My Wounded Heart

Ramesh often quotes snatches of Hindi film songs -- romantic, melancholy -- and I usually understand them. But yesterday, we were putting on our shoes to play badminton, and he said,
jo khushi se chot khaaye
voh jigar kahaan se laun?

I began to translate it. 'chot khaana' literally means to eat a wound, but the 'real' meaning is to be wounded. 'Jigar' literally means liver, but is generally interchangeable with the heart -- in its emotional sense, not the organ. You can call someone your beloved liver, or your liver-friend -- just substitute 'heart'.

So I translated, 'From where can I bring a heart which is happy to be wounded?' No. Close, but no cigar. It should be 'How can I learn to endure (laugh in the face of) suffering?' It broke my head open, and still Ramesh had to tell me.

In the morning a Tamil friend -- with whom I generally speak English -- had called, and began, for fun, to speak to me in elaborate, filmi Tamil, all rolling phrases. I knew he was saying something very simple, like, "What are you doing? Have you had breakfast?" but my brain just locked up, and I said, "I'm sorry, but you'll have to say it in English." He said, again jokingly, "You are the Tamil expert, and I have to ask you what you had for breakfast in English?" I said, "You'll have to say it in servants' Tamil, that's all I'm good for."

That kind of day.

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