This “Meet the Author” session took place at Book Brahma‘s offices on November 11, 2022. I was in discussion with Surabhi Shastry about my recently-published book, The Pollen Waits On Tiptoe. Surabhi was a pleasant and comfortable interlocutor and gave me the chance to express myself on a variety of matters, including my “discovery” of Bendre and his poetry, the milestones along my translation journey, the (happy) challenge of translating a sublime poetry like Bendre’s, the audio component of the book (which Surabhi felicitously and accurately labelled its “USP”), and my plans for the future. Watch the video below to learn more about Bendre and my book and listen to some song excerpts in both Kannada and English!
Video 2 :
Below is the video recording of my most recent “talk” – which, actually, was a discussion session I had with Mohini, the founder of ‘Mother Tongue Twisters‘ (or MTT) and of ‘Translation Thursdays’, underneath whose umbrella this session took place. The session happened on Dec 17, 2020 via Zoom and was broadcast live not only on MTT’s Facebook page, but also on Bendrepedia‘s YouTube channel. Though the broadcast over at Bendrepedia’s channel is missing the first 3-5 minutes, it contains all the important parts of the session should you find it more convenient to watch the video on YouTube than on Facebook. By the way, the session itself was titled ‘The Sound of Poetry: Translating Bendre into English‘ and is primarily a discussion about and a presentation of the various ways I have looked to transfer the ನಾದ (naada ~ euphony) or sound of Bendre’s poetry into English.
ಊದಿ ತೂರಿ ಹಾರಿಸು
ಹಕ್ಕಿ ಮೈಯ ಗರಿಗಳು.
(6ನೆ ನುಡಿ, ‘ಗರಿ’ ಕವನ)
Push them, blow them, make them fly,
let them fly as much they will,
these feathers that were born to fly,
these feathers on a bird’s body.
(6th stanza of the poem ‘Feather’)
On August 28, 2019, I was given a chance, by the ‘Literary Arts and Heritage Forum’ at NIAS, to present my translations of Bendre’s poetry. Though it wasn’t my first “public presentation” – I had presented a few translations to a small gathering as part of an informal talk I gave in Kannada some seven weeks previously – it was the first “formal” presentation of my work to its intended audience, an audience (mostly) unacquainted with both Bendre and the Kannada language.
Though the audience was smaller in size than I’d reckoned (and hoped for), I am told the presentation went off nicely. Scheduled, as it was, on a weekday afternoon, a number of people I’d hoped would attend were unable to.
Happily, among those who attended were two very nice, obliging people who between them recorded most of the hour-long session. Thank you very much, Manjunatha and Mr. Varadaraj Madan! I am very grateful.
And as for the one portion neither recorded, it was, as luck would have it, recorded by Sharada aunty, a long-time doctor-teacher-friend and a wonderful ಸಹೃದಯ (sahrudaya), whose encouragement and support I value tremendously and am very grateful for. Thank you very much, Aunty!
I hope all of you who happen to watch these videos enjoy them and I look forward to many of you “push[ing], blow[ing] and mak[ing] fly…these feathers that were born to fly”.
Note: Every translation I presented that day (besides the excerpts) can be found on this website. The brief write-up below each video gives the link.
Please also note that this is a set of 11 videos that covers (most of) the session. If you’d like, you can look through the set and can go straight to the poem(s) you want to listen to.
I’d love to know your thoughts regarding both videos. Do write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
Update: Here are links to several other videos where I’ve spoken about Bendre and his poetry or sung a poem or two of his.
https://www.facebook.com/madhav.ajjampur/videos/10157319636947291/ (Kannada & English)
https://www.facebook.com/madhav.ajjampur/videos/10157305787122291/ (Kannada & English)