Imagine the all consuming, nonchalant ‘night’ turning loquacious and thus the nocturnal bustles we hid beneath the silent veil of darkness becoming as visible as daylight. What if the mystique of such a prospect, give away to a poem that beautifully captures every flash and heartache night has witnessed over time. Jacintha Morris’ book Raavinu Othuvanakumenkil, a translation of her own English poetry.
‘If the night could talk’ does just that. On the occasion of her mother tongue, Malayalam, earning the classical language status, Jacintha wanted to bring out a Malayalam book from her kitty. As she was not confident in her proficiency in the language, she decided to translate one of her books which has been received well. The task was handed over to K Sreekumar, a Malayalam teacher, who has done a commendable job translating.
In the poem Jacintha laments:
‘If the night could talk, Of widows life torn apart, From their spouses Forced depart. Warmth and cuddle they long Rhythm of solo heart’.
While K Sreekumar’s conscious effort in rhyming the words and sticking to language rules is evident in the Malayalam translation, it is Jacintha’s unbound flair and word flow that catch your eye. The very palpable loneliness and yearning emitting from Jacintha’s writing gets misplaced somewhere in the Malayalam version, when the wordplay takes over emotions. She touches upon the lives of beggars to widowers, children to hyenas and sings their songs in lovely verbatim. Night becomes a companion to her in her loneliness and delineates his experiences in beautiful metaphors. These simple yet delightful verses take us to a world unknown to us and say ‘There is nothing you can hide from night’.
The roaring of the sea,
Rocking of the waves,
Rumbling of thunder,
Didn’t make him surrender,
The aim he did set,
The purpose of his net.
A fisherman’s plight is well mentioned here.
And she writes ‘If the night could talk, it would have stated a lot.
How tough fishermen caught fish we relish’. Night, who enters uninvited into people’s lives, makes them a part of his life and vice versa. So in his 12 hours of staying time, night could have breathe in the glory of this world and has many a story to recall. He is indeed a veteran, who has witnessed world wars to natural disasters, disappointments to heartbreaks and tender doings to happy endings. And for Jacintha, there is no bigger historian than night. While she adeptly mentions stock markets and farming, it is those emotional outpours of a woman while handling sensitive issues such as rape and dowry that makes Jacintha’s writing stand out.Though there are instances where she has overlooked the actual issue and goes into a poignant zone, solely owned by women.
‘If the night could talk
Ashamed it would be,
To point the law maker,
Metamorphosed as law breaker
Seeks bribes and benefits.’ Here she says, the night, who acts an onlooker to every crime and misdeeds in the world, will be ashamed to mention the law makers who easily become its
‘Onnuminnippanjatharaganam Innuravil hrudyamaghoshamaay Sankayillathe namukku chollam Ravinteyulsavam
deepavali Irulin Karimbadam moodiyethum Iravinundaanandamalpaswalpam Ariyumithokkeyum lokamellam Raavinu
(Does the moonlit starry sky
Make us wonder
The night did smile?
Does the shooting star passing by
Make us wonder
The night lit joyous sparklers?
Is the night sometimes happy?
Oh, if only, if only
The night could talk….!)