Wednesday, January 03, 2007

From Dushanbe, With Plov

You know that gorgeous part of James Joyce's The Dead, where the protagonist's wife is telling him the story of young Michael Furey, a beau who courted her when she was a young girl and walked through the rain for her and caught his death? And after hearing his wife's secret tragedy for the first time, he grimly thinks something like, "So. She's had that love in her life."

Well. New Year's is the time of year when I am reminded of a certain secret treasure in my own life: my lovesick Tajik translator. I have had that in my life. May you all have one some day.

Few years back, I was in Tajikistan, doing my thing. Had a translator, Saidmuhiddin, who was very sweet and helpful and asked me charmingly odd questions like "Are there many trees in your country?" Things like that.

After I left, Saidmuhiddin sent me an email proclaiming his affection for me in a most elaborate manner. I was shocked—not only by the sentiment, which seemed outrageously misplaced—but by the language he used. I feel sort of awful about broadcasting part of it. I've been hemming and hawing and really, truly, I shouldn't. It's not kind, it's not classy, it's a bit dishonest and unfair. But god, it's so funny. Forgive me Saidmuhiddin. Here is an excerpt of what my lovesick Tajik translator had to say to me.
Indeed, for me now, it is not easy if not difficult to confine the flood of wishes storming out of my heart and mind into the lake of language, and words can’t express my ultimate wishes at the moment as human language is not ever able to convey the load of lush magnificent notions you wish to express.

You see? I responded with a note telling him that it was a pleasure to meet him and I enjoyed the opportunity to work together and other benign pleasantries in hopes that he'd get the idea. And perhaps he did, but now every January I receive a lovely New Year's greeting from Saidmuhiddin, and when I do, I remember the whole story and it makes me smile.

Only this year, I read the New Year's message and it all looked a little familiar. With a quick search, I tracked back to previous missives, and, can you believe?! The whole business about the storming wishes and the lakes of language? Are in every one! Verbatim! My lovesick Tajik translator is sending me form letters! Upon how many other ladies is he conveying loads of notions, I'd like to know??

Harumph. A lovesick Tajik translator with an itchy cut-and-paste finger. So I've had that in my life.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:26 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home