Here is a translation work of 'One Thousand Days in a Refrigerator', a collection of 14 fascinating stories,written by Manoj kumar Panda. All these were Oriya in origin and got translated into English by Dr.Snehaprava Das.I would like to write a few lines about it since the quality of translation intrigued me to do so.In terms of aesthetic appeal,artistic charm,readability and mirroring indigenous culture and nativity,this is one of the best books I have ever read.
All these stories address different kinds of life experiences.Let me present you the blurb. In 'Kanishka' story,a 12 year girl who turned out to be a baby sitter for a mentally crippled boy was described and her relationship with him in different facets showed the inner blocks of the human being.And another story 'Testimony of God' replicate the shadows of magical realism. Premashila, a brick-kiln worker was making her way to the native place in Odisha with her four year dead son. She was afraid of robbing her hard earned two thousand rupees in case she confronted the railway police. Because she got such experience earlier. On the pretext of suspicious death, she was submitted to the court and her money was stolen by vulture like people. In this context,God existed as a witness and the rest is to read.
'Fragment' is another story with an unexpected twist as the rape victim went to the family of the predator to find out how his wife was living and feeling about. She also met jail ridden rapist and observed his mental trauma. With all backflips, she came to a conclusion which would make the reader flabbergasted. And the flagship story 'One thousand days in a refrigerator' is all about a poignant ending of a loving wife. She was in coma for hundreds of days and it leads to the decision of cutting the life giving accessories off. The story was being told from the side of her husband and the memories they both have elaborated in a heart wrenching way.
And there were ten stories cloistered and let's go for them next time. English can be a very good instrument in Indian scenario to showcase the ongoing trends in vernacular languages. And the qualitative translations like these do not drop down out of the blue. A skilled translator is no way inferior to the original text author. In fact, with using equivalent and balancing words in sentences, translator has to be walked on the rope. As the translator Dr.Snehaprava Das puts it as "a translated text is obviously not meant to be a complete transformation of the original,but is a semantically, pragmatically and dynamically equivalent one because a translation is confronted with the range of interpretabilities of a given text...".!
The book is available with www.speakingtigerbooks.com