“2+2=5”

It is almost too hard to think any further when you are confounded by sights such as the ones I see everyday, which are microcosms of the world which you are a part of, which you hate to be a part of. It is not nearly as simple as it sounds. It is so painful, so drastically cruel to come upon such scenes in everything that meets your eye and ear in the time that you are awake and moving around in search of some meaningful moment. When it hits you right in the face, knocking off one or two of those rotten teeth out of you, you just have to take a step back and lie down and take a look at what unfolds, wait for the end. Your nerves throb with a palpable optimism, tearing out of you so hard that it is tough not to visualize with all the functional faculties of the mind, that forever-elusive triumph of good, triumph of the inevitable truth. And, as you wait for it – the end – amid all the white noise, crunching flakes of corn, sounds of dripping mayonnaise, you are clutching the ends of your sleeves, exuding heavy drops of sweat from the surface of  your overworked body, crossing your fingers two folds over,  tongue-frisking the empty slots in your pasty gums, you feel lucky. Lucky that here you are, as a child watching ‘La vita è bella’ projected on the spotty white-wall of the community hall on Christmas eve, churning out all the possible happy ways to end the saga of love, here you are waiting for that happy ending to blow you away, the ending that is the entire truth, the entire wisdom that you swear you’ll live your life by, the secret resolution that will emerge from the wisdom, the  resolution that will rule over your life for the rest of your life beginning from the moment that the film projector is turned off.

So, seen the ending, right? Is the music out of you yet? No? The projector is off and the people are moving out. You are not a child anymore – discuss the movie, comment on the man behind the camera, criticize, praise, predict the number of awards it’s going to fetch. Try! The children have already put down the numbers on Face-book.

Those sights I was talking of earlier are not actually discussed by anyone unlike the movies. Nobody sees them,  there are no tickets. Only you and I watch them, they are our lives’ major decision-makers, and we, the wasteful consumers of  time. Scenes of ants near a jar of jam, fallen flowers on the road, swaying clouds in the sky. Mother ant, father ant, and baby ants, you think? Flowers decorating the path, you think? Clouds coming together to  pour down, you think? They all end the wrong way. Big ants kill small ants. Flowers linger, pressed under car-wheels and swept into the gutters. Swaying clouds break, break, break and move apart to make way for the planes. The days have changed.  We are an anachronism, you think? It’s been a while since I laughed about it. Laugh about it, it’s weekend.

Twisted is the new truth. Twisted is the only truth, was the only truth. Twisted is you, your truth. Truth is no joke. It is not for simple-minded fools like you and me to try to understand.  Forget what the writers were talking about, now, right now. Drunken fools and old maids. Let us go mend the broken bones and leave the rest to them-the others. The broken bones in your crossed fingers is what you are a symbol of, and not the other way round. Everything is twisted, mauled, broken, unhinged and torn apart and abused, from your  point of view, and not anywhere close to what you had been imagining a few moments ago. There are no surprises because what you see in the end is what you imagine AGAINST. Even you know what’s coming in the end, the worst. There is nothing beyond it, no curtains to move aside for the real thing, the wall is right in front of you, pressing against your forehead, marked with your sweat.  The marks of your drying sweat on the wall seem to be saying, “You are all done for the day, you can go ahead and press-dry that shirt of yours, puff on a dash of perfume on it, forget dinner and catch some sleep.”

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Lost in translation – 1

The following are the lyrics of one of my best-loved songs.

The song is written by Tamil poet, literary genius, Vairamuthu for Anbe Sivam (2003).

(Male)Poo vaasam poorappadam pennae
Naan poo varainthaal
Thee vanthu viral soodum kannae
Naan thee varainthal

(Female)Uyirallathellaam uyir kollum endraal,
Uriyulla naanoe ennaguvaen?

(M)Uyir vaangidum oviyam neeyadi…

(M)Puli saernthu, puli saernthu oviyam,
Ullam saernthu, ullam saernthu kaaviyam!

(F)Koadu koadu oviyatthin bhaagame,
Oodal poda kaadhal endru aagumae,

(M)Oru vaanam varaiyil neela vannam,
Nam kaadhal varaiyil aena vannam?

(F)Yen vetkathai thira thottu, viralaendum pole kondu
Nam kaadhal varaivome, vaa.

(F)Oviyatthin jeevan enga ullathu?
(M)Ottru paarkkum aanil kannil ullathu.

(F)Pennudambil kaadhal engu ullathu?
(M)Aan thodaatha bhaagam thannil ullathu.

(F)Nee varaiya therintha, oru navigna kavignan
Penn vasaiyam therintha, oru nalintha kalaignan

(M)Megathai aimaattri maan saerum malai pola,
madiyodu vilunthaaye, vaa…

As much as I hate the fact that I cannot understand more than a couple  of words of Tamil language, I feel helpless about the fact that there are hardly any translators out there who can translate these  precious pieces of art(poetry written for Tamil cinema) into other Indian and foreign languages without diluting or trans-mutating the essence, the thought, and the sensibility of the poet. I suffer much more from occasionally coming across brutally mangled versions of these poems in Telugu (dubbed versions) cinema.

However, this is a very good English translation by blogger Jil Jil Ramamani.