If somebody asks me what my state of mind is, pat will be the reply, “EXCITED, NO, SUPER EXCITED”. Reason? I have just (a few days back) finished my first short story in ‘my very own’ mother tongue i.e. Bangla (“Bal Gopal” nothing to do with religious, mind it) and uploaded on ‘My Bangla Blog’ (www.vanderloost.blogspot.com). Here, the usage ‘my very own’ is to convey/underscore the compelling drive/the immediacy of the urge.
Confession time…I always wanted to write in Bangla but did not know how to go about it …inadequacy of knowhow (software etc.), inability to type in Bangla, poor, that’s mild, actually illegible handwriting, distance from my roots and the inevitable lack of readership as a consequence, (or so I presumed), and so on and so forth. I am glad to say that I have finally got over all these mental/technical barriers following the simplest of fundas i.e. to just write on, and I think that’s the grandest ground rule for any so called writer like me – amateur and inconsequential.
Writing is an experience by itself. Somebody said it’s a lonely occupation (for me vocation) but never mind that. What is more important is how one grows while writing – the revelations, the realizations, the epiphanic moments notwithstanding how personalized and individualized these are.
For instance, it’s strange that when I write in English I think in Bangla and vice versa. And that creates problem because my brain does not always assist my pen at the same speed. It almost sounds autistic. But it’s not. What I am trying to say is that switching over from one language to the other is not always instant, at least, not for me. While writing, thoughts run ahead of fingers. Thinking in a particular language and writing in another, are not therefore, always in sync with each other. As is equally difficult finding the appropriate/corresponding words/expressions in the particular language-mode that I am in i.e. writing in one and thinking simultaneously in the other, at a given point of time. Suppose an English word which easily crops up in mind, while penning thoughts, does not necessarily find it’s synonym (or antonym at times) in Bangla that easily – even after vigorously rummaging the cerebral crevices at length – and the same happens while the train of thought follows the Sonar Bangla route while the pen is determined to cling to the colonial legacy – the Queen’s English – our adopted lingua franca.
The easiest solution is to find a dictionary. The embarrassing confession is that I don’t have one. The one dog-eared, torn and tattered volume (Oxford) that I inherited from my patriarch is so outmoded as to be worthy of shelving in the museum or auctioning as an antique. So, the next viable option – Flipkart! But there are certain purchases which Flipkart cannot substitute. I was highly disappointed to find their collection very limited in so far as Bengali-English/English-Bengali dictionary is concerned. Had it been more elaborate, a trip to the book store could have been saved. However, a visit to a well-stocked bookshop though imperative is yet pending.
In the meanwhile, I the Egoist decided to rely on my own vocabulary which I thought was as vast as the latest Webster/Oxford/Collins/Encyclopaedia (latest editions) all bound in one unmanageably huge tome. Sadly, it wasn’t. Dabbling in Bangla, I found that I have lost touch with the language considerably, thanks to my more than twenty years of cosmopolitan living, though, believe me, I am still a Bong in my heart and soul.
At this point, my being-a-Bong pride overtook all other shortcomings and I charged on. In doing so, I may have made innumerable mistakes – grammar, spelling, vocabulary et al. In the process, I may have also created/added/imported a few new words ‘enriching’ the vernacular, for which invaluable literary contribution, I am sure, I shall be acknowledged/awarded posthumously like all historically great writers have been in some point of time or the other.
In the final analysis, I wish the story will find readers and the readers, in turn, will find the enthue to adorn the post with their valuable comments as (or if at all) they try/finish reading.
Till then I keep my fingers crossed…
The next worst thing that has happened is that my flat is in shambles (read under massive repair). I am sitting on a heap of rubbles and blogging…which in itself is unique, and I am hopeful, the inconceivable inconvenience of the moment may prove to be adequately inspirational for my future writings, forthcoming blogs, story, poem, who knows what?
Till such time …again