30 Minutes of Traveling: Lines

These lines make me nervous. I love lines otherwise, lines that run through pages, lines that unmask people, lines that make up stories, lines that can be spoken, lines with words on them. But this is a queue. And I’m not fond of lines that are made up of people. It makes me anxious, like I’m doing something wrong. 

What is worse is perhaps not the number of people in front, but rather the ones after me. They are not many, I’m almost at the end. It would be over, only when its over. We’re moving at the exact opposite of what might be the speed of light. Why are there so many people here? Why am I here in particular? I don’t seem to find the answers. My only source of entertainment here is to imagine, turn these people into characters. Turn myself into one. Nobody seems to know where this is heading. 

There’s a couple in front of me, one offering the other to stand in their place. Rather sweet. But I wonder do they know I’m here right at their back writing about them in words they would probably never recognize or come across. 

The sun is generous today, warm and stark. But the wind blows. Faces of confusion everywhere. Why is it that they do not know. What is it that I do not as well. People have stories of letters everywhere. I’ve been standing here for hours now. I’m small and petite so I can slip in between without getting my hands or legs stuck. 

After a few hours, the chaos becomes a part of me. I begin to enjoy it in a very odd way. The people become a little familiar. Maybe they are not strangers anymore. After all even families are strangers that decided to stick together for a long period of time. Lovers. Friends. The universe. All of them strangers who decided to stay a little longer. 

Perhaps this line too, a preplanned, preconceived act of destiny or of choice. Let’s find out, shall we?

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.

Meera Goes to Hogwarts: Chapter Three

Take a quick recap: Chapter One and Two.

Meera followed the Prefect to the Hufflepuff dormitory. The entrance to the dormitory was the same as the kitchen. Meera followed quietly trying not to signal a single sound of amazement.  When they reached the entrance with large barrels, the Prefect tapped the second barrel from the bottom four time in a distinct rhythm. Meera was told to memorize the rhythm which is the only way to enter the dormitory.

‘Tap—Tap-Tap———-Tap.’ This was presumably the rhythm of Helga Hufflepuff, the founder of the Hufflepuff house. The barrel opened revealing an entrance to the dormitory. Meera is amazed to see the room. It was cheerful as were the students already inside of it. The common room was decorated with colors of earth, and the house colors black and yellow. The honey colored wooden furnitures and the plants placed neatly on the walls, added to the ambience of the room.

Neal, the boy who Meera had met earlier was already sitting in one of the wooden chairs. He rose as he saw Meera arrive. There was a little girl with him, who seemed a lot younger than him.

‘Meera, meet my sister Benny,’ he said. Benny raised her hand to wave and said, ‘Hello’ in her meek little voice. They were to share the same dormitory.

Neal’s sister was starting her first year in Hogwarts and he was extremely happy that Benny had been sorted into Hufflepuff. He also told Meera that it was not necessary despite being family, that they should be sorted into the same house.

‘How do you come to Hogwarts then?’ he asked Meera.

‘To be honest, I do not know,’ Meera replied.

‘May be Meera’s a great witch…and so,’ Benny was quick to add. But she shyly turned away immediately.

Meera smiled. ‘Thanks,’ she said. May be Hogwarts wasn’t that odd after all.

Meera’s classes were to begin the next day. She was to start with the first years with a couple of extra subjects to be able to cover as much as possible. She looked at the heavy bag Zuck had bought for her. It was filled with books of all kinds. While the topics looked much different from what she had ever seen, the fact that she had to learn all of it made her realize that magic must be studied too. It wasn’t something that was passed down or given without effort.

Meera entered the first class. It was called Charms. A tiny little professor, who was named Zelda was already sitting. The students were ready to begin the class. Meera sat down besides Benny.

‘Wands out!’ Professor Zelda said sharply.

Meera searched her little bag for her wand. She remembered putting everything Benny had told her the night earlier. But she could not find her wand. How could she perform magic without it? She looked left and right. Everyone was ready. Meera felt ashamed for not knowing something so obvious.

‘I don’t have mine,’ she said meekly.

‘Magic without wands!’ yelled a girl from behind, giggling. She was Redna from Ravenclaw.

‘Silence!’ Professor Zelda said. ‘You will have to go and get your wand Meera.’

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