Sandhyaaraagam, Translated by Dr Rachakonda Narasimha Sarma (Of the Telugu Original By Dr Sunkara Venkamamba),Shyam Offset Imprints, Visakhapatnam, 2016, pages 53, Price Rs.50/-
Literary Translation is an honest and committed attempt of a translator to bring at least a part of the glory of the text before a reader, who has no access to the original. Late C D Narasimhaiah mentioned to me in a private conversation that a (literary) translator’s goal is not making an idol (utsava murti) for taking around in a festive procession, but making and unveiling the manifest God (udbhava murti). Once in an interview to a newspaper, Dominique Vitalyos, the French Translator, expressed this interesting opinion: “An author’s expression deserves to be interiorized until you hear the author speaking French in your head. For me translating involves a double process of disappearance and creation. Ideally, there should not be any trace of my own ‘style’ in my translations. If at all, I would love to be recognized through my absence.” This said, I say again, a good translation is an instance of successful interiorization.
Distinguished nonagenarian Dr Rachakonda Narasimha Sarma has distinguished himself as a poet and literary translator too; witness the love poems he rendered into English with aplomb in this slender volume. The prefatory pages by Dr LSR Prasad, Dr Elanaga, Dr Sahadeva Rao and Mr Krishna have already made the spirited literary translator distinctive.
This book contains only fifty poems of intense feeling in the original composition in Telugu. Their renderings in English in more than four lines is for obvious reasons - the first being the need to present the entire content in a different language. The theme is a lover expressing his amorous feelings to his sweet heart.
The poet Dr Sunkara Venkamamba won the acclaim of the editor of Chaitanya Kavita and when she requested Dr Narasimha Sarma to translate the poems he readily agreed to translate the poems which he loved for their sweetness and imaginative fervour.
Here are a few samples:
Your smile – a silver gleam of moonlight
Your heart – a storehouse of love’s nectar
That is not a lip that I behold
But only the crescent moon
Who has walked out of the sky
To take its place. (page 5)
These gems of poems I had wrought
While you had been my one and only thought
Store them in the treasury of your heart
Just one alone is enough
To win your tender love for and ever. (page 8)
Now that you have tasted the sweetness, go ahead and have your fill, which does not take a long time.