This Is What Murakami Meant | A Short Story

Her eyes swell up. I don’t want her to cry, but I cannot utter a word. She has too brilliant a mind to lose it over her heart.

We would have been perfect for each other, I know she believes it. We both love the same things. But for us to happen, we’d need another universe. We are here instead, and this isn’t going to happen.

I tell her, hers is the most brilliant mind I have ever come across. And I wished I could give her back the marvels she has given me. But I fall short. I’m only human, she might have been divine.

Admiration is what bonded us together. I have told her one too many times how much I adore her mind. When did she begin to blur the lines between the mind and the heart, I cannot tell.

‘I know it’s not your fault, not my fault, or anyone else. It’s just how it is. It’s just living,’ she says. A fine line of tear has already left her tiny eyes.

Living, the word echoes endlessly in my mind for a minute.

‘This is what Haruki Murakami meant,’ she says. ‘When he wrote, that a person can, just by living, damage another human being beyond repair.’

The words are too hard for either of us. But it has been said. Was she really beyond repair?

‘Maybe not beyond repair,’ she says realizing the harshess of the words. ‘But if you think of it, we don’t go repairing our heart. We just peel off the broken parts till new ones grow in. So it is beyond repair in one sense,’ she adds.

I told you, she has too brilliant a mind to lose it over her heart.

I knew Murakami was one of her favorite authors. I never read one myself. I don’t know if she was blaming me, or herself, or anyone for existing. Living was in itself a coiled reality. That we could live in so many different levels in the minds and hearts of others is both terrifying and amazing.

Either of us hadn’t done anything. She was hurting. And I felt guilty. But there was nothing either of us could do.

Wouldnt it have been so much easier if we could love the ones who loved us? Maybe Murakami knows the answer to this. Maybe he doesn’t. What did he really mean with that line afterall?

Re-creators of the Magic

I was halfway through Haruki Murakami’s South of the Border, West of the Sun when a thought suddenly struck me. Murakami is a master storyteller and I have been awestruck by the scale of how he imagines great patterns in simple lives. His first person narrative is haunting. It feels all too real. But this is not what struck me in this particular moment.

It was his Translator with a capital T.

South of the Border, West of the Sun is translated by Philip Gabriel.

I have been reading translated works for a long time, but surprisingly the idea never struck me before. Some people choose to live as translators, in the shadows of the author so that we may be able to relive the magic of stories that would otherwise have rarely reached us.

And I’d always thought that it is the author’s book. It is, it definitely is. But may be it is not just the author’s book anymore. It is not just Murakami’s words anymore. It also belongs to Gabriel, whose translation takes me as close as possible to what Murakami intended.

To the re-creators of the magic.