Gained in translation


It was late in the afternoon last weekend, and I was on a video call with my sister. The call was a busy one, with my niece and nephew frequently popping their heads into the video frame to talk to me. Likewise, my kids also walked in and out of the call, catching up with their cousins and watching my baby niece gurgle in delight.

My sister suddenly exclaimed, “Hey, do you know what Amma is busy with these days?” She continued excitedly, “…She is translating your blogs into our mother tongue.”

I felt an inexplicable joy. Later in the day, I called my mom. Her enthusiasm was contagious as she read out the articles in our beautiful mother tongue, Tamil. She had chosen her words and sentences so carefully and had chiseled them to perfection.

Over the last five years of my blogging, my mom had always felt unhappy that she had not been able to access my blogs and read them as often as she would have liked.

When the lockdown began, she decided to catch up and started reading the blogs. The idea to translate the blogs into Tamil struck her one morning, and there was no looking back after that.

Now, she writes the final draft for one blog and a rough draft for another each day. And whenever we talk on the phone, she reads them out to me, and I can sense her excitement.

Courtesy – pixabay from http://www.pexels.com

A writer’s work derives meaning only when his or her work connects with her readers. Whenever my blogging friends or social media friends post comments or likes on my blog, I feel happy and thrilled.

But when my mom reads out her translations, I feel a different kind of joy, a kind of contentment. I cherish these afternoon calls, when we exchange ideas on writing and how the different words and sentences in each blog sound in both languages.

I feel deeply grateful to my parents for encouraging me to read and write, for encouraging me to appreciate life’s simple moments. Thank you Amma and Dad for this precious gift.