have neglected blogging and my favorite crew of people here for quite some while now. It has been quite a quagmire know the kind, when you turn back to "real" academics after a long break and you find a big hole between you and the last page you left at, and then you start picking up lose threads and start darning up the hole in your attempt to build the bridge and get some sort of foothold back into the field . A lot was written, a lot theorized and a lot researched after the liberal humanism at which I had left, and have since been picking up again ; rolling in 'structural' maze on to 'deconstructing' and stepping over 'interpellation' and 'hegemonic' 'discursive practices' I have started to 'culturally materialize' into the ever vast postmodern era , which itself is again a transgressive resistance to specialized categories.

So I am somewhere which is actually nowhere (technically speaking). Now I won't elaborate on that one guys; if you need an elaboration, please go and read Baudrillard and about the fight that ensued between Lyotard and Habermas !

We has a lecture in our department today, that threw us back somewhere in 1611, where the visiting professor ( Prof. Gordon) from England was elaborating on the beauty of the rhythms and the monosyllabic simplicity of the authorized version of King James Bible. He read quite a few passages stressing the intonations with an up and down wavy movement of his delicate hands commenting upon ( for eg.) Ruth's address to her  mother in law ( telling us how he had it read at his wedding ceremony at the church some 49 years ago) etcetra etcetra! He said that King James's set of translators had worked very hard to 'beautify' the text, so as to make it recite able " down to the ploughmen and even the women" [ ! ]  so as to be easily understood and liked by one and all.

As far as I know about translation and translating, there is a process which Lawrence Venuti described as "domesticating and foreignization" which involves plucking up a meta narrative from its own cultural context and making it fit into the cultural context of the foreign language in which it gets translated to. Secondly, If a translation is beautiful it can never be faithful and vice versa.

In lieu of the above statement; I wonder if the King James authorized version has been as 'beautifully' translated as Prof. Gordon made it sound, how faithful had been that translation...