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Quotes From Here And There

Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction.
Dylan Thomas
I fell in love – that is the only expression I can think of – at once, and am still at the mercy of words, though sometimes now, knowing a little of their behavior very well, I think I can influence them slightly and have even learned to beat them now and then, which they appear to enjoy.
Eddie Cantor
It takes twenty years to become an overnight success.
Edward Abbey
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
e e cummings
To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight and never stop fighting.
Eyler Coates
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually produce a masterpiece. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.
Friedrich Nietzsche
Without music, life would be a mistake.
Gustave Flaubert
The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy.
Going to the Opera is like making love; we get bored but we come back.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
If I love you, what business is it of yours?
John Steinbeck
Only through imitation do we develop toward originality.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
There is no remedy so easy as books, which if they do not give cheerfulness, at least restore quiet to the most troubled mind.
Leonard Cohen
Ring the bells that still can ring;
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything;
That's how the light gets in.
The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.
Paul Sweeney
You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.
Peter Altenberg
I never dreamed of being Shakespeare or Goethe, and I never expected to hold the great mirror of truth up before the world; I dreamed only of being a little pocket mirror, the sort that a woman can carry in her purse; one that reflects small blemishes, and some great beauties, when held close enough to the heart.
Robert Frost
In three words, I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.
There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money.
Satchel Paige
Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching.
Thomas Mann
A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
V S Naipaul
The writer has only to listen very carefully and with a clear heart to what people say to him, and ask the next question, and the next.

My Personal Library

Lost In Translation

In the one hour I had between the two writing workshops An Introduction To Freelance Writing and The Art Of Translation yesterday, I wandered the corridors of Elphinstone College and its narrow dark staircases that looked as if they belonged to a cold time-forgotten castle more than a college.

I even happened to venture unnoticed into their staff room which has six larger-than-life portraits hung across its walls. And guess what I found!!! One of the portraits was of William Wordsworth (eponymous grandson of the great poet William Wordsworth), who was a principal of the college at one time. Another portrait was that of Peter Peterson, who had been a Professor of Oriental Languages in the college. It might be history to those who know Elphinstone, but it is certainly news to me.

As for The Art Of Translation workshop that followed, it soon regressed into The Craft Of Translation workshop. It is very necessary to have an agenda or at least a purpose which implicitly sets some sort of tacit agenda, especially if the workshop session is going to be as long as three hours. The discussion was often punctuated with silences that hovered in the air of Elphinstone’s Seminar Hall which hosted the poorly attended workshop.

A lot of discussion took place on the problems of finding suitable publishers for translated work, why small publishing houses make a success of it while big publishing houses shy away from it, and the lack of qualified, experienced translators and an agency that unites them and protects their rights. Also the practical difficulties that a translator may encounter while translating from one language to the other (often the second language is English) were discussed in great detail. Attention was also paid to the problems of typesetting and transcreation.

In all, four people attended the workshop including me. One of them was Meera Desai who had translated some stories from Gujarati. Rimi had a look at the manuscript, liked the stories very much, and promised Desai to do something about them. There was a girl who had worked extensively with BNHS, right from the editing stages to the printing stages of its journals and magazines. Then there was a guy who does technical translation from French to English for an organization. I was the only one with little knowledge of translation, and perhaps that is why the workshop didn’t work wonders for me. In the end, the workshop grew intensely boring and meaningful, like a Proust novel with little pace.

The saving grace for me was that the talk was interspersed with discussions on translation of Bengali Literature. I’ve a weakness for Bengali, and for me it has always meant much more than a language. I took Bengali classes some years back, learnt the alphabet, even some poems, then abandoned it midway for no reason at all. But sometimes I still go back to the thin, translucent pages of my textbooks on the Bengali alphabet and Introductory Bengali Literature and sigh with quiet pleasure.

The workshop could have been productive except that it mostly became an analytical debate rather than a workshop. Ultimately art is more important than (and sometimes far removed from) the issues.

Perhaps Rimi Chatterji’s time could have been better used if she had taken a workshop on The Art Of Writing A Novel, especially since her second novel The City Of Love has been published recently.


    Hello Abhinav. The second day was a little better, but you're right about the silences. The trouble with translation is its a somewhat specialised field, with specific problems, and can get very boring for the non-specialist. I would have greatly enjoyed talking about fiction instead. But no help for it.
    Glad you got some profit out of the day though.


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