The yellow pages here has nothing to do with advertisement. Being an iconoclast, that is what I am trying to avoid deliberately, though daily being bombarded by quite a few mails trying to SEO my site. But making the site popular might add up to insecurity complex of me 🙁
The Bengali word for old literature (usually ancient) is Pandulipi. Pandu is yellow, here with age, the lipi being the pages/ document. In this portion I would like to put my thoughts on books, novels or stories of my era and may be earlier. Most of the time on prose, may be a few poetic works too may crop up here and there.
The biggest problem that I face in trying to express Bengali in English is the equivalence of emotion words. More I look into that, more I find difficult to get even an near equivalent for these. In absence of that, it really snuffs out the mood of the work.
In the book I am recently going through, when I pondered over words, say “Koutuk” and tried to think of it in English, it became difficult. may be due to my limited resources on the language, even of which the time has taken its toll, and the words slip out of memory. The web should help. It doesn’t. The dictionary says “Jest/ Sport/ Pleasantry/ Eagerness/ Curiosity/ inquisitiveness/ fun” But what it is really? It is a feeling of just a mild laughing or say smiling interest and it comes in eyes not necessarily in the rest of face. It comes in the eyes of the mother when she watches her infant trying something funny and not fully succeeding. She isn’t going to help it or stop it, it isn’t anything harmful. She prefers to be content in watching. It has a mild and a bit tender smile in lips, and the same in eyes with mild interest and just something more.
What is Byango? It is almost sarcastic joke but again a bit away from that. It is quite a bit more negative, putting the fellow in proper place, than a sarcasm. “oh so you did it” and that “it” is probably not really desirable. This will be with a derogatory and deprecatingly sarcastic glance, and the words will be intoned facial expressions will change, almost the fellow will wish that he never attempted it, at least to the other’s know. Even expressing the words in sentence becomes difficult, but you know when one is using it against you.
What of Abhiman?A very frequent emotion without a real equivalent. Hindi Abhiman is a pride, whereas this in Bengali is the hurt for injustice.
Let us say one scolds a child for no fault of her. Usually it would be her, where the Abhiman would be more prominent and the child can be a old child too, may be even a girlfriend but tha act would be of child.Also the no fault means doesn’t mean exactly that, it might really be her fault, but as far as she thinks she is not the one to be blamed. The child sulks on one side, you (the scolder or even some one else) try to talk to her “Why are you at one corner, what has happened to you” it will be “Nothing” with the face turned otherway, so that you don’t see the shiny eyes. This has another bengali word associated “Mukh Bhar kare bose thaka, sitting with a serious? Not really, face” But that’s the limit, if you probe her, or even touch her head caressingly, she is going to burst in tears and probably run away. This is one of the deepest feelings of being wronged and desparately trying to hold all the emotion in control, even a small spark would result in the dam breaking. The other “Mukh Bhar” is a bit less explosive situation, much nearer to sulkingif it is only that and not due to “Abhiman”.
What is Snigdha? it is cold if I see a literal meaning (comfortable cold not Winter Blizzard, but Autumn Breeze) . It is cool, balming taking away all the pain physical and mental, and loving of course. It is the eyes with which the mother, sitting in front, looks at the child when he is eating his meal, of course without making a fuss or being naughty. It is the touch with which she would caress the forehead warm with fever. What would one say “She looked at him with cold eyes?” Or “warm eyes?” Or “lovingly?” Nothing can bring the unexplainable out, it is all mixed together.
Though I am getting “mothered” some times the girl-friends and wives too do it, in the rare occassion when all is quiet on the home front. Technically motherly figures, elder sister, sister-in-law etc are of course included in mother. Fathers, sometimes, but these tender feelings are rarely their strength.
There are too many of those with which I think the poor translators have to cope up with and lose quite a bit of flavour in the translation.
I will have to work with all these handicaps, with the full knowledge that the translator/ dictionary will probably be of minimal help. Anyway since it isn’t for professionals and thankfully with low hits (and hence hits on me) that won’t much matter 🙂