Earlier in July this year, I reproduced a short essay I had written in Marathi back in 1993, along with my first attempt at translating it to English. Here is my English version, again (just in case you’re too lazy to click and read the earlier post 🙂 Skip this if you’ve read it already )
The Sky had spent many days harboring its sorrows within itself. There were many clouds over its usually clear, light and cloudless frame of mind, due to the weight of many days of conflict.
We often find a unique representation of our emotions in many facets of nature. The pangs of despair and the ache resulting from it had found symbolic representation in the lightning that ensued.
The sudden, unexpected, short-lived, but blinding lightning was slashing against the Sky’s heart. The cruel, savage lightning turned the helpless Sky into a wounded soul.
The Wind was conveying the state of this wounded Sky everywhere; it was running in all directions, frantically searching for help. But no one listened. The flora and fauna on the Earth couldn’t look at this depressed state of the Sky, and wanted to help, but they were rooted to the Earth. They were not free to leave the confines of their Mother Earth. The trees were swaying listening to the story from the wind, trembling in vain attempts to reach out to the Sky, but they couldn’t move.
Notwithstanding all this, the torture of the lightning continued. The Sky’s pains and anguish grew. There were thunderstorms. The Sky began to shudder. After crossing its limit for grief, the Sky, already drawn to the point of tears, began crying. Teardrops began to fall. As if it was pouring its heart out in crying, rain began to fall.
The Earth, who had been witnessing all this silently, ran to the rescue. The Earth’s soil emanated that unique fragrance, reaching out to the Sky, offering a shoulder for it to cry. The Sky was outpouring all its grief that it had held for a very long time, and kept raining, seeking the warmth of the Earth. The essence of this embrace between Earth and Sky was symbolized by that unique fragrance, where they met and caressed each other…
Now, my dear friend @Asuph who practices the Fine Art of Imbalance, has graciously translated my original Marathi essay into English and posted it in the comments of my original post. Here is his version:
The sky was worn down by the baggage it had carried for a long time. The conflicts of those days had overclouded its otherwise clear, uncluttered mind.
Many a times our emotions find uncanny parallels in nature. The lashing pains and the despairing grief, pent up within for days and weeks, found their embodiment in the lightning. The pangs of grief, unanticipated, acute, blinding, tore at its heart, left the hapless sky bruised.
The wind spread the news of the plight of the sky in every which direction, frantically searching for help. But no one offered to help. Down on earth, the trees watched the sky helplessly. The tales of the wind moved them, they shuddered, and swayed. In vain, they tried to break free. But rooted too strong in their world, they could not break free — to run to the sky, and offer it some solace.
Unbecoming, the lightning continued its torture. The sky was now engulfed in waves of unbearable pains. Encouraged, the lightning stepped up its cruelty, roaring, and thundering. The sky shuddered, and then, when the pains crossed a point, tears escaped it. A trickle gave way to a downpour, as the sky opened up.
The earth, which was the silent spectator, now offered her solidarity. As she imbibed the first teardrops, the wet earth let out a unique scent. Aided by the wind, it reached the sky, a token of the earth’s compassion. It was as if the earth had put her arm around it. That touch was all the sky needed, to let go. As it cried its heart out, the downpour lasted for a while, releasing all the pent up agony. Even when it finally stopped, the essence of their communion lingered on through the scent of the wet earth.
How much smoother it reads! How naturally it flows! It is as if it were written like this for the first time. Are translations best when done by others? Is an author too shackled with the words he used in his original that he can’t let go of them when translating? I think there’s a certain element of truth to this, what do you think?