Sunday, January 23, 2011

A beginning

Happy New Year, merry Christmas, happy DeepavaLi, Id Mubarak and Yo Buddha to everyone. I wish now because all those things are safely behind us. Days of great rejoicing are always to be viewed with suspicion ("With great rejoicing comes great doubt"). I had a very pleasant year. Thanks to tremendous fiscal strain borne by my parents, I was able to visit a couple of countries and look down condescendingly upon their 'culture' and 'cuisine.' My travels have brought me, after a fashion, to Holland now. Very nice people, pretty terrible food. Except for the pastries, those are nice.

The Netherlands seems to consist of genuinely nice people who, unlike those bastards in France and Germany (who have historically shared a symbiotic relationship), speak fluent English and don't get affronted if you don't speak their language after being here for a whole eight minutes. Amsterdam is a great place in which to spend a day. Not much more, I'm afraid, unless you're really into art and can spend days plodding through museum after museum. I thought I could do that but have recently discovered that I get, how do you say it, bored. But it's got that big city feel; I'm a sucker for that feel. Just being in a place with lots of noise, pollution and people jostling past each other without paying attention to anything makes me feel happy and safe.

I visited the pointless country of Belgium last month and was put up with by the good graces of Sandeep, who has now become a dick and made his blog invite-only. The posts there, as I recall, were not of a scandalous variety so I don't understand the fuss. Anyway, we made train journeys to a couple of places and, as we passed through desolate stations amidst snow-swept landscapes, try as we might not to, we could only think of people stripped to their bare essentials, shivering in 20-below-zero temperatures and digging with shovels while desperately trying to stay alive and eventually being thrown into furnaces. Whenever we passed a station, we'd see cattle cars and people being shepherded into them ruthlessly by men in grey suits. This was because we are very sensitive people and also because stereotyping is fun. I don't understand why Germans today are so sensitive about discussing that entire era. Surely, discussing it out in the open is a better catharsis than bottling it all up and letting it explode, one day, on a man with darker skin (this applies also to bodily fluids) ? India has quite a few shameful incidents in its past (admittedly none quite as horrific as the Holocaust) but we don't fight shy of talking about them. The same goes for America, England, Japan and other countries. Except Germany, whose head-of-state publicly says multiculturalism has failed. Quite the prima donna, aren't you, Germany? Most Germans alive today didn't even have anything to do with all that, so why not talk about it and make fun of the cowards who went along with it and pity those who could do nothing about it but look on in horror? Laughing in the face of horror eases some of the pain. As Sandeep said about the Germans (in a quotable quote), "you destroyed half the world, the least you can do is take a joke about it."

Holland is a nice place, historical betrayal of teenage girls apart. I visited the Anne Frank museum for a second time because Harish couldn't bear to go through it alone, could he? Harish, there's nothing wrong in crying, those days really were that horrible, no, there have not been many children named Adolf after 1945. The language is nice as well, pleasant-sounding and with a lot of near-Arabic sounds. Dutch grammar is structured a lot like Kannada's (or Sanskrit's, for that matter). It seems like the language was constructed to be a bridge between the harsh and difficult German and the simpler and more acceptable English.

A minor shameless plea for attention announcement. The honourable Arun, Harish and I were in discussion some months ago at the roadside gaaDi of one Mr. Gangadhar in Jayanagar. I had just finished reading a book by Mr. A N Murthy Rao and Arun was enlightening us of the many correspondences between that man and his friends and family (compiled in another book of his). Talk soon veered into the forms of literature the great writers of Kannada have tried their hand at. "Practically everything" seemed to be the conclusion and we were ready to leave it at that and go home, having complained to Mr. Gangadhar yet again about rising prices and receiving the same "En boss maaDodu?" reply. I piped up with a question to Arun: what about science fiction? Has there been any writing in Kannada in that realm? Arun thought for a moment and said no. I accepted Arun's word as gospel truth, since he is highly knowledgeable in most matters. However, his answer surprised me, since there had been a great many highly talented men and women writing in Kannada. Someone should do something about it, I thought, and that stayed in the back of my mind for a while. It was only recently that I got down to trying my hand at it myself. All this blade to tell you that I'm going to try and write science fiction in Kannada. Short stories, mainly, but I ramble even in haikus, so these will be longer than usual. It may well fail and I may end up with egg-on-face but it seems like fun and I'm giving it a shot (the same attitude is advisable while entering relationships. Or Kerala).

This is where I'll do it. The URL is extremely lame wordplay. Satya miti ("The limit of truth") as also Satyam iti ("Thus is the truth"). Yeah, I know, I'm slapping myself in disbelief but this is the best I could motivate myself to do. The first part of the first short story is up now. Please read it and let me know what you think. I'll try and put up a new part every week, like a sitcom. Or sooner, if I have decent stuff before that. Life does not allow for timetables.

Update: My aunt (in a response swift enough to alarm most photons) brought to notice the efforts of Prof. Rajashekhar Bhoosnurmath in the direction of science-fiction in Kannada. Apparently, the good man has been persevering in this regard since the '60s. My aunt supplies me with this link for more information. Murthy, in a comment, also speaks of the same Prof. RaBhoo and mentions that the man is from the university of Dharwad. So yeah, all my hopes of creating history of some sort have been dashed. Damn you, RaBhoo.

13 comments:

KD said...

Explicitly Erotic literatures-u, fantasy fictions-u ashtaagi ilveno kannadadalli?

Olle prayatna, maadi.

tunafish said...

All SciFi in Kannada should have hover-text over it to translate to a more elegant word in English. may be, that's why ...

N said...

I see a book coming of this... Someday..

Goodluck man!!

Sandeep said...

Which reminds me:

What's worse than finding a worm in your apple?

The Holocaust.

Harish said...

oho santOsha. maaDippa, oLLe prayatna.

Parisarapremi said...

@arjuna: arreerrey.. idenappa hosa suddi nange! maaDu maaDu. vijnyaanada kambakke haarsu - ninna baavTa na.

@KD: a.na.kru. avru idara bagge daakhalu maaDidaare. fantasy fictionsu nanna prakaara tumba ne ide kannadadalli...

Hermione said...

I ramble in haikus is SO funny.

Murthy said...

There is science fiction literature in kannada,although not very popular, Search for Rajshekar bhoosnurmath, Professor at Karnataka University, Dharwad

Arjun Sharma said...

[KD] Erotic ide. As Arun explains below, sakashTe ide. ANaKru "When there is eroticism in real life, why not in literature?" anta challenge maaDdru. And proceeded to catalogue almost all instances of such literature in Kannada. Aa pustaka odi neevu: "Saahitya mattu kama-prachodane". Olle prachodane.

[tunafish] Heh, translate en bekilla. Artha aagoru odkonDu malkonDre aaytu.

[N] Thanks, man! Naan book publish maaDodu, namge TV show sigodu, yaako ella distant hopes thara ide.

[Sandeep] Ninge enhanced cultural sensitivity illa. Insides satthogide.

[Harish] MaaDtinappa. Neenen heLodu?

[Parisarapremi] Haarstini. BaavuTa-na. Neevu banni, ibbru haarsaNa.

[Hermione] It's true, I do go on a bit.

[Murthy] Yes please, foudn out about that man the day after I posted it, from my aunt. I am duly ashamed at my ignorance.

Do you know where I can find his books?

Murthy said...

Arjun,

I had read his books from City Central Library,a couple of decades back, maybe you can find it there, you can also try at Ankitha publishers at their Gandhi Bazar Store

Parisarapremi said...

he he, ninna "beginning" ge ondu munnuDi - http://parisarapremi.blogspot.com/2011/02/blog-post_10.html

Arjun Sharma said...

[Murthy] Thanks, sahebre. My parents tried in some stores and finally decided to buy the books from the Sahitya Sammelana itself. Siktu! Mundina vaaradinda, hopefully, odtini.

[Parisarapremi] OdbiTTe-ppa. HaaDi hogLidira. Tumba thanksu.

RaBhoo pustakagaLu tarsidini. Odi tiLstini nimge hegide anta. Neevu odildiddre, that is.

penguin said...

A very late comment but couldn't agree more with you regarding your observation on the French b*****s in comparison with the genuinely nice and friendly Dutch folks.

Having spent the best part of three years living in the midst of grumpy and fanatic Parisians, I can't help but whole-heartedly agree with you :-)

A pointless question, innoo Hollandnalle iddeera ?