Friday, November 4, 2011

ஜெயமோகனின் வாலும் சார்த்தரின் wallஉம்

எழுத்தாளர் ஜெயமோகனின் தளத்தில் பிரசுரமாகும் கடிதங்களைப் பார்க்கும் போதெல்லாம், பாண்டிச்சேரி மாதா கோயில் தெருவில் இருக்கும் வ.உ.சி உயர்நிலைப்பள்ளியில், எங்கள் தமிழ் ஆசிரியர் இரா.திருமுருகன் அவர்கள், தமது பள்ளிப்பருவத்தில் குரு பக்தி எப்படி இருந்தது என்று கூறிய குட்டிக்கதைதான் நினைவிற்கு வரும்.

இரண்டு மாணவர்கள் கடற்கரைக்குச் சென்றனராம். கடலின் விஸ்தீரணம் கண்டு பிரமித்து வாய் பிளந்து நின்றனராம். சற்றுநேரம் கழித்து சுதாரித்துக்கொண்ட ஒருவன் கண்ணை அகட்டியபடிக் கேட்டானாம்.

அடேயப்பா எத்தனாம் பெரிய கடல்! இத யாராலையாச்சும் குடிச்சித் தீக்க முடியுமாடா?

மற்றவன் திருப்பிக் கேட்டானாம்.

ஏண்டா நம்ப வாத்தியாராலக்கூடவா முடியாது?

அப்பாவி முகபாவனையை வரவழைத்துக்கொண்டு அவர் சொன்னவிதத்தில் வகுப்பறையே சிரித்தது. சந்தடிசாக்கில் அவர் பொடி ஏற்றிக்கொண்டார்.

உங்களுக்கு நகைச்சுவையாகத் தோன்றுவது, நாற்பது வருடங்களுக்கு முன்னால் எங்கள் பள்ளிப்பருவத்தில், இப்படி நகைப்புக்குரிய விஷயம் என்று எங்களுக்குக் கனவில்கூடத் தோன்றியதில்லை என்றார் திருமுருகன் சார்.

இத்துனைக்கும் அவர் அரசியல் நிலைப்பாட்டில் பழைய காங்கிரஸ்காரர். நாத்திகர் எனினும் கருப்புச்சட்டைக்காரர் இல்லை.

எங்களைப்போல் குருட்டுத்தனமாய் இல்லாமல் வருங்காலத் தலைமுறையான நீங்கள், எதையும் சீர்தூக்கிப் பார்த்து சிந்திக்கக் கற்றுக் கொள்ளுங்கள். நான் உட்பட் எவர் சொல்வதையும் உங்கள் அனுபவத்துடன் உரசிப் பார்த்து சுயமாய் சிந்திக்கத் தொடங்கினால்தான் உங்களை செழுமைப்படுத்திக்கொள்ள முடியும்  என்று கூறினார்.

இதைக் கேட்டு 35 வருடங்களுக்கும் மேல் ஓடிவிட்டன.

உள்ளூர் மற்றும் உலகக் கலை இலக்கியம் தத்துவம் சிந்தனை சினிமா என்று ஒரு துறை விடாது அனைத்தையும் கரைத்துக்குடித்து, எதைப்பற்றியும் கருத்து சொல்லத்தக்க ஒரே ஆளுமை என்று நம்பிக்கொண்டிருக்கும் கோடிக்கணக்கான வாசகர்களுக்கு இந்தக் கதை, மூளையில் இல்லாவிட்டாலும் ஏதாவது ஒரு மூலையிலேனும் உறைக்காதா என்கிற நப்பாசையில் எழுத முனைந்ததன் விளைவே இந்தக் கட்டுரை.

சார்த்தரின் The Wall சிறுகதையை ஆங்கில மொழிபெயர்ப்பில் நீங்களே படித்துப் பாருங்கள். அப்புறம் சார்த்தரின் சிறுகதை என்று ஜெயமோகன் எழுதியுள்ள கதைச் சுருக்கத்தையும் படித்துப் பாருங்கள்.


Translated from the French by
LLOYD ALEXANDER

They pushed us into a big white room and I began to blink because the light hurt my eyes. Then I saw a table and four men behind the table, civilians, looking over the papers. They had bunched another group of prisoners in the back and we had to cross the whole room to join them. There were several I knew and some others who must have been foreigners. The two in front of me were blond with round skulls: they looked alike. I supposed they were French. The smaller one kept hitching up his pants: nerves.

It lasted about three hours: I was dizzy and my head was empty; but the room was well heated and I found that pleasant enough: for the past 24 hours we hadn't stopped shivering. The guards brought the prisoners up to the table, one after the other. The four men asked each one his name and occupation. Most of the time they didn't go any further or they would simply ask a question here and there: "Did you have anything to do with the sabotage of munitions?" Or "Where were you the morning of the 9th and what were you doing?" They didn't listen to the answers or at least didn't seem to. They were quiet for a moment and then looking straight in front of them began to write. They asked Tom if it were true he was in the International Brigade: Tom couldn't tell them otherwise because of the papers they found in his coat. They didn't ask Juan anything but they wrote for a long time after he told them his name.

"My brother Jose is the anarchist," Juan said "You know he isn't here any more. I don't belong to any party. I never had anything to do with politics."

They didn't answer. Juan went on, "I haven't done anything. I don't want to pay for somebody else."

His lips trembled. A guard shut him up and took him away. It was my turn.

"Your name is Pablo Ibbieta?"

"Yes."

The man looked at the papers and asked me "Where's Ramon Gris?"

"I don't know."

"You hid him in your house from the 6th to the 19th."

"No."

They wrote for a minute and then the guards took me out. In the corridor Tom and Juan were waiting between two guards. We started walking. Tom asked one of the guards, "So?"

"So what?" the guard said.

"Was that the cross-examination or the sentence?"

"Sentence" the guard said.

"What are they going to do with us?"

The guard answered dryly, "Sentence will be read in your cell."

As a matter of fact, our cell was one of the hospital cellars. It was terrifically cold there because of the drafts. We shivered all night and it wasn't much better during the day. I had spent the previous five days in a cell in a monastery, a sort of hole in the wall that must have dated from the middle ages: since there were a lot of prisoners and not much room, they locked us up anywhere. I didn't miss my cell; I hadn't suffered too much from the cold but I was alone; after a long time it gets irritating. In the cellar I had company. Juan hardly ever spoke: he was afraid and he was too young to have anything to say. But Tom was a good talker and he knew Spanish well.

There was a bench in the cellar and four mats. When they took us back we sat and waited in silence. After a long moment, Tom said, "We're screwed."

"l think so too," I said, "but I don't think they'll do any thing to the kid.".

"They don't have a thing against him," said Tom. "He's the brother of a militiaman and that's all."

I looked at Juan: he didn't seem to hear. Tom went on, "You know what they do in Saragossa? They lay the men down on the road and run over them with trucks. A Moroccan deserter told us that. They said it was to save ammunition."

"It doesn't save gas." I said.

I was annoyed at Tom: he shouldn't have said that.

"Then there's officers walking along the road," he went on, "supervising it all. They stick their hands in their pockets and smoke cigarettes. You think they finish off the guys? Hell no. They let them scream. Sometimes for an hour. The Moroccan said he damned near puked the first time."

"I don't believe they'll do that here," I said. "Unless they're really short on ammunition."

Day was coming in through four air holes and a round opening they had made in the ceiling on the left, and you could see the sky through it. Through this hole, usually closed by a trap, they unloaded coal into the cellar. Just below the hole there was a big pile of coal dust: it had been used to heat the hospital, but since the beginning of the war the patients were evacuated and the coal stayed there, unused; sometimes it even got rained on because they had forgotten to close the trap.

Tom began to shiver. "Good Jesus Christ, I'm cold," he said. "Here it goes again."

He got up and began to do exercises. At each movement his shirt opened on his chest, white and hairy. He lay on his back, raised his legs in the air and bicycled. I saw his great rump trembling. Tom was husky but he had too much fat. I thought how riffle bullets or the sharp points of bayonets would soon be sunk into this mass of tender flesh as in a lump of butter. It wouldn't have made me feel like that if he'd been thin.

I wasn't exactly cold, but I couldn't feel my arms and shoulders any more. Sometimes I had the impression I was missing something and began to look around for my coat and then suddenly remembered they hadn't given me a coat. It was rather uncomfortable. They took our clothes and gave them to their soldiers leaving us only our shirts and those canvas pants that hospital patients wear in the middle of summer. After a while Tom got up and sat next to me, breathing heavily.

"Warmer?"

"Good Christ, no. But I'm out of wind."

Around eight o'clock in the evening a major came in with two falangistas. He had a sheet of paper in his hand. He asked the guard, "What are the names of those three?"

"Steinbock, Ibbieta and Mirbal," the guard said.

The major put on his eyeglasses and scanned the list: "Steinbock...Steinbock...Oh yes...You are sentenced to death. You will be shot tomorrow morning." He went on looking. "The other two as well."

"That's not possible," Juan said. "Not me." The major looked at him amazed. "What's your name?"

"Juan Mirbal" he said.

"Well your name is there," said the major. "You're sentenced."

"I didn't do anything," Juan said.

The major shrugged his shoulders and turned to Tom and me.

"You're Basque?"

"Nobody is Basque."

He looked annoyed. "They told me there were three Basques. I'm not going to waste my time running after them. Then naturally you don't want a priest?"

We didn't even answer.

He said, "A Belgian doctor is coming shortly. He is authorized to spend the night with you." He made a military salute and left.

"What did I tell you," Tom said. "We get it."

"Yes, I said, "it's a rotten deal for the kid."

I said that to be decent but I didn't like the kid. His face was too thin and fear and suffering had disfigured it, twisting all his features. Three days before he was a smart sort of kid, not too bad; but now he looked like an old fairy and I thought how he'd never be young again, even if they were to let him go. It wouldn't have been too hard to have a little pity for him but pity disgusts me, or rather it horrifies me. He hadn't said anything more but he had turned grey; his face and hands were both grey. He sat down again and looked at the ground with round eyes. Tom was good hearted, he wanted to take his arm, but the kid tore himself away violently and made a face.

"Let him alone," I said in a low voice, "you can see he's going to blubber."

Tom obeyed regretfully: he would have liked to comfort the kid, it would have passed his time and he wouldn't have been tempted to think about himself. But it annoyed me: I'd never thought about death because I never had any reason to, but now the reason was here and there was nothing to do but think about it.

Tom began to talk. "So you think you've knocked guys off, do you?" he asked me. I didn't answer. He began explaining to me that he had knocked off six since the beginning of August; he didn't realize the situation and I could tell he didn't want to realize it. I hadn't quite realized it myself, I wondered if it hurt much, I thought of bullets, I imagined their burning hail through my body. All that was beside the real question; but I was calm: we had all night to understand. After a while Tom stopped talking and I watched him out of the corner of my eye; I saw he too had turned grey and he looked rotten; I told myself "Now it starts." It was almost dark, a dim glow filtered through the air holes and the pile of coal and made a big stain beneath the spot of sky; I could already see a star through the hole in the ceiling: the night would be pure and icy.

The door opened and two guards came in, followed by a blonde man in a tan uniform. He saluted us. "I am the doctor," he said. "I have authorization to help you in these trying hours."

He had an agreeable and distinguished voice. I said, "What do you want here?"

"I am at your disposal. I shall do all I can to make your last moments less difficult."

"What did you come here for? There are others, the hospital's full of them."

"I was sent here," he answered with a vague look. "Ah! Would you like to smoke?" he added hurriedly, "I have cigarettes and even cigars."

He offered us English cigarettes and puros, but we refused. I looked him in the eyes and he seemed irritated. I said to him, "You aren't here on an errand of mercy. Besides, I know you. I saw you with the fascists in the barracks yard the day I was arrested."

I was going to continue, but something surprising suddenly happened to me; the presence of this doctor no longer interested me. Generally when I'm on somebody I don't let go. But the desire to talk left me completely; I shrugged and turned my eyes away. A little later I raised my head; he was watching me curiously. The guards were sitting on a mat. Pedro, the tall thin one, was twiddling his thumbs, the other shook his head from time to time to keep from falling asleep.

"Do you want a light?" Pedro suddenly asked the doctor. The other nodded "Yes": I think he was about as smart as a log, but he surely wasn't bad. Looking in his cold blue eyes it seemed to me that his only sin was lack of imagination. Pedro went out and came back with an oil lamp which he set on the corner of the bench. It gave a bad light but it was better than nothing: they had left us in the dark the night before. For a long time I watched the circle of light the lamp made on the ceiling. I was fascinated. Then suddenly I woke up, the circle of light disappeared and I felt myself crushed under an enormous weight. It was not the thought of death, or fear; it was nameless. My cheeks burned and my head ached.

I shook myself and looked at my two friends. Tom had hidden his face in his hands. I could only see the fat white nape of his neck. Little Juan was the worst, his mouth was open and his nostrils trembled. The doctor went to him and put his hand on his shoulder to comfort him: but his eyes stayed cold. Then I saw the Belgian's hand drop stealthily along Juan's arm, down to the wrist. Juan paid no attention. The Belgian took his wrist between three fingers, distractedly, the same time drawing back a little and turning his back to me. But I leaned backward and saw him take a watch from his pocket and look at it for a moment, never letting go of the wrist. After a minute he let the hand fall inert and went and leaned his back against the wall, then, as if he suddenly remembered something very important which had to be jotted down on the spot, he took a notebook from his pocket and wrote a few lines. "Bastard," I thought angrily, "let him come and take my pulse. I'll shove my fist in his rotten face."

He didn't come but I felt him watching me. I raised my head and returned his look. Impersonally, he said to me "Doesn't it seem cold to you here?" He looked cold, he was blue.

I'm not cold," I told him.

He never took his hard eyes off me. Suddenly I understood and my hands went to my face: I was drenched in sweat. In this cellar, in the midst of winter, in the midst of drafts, I was sweating. I ran my hands through my hair, gummed together with perspiration: at the same time I saw my shirt was damp and sticking to my skin: I had been dripping for an hour and hadn't felt it. But that swine of a Belgian hadn't missed a thing; he had seen the drops rolling down my cheeks and thought: this is the manifestation of an almost pathological state of terror; and he had felt normal and proud of being alive because he was cold. I wanted to stand up and smash his face but no sooner had I made the slightest gesture than my rage and shame were wiped out; I fell back on the bench with indifference.

I satisfied myself by rubbing my neck with my handkerchief because now I felt the sweat dropping from my hair onto my neck and it was unpleasant. I soon gave up rubbing, it was useless; my handkerchief was already soaked and I was still sweating. My buttocks were sweating too and my damp trousers were glued to the bench.

Suddenly Juan spoke. "You're a doctor?"

"Yes," the Belgian said.

"Does it hurt... very long?"

"Huh? When... ? Oh, no" the Belgian said paternally "Not at all. It's over quickly." He acted as though he were calming a cash customer.

"But I... they told me... sometimes they have to fire twice."

"Sometimes," the Belgian said, nodding. "It may happen that the first volley reaches no vital organs."

"Then they have to reload their rifles and aim all over again?" He thought for a moment and then added hoarsely, "That takes time!"

He had a terrible fear of suffering, it was all he thought about: it was his age. I never thought much about it and it wasn't fear of suffering that made me sweat.

I got up and walked to the pile of coal dust. Tom jumped up and threw me a hateful look: I had annoyed him because my shoes squeaked. I wondered if my face looked as frightened as his: I saw he was sweating too. The sky was superb, no light filtered into the dark corner and I had only to raise my head to see the Big Dipper. But it wasn't like it had been: the night before I could see a great piece of sky from my monastery cell and each hour of the day brought me a different memory. Morning, when the sky was a hard, light blue, I thought of beaches on the Atlantic: at noon I saw the sun and I remembered a bar in Seville where I drank manzanilla and ate olives and anchovies: afternoons I was in the shade and I thought of the deep shadow which spreads over half a bull-ring leaving the other half shimmering in sunlight: it was really hard to see the whole world reflected in the sky like that. But now I could watch the sky as much as I pleased, it no longer evoked anything tn me. I liked that better. I came back and sat near Tom. A long moment passed.

Tom began speaking in a low voice. He had to talk, without that he wouldn't have been able no recognize himself in his own mind. I thought he was talking to me but he wasn't looking at me. He was undoubtedly afraid to see me as I was, grey and sweating: we were alike and worse than mirrors of each other. He watched the Belgian, the living.

"Do you understand?" he said. "I don't understand."

I began to speak in a low voice too. I watched the Belgian. "Why? What's the matter?"

"Something is going to happen to us than I can't understand."

There was a strange smell about Tom. It seemed to me I was more sensitive than usual to odors. I grinned. "You'll understand in a while."

"It isn't clear," he said obstinately. "I want to be brave but first I have to know. . . .Listen, they're going to take us into the courtyard. Good. They're going to stand up in front of us. How many?"

"l don't know. Five or eight. Not more."

"All right. There'll be eight. Someone'll holler 'aim!' and I'll see eight rifles looking at me. I'll think how I'd like to get inside the wall, I'll push against it with my back. . . . with every ounce of strength I have, but the wall will stay, like in a nightmare. I can imagine all that. If you only knew how well I can imagine it."

"All right, all right!" I said. "I can imagine it too."

"lt must hurt like hell. You know they aim at the eyes and the mouth to disfigure you," he added mechanically. "I can feel the wounds already. I've had pains in my head and in my neck for the past hour. Not real pains. Worse. This is what I'm going to feel tomorrow morning. And then what?"

I well understood what he meant but I didn't want to act as if I did. I had pains too, pains in my body like a crowd of tiny scars. I couldn't get used to it. But I was like him. I attached no importance to it. "After," I said. "you'll be pushing up daisies."

He began to talk to himself: he never stopped watching the Belgian. The Belgian didn't seem to be listening. I knew what he had come to do; he wasn't interested in what we thought; he came to watch our bodies, bodies dying in agony while yet alive.

"It's like a nightmare," Tom was saying. "You want to think something, you always have the impression that it's all right, that you're going to understand and then it slips, it escapes you and fades away. I tell myself there will be nothing afterwards. But I don't understand what it means. Sometimes I almost can.... and then it fades away and I start thinking about the pains again, bullets, explosions. I'm a materialist, I swear it to you; I'm not going crazy. But something's the matter. I see my corpse; that's not hard but I'm the one who sees it, with my eyes. I've got to think... think that I won't see anything anymore and the world will go on for the others. We aren't made to think that, Pablo. Believe me: I've already stayed up a whole night waiting for something. But this isn't the same: this will creep up behind us, Pablo, and we won't be able to prepare for it."

"Shut up," I said, "Do you want me to call a priest?"

He didn't answer. I had already noticed he had the tendency to act like a prophet and call me Pablo, speaking in a toneless voice. I didn't like that: but it seems all the Irish are that way. I had the vague impression he smelled of urine. Fundamentally, I hadn't much sympathy for Tom and I didn't see why, under the pretext of dying together, I should have any more. It would have been different with some others. With Ramon Gris, for example. But I felt alone between Tom and Juan. I liked that better, anyhow: with Ramon I might have been more deeply moved. But I was terribly hard just then and I wanted to stay hard.

He kept on chewing his words, with something like distraction. He certainly talked to keep himself from thinking. He smelled of urine like an old prostate case. Naturally, I agreed with him. I could have said everything he said: it isn't natural to die. And since I was going to die, nothing seemed natural to me, not this pile of coal dust, or the bench, or Pedro's ugly face. Only it didn't please me to think the same things as Tom. And I knew that, all through the night, every five minutes, we would keep on thinking things at the same time. I looked at him sideways and for the first time he seemed strange to me: he wore death on his face. My pride was wounded: for the past 24 hours I had lived next to Tom, I had listened to him. I had spoken to him and I knew we had nothing in common. And now we looked as much alike as twin brothers, simply because we were going to die together. Tom took my hand without looking at me.

"Pablo. I wonder... I wonder if it's really true that everything ends."

I took my hand away and said, "Look between your feet, you pig."

There was a big puddle between his feet and drops fell from his pants leg.

"What is it," he asked, frightened.

"You're pissing in your pants," I told him.

"lt isn't true," he said furiously. "I'm not pissing. I don't feel anything."

The Belgian approached us. He asked with false solicitude. "Do you feel ill?"

Tom did not answer. The Belgian looked at the puddle and said nothing.

"I don't know what it is," Tom said ferociously. "But I'm not afraid. I swear I'm not afraid."

The Belgian did not answer. Tom got up and went to piss in a corner. He came back buttoning his fly, and sat down without a word. The Belgian was taking notes.

All three of us watched him because he was alive. He had the motions of a living human being, the cares of a living human being; he shivered in the cellar the way the living are supposed to shiver; he had an obedient, well fed body. The rest of us hardly felt ours not in the same way anyhow. I wanted to feel my pants between my legs but I didn't dare; I watched the Belgian, balancing on his legs, master of his muscles, someone who could think about tomorrow. There we were, three bloodless shadows; we watched him and we sucked his life like vampires.

Finally he went over to little Juan. Did he want to feel his neck for some professional motive or was he obeying an impulse of charity? If he was acting by charity it was the only time during the whole night.

He caressed Juan's head and neck. The kid let himself be handled, his eyes never leaving him, then suddenly he seized the hand and looked at it strangely. He held the Belgian's hand between his own two hands and there was nothing pleasant about them, two grey pincers gripping this fat and reddish hand. I suspected what was going to happen and Tom must have suspected it too: but the Belgian didn't see a thing, he smiled paternally. After a moment the kid brought the fat red hand to his mouth and tried to bite it. The Belgian pulled away quickly and stumbled back against the wall. For a second he looked at us with horror, he must have suddenly understood that we were not men like him. I began to laugh and one of the guards jumped up. The other was asleep, his wide open eyes were blank.

I felt relaxed and over-excited at the same time. I didn't want to think any more about what would happen at dawn, at death. It made no sense. I only found words or emptiness. But as soon as I tried to think of anything else I saw rifle barrels pointing at me. Perhaps I lived through my execution twenty times; once I even thought it was for good: I must have slept a minute. They were dragging me to the wall and I was struggling; I was asking for mercy. I woke up with a start and looked at the Belgian: I was afraid I might have cried out in my sleep. But he was stroking his moustache, he hadn't noticed anything. If I had wanted to, I think I could have slept a while; I had been awake for 48 hours. I was at the end of my rope. But I didn't want to lose two hours of life; they would come to wake me up at dawn. I would follow them, stupefied with sleep and I would have croaked without so much as an "Oof!"; I didn't want that. I didn't want to die like an animal, I wanted to understand. Then I was afraid of having nightmares. I got up, walked back and forth, and, to change my ideas, I began to think about my past life. A crowd of memories came back to me pell-mell. There were good and bad ones or at least I called them that before. There were faces and incidents. I saw the face of a little novillero who was gored tn Valencia during the Feria, the face of one of my uncles, the face of Ramon Gris. I remembered my whole life: how I was out of work for three months in 1926, how I almost starved to death. I remembered a night I spent on a bench in Granada: I hadn't eaten for three days. I was angry, I didn't want to die. That made me smile. How madly I ran after happiness, after women, after liberty. Why? I wanted to free Spain, I admired Pi y Margall, I joined the anarchist movement, I spoke in public meetings: I took everything as seriously as if I were immortal.

At that moment I felt that I had my whole life in front of me and I thought, "It's a damned lie." It was worth nothing because it was finished. I wondered how I'd been able to walk, to laugh with the girls: I wouldn't have moved so much as my little finger if I had only imagined I would die like this. My life was in front of me, shut, closed, like a bag and yet everything inside of it was unfinished. For an instant I tried to judge it. I wanted to tell myself, this is a beautiful life. But I couldn't pass judgment on it; it was only a sketch; I had spent my time counterfeiting eternity, I had understood nothing. I missed nothing: there were so many things I could have missed, the taste of manzanillaor the baths I took in summer in a little creek near Cadiz; but death had disenchanted everything.

The Belgian suddenly had a bright idea. "My friends," he told us, "I will undertake if the military administration will allow it to send a message for you, a souvenir to those who love you. . . ."

Tom mumbled, "I don't have anybody."

I said nothing. Tom waited an instant then looked at me with curiosity. "You don't have anything to say to Concha?"

"No."

I hated this tender complicity: it was my own fault, I had talked about Concha the night before. I should have controlled myself. I was with her for a year. Last night I would have given an arm to see her again for five minutes. That was why I talked about her, it was stronger than I was. Now I had no more desire to see her, I had nothing more to say to her. I would not even have wanted to hold her in my arms: my body filled me with horror because it was grey and sweating and I wasn't sure that her body didn't fill me with horror. Concha would cry when she found out I was dead, she would have no taste for life for months afterward. But I was still the one who was going to die. I thought of her soft, beautiful eyes. When she looked at me something passed from her to me. But I knew it was over: if she looked at me now the look would stay in her eyes, it wouldn't reach me. I was alone.

Tom was alone too but not in the same way. Sitting cross-legged, he had begun to stare at the bench with a sort of smile, he looked amazed. He put out his hand and touched the wood cautiously as if he were afraid of breaking something, then drew back his hand quickly and shuddered. If I had been Tom I wouldn't have amused myself by touching the bench; this was some more Irish nonsense, but I too found that objects had a funny look: they were more obliterated, less dense than usual. It was enough for me to look at the bench, the lamp, the pile of coal dust, to feel that I was going to die. Naturally I couldn't think clearly about my death but I saw it everywhere, on things, in the way things fell back and kept their distance, discreetly, as people who speak quietly at the bedside of a dying man. It was his death which Tom had just touched on the bench.

In the state I was in, if someone had come and told me I could go home quietly, that they would leave me my life whole, it would have left me cold: several hours or several years of waiting is all the same when you have lost the illusion of being eternal. I clung to nothing, in a way I was calm. But it was a horrible calm because of my body; my body, I saw with its eyes, I heard with its ears, but it was no longer me; it sweated and trembled by itself and I didn't recognize it any more. I had to touch it and look at it to find out what was happening, as if it were the body of someone else. At times I could still feel it, I felt sinkings, and fallings, as when you're in a plane taking a nose dive, or I felt my heart beating. But that didn't reassure me. Everything that came from my body was all cockeyed. Most of the time it was quiet and I felt no more than a sort of weight, a filthy presence against me; I had the impression of being tied to an enormous vermin. Once I felt my pants and I felt they were damp; I didn't know whether it was sweat or urine, but I went to piss on the coal pile as a precaution.

The Belgian took out his watch, looked at it. He said, "It is three-thirty."

Bastard! He must have done it on purpose. Tom jumped; we hadn't noticed time was running out; night surrounded us like a shapeless, somber mass. I couldn't even remember that it had begun.

Little Juan began to cry. He wrung his hands, pleaded, "I don't want to die. I don't want to die."

He ran across the whole cellar waving his arms in the air then fell sobbing on one of the mats. Tom watched him with mournful eyes, without the slightest desire to console him. Because it wasn't worth the trouble: the kid made more noise than we did, but he was less touched: he was like a sick man who defends himself against his illness by fever. It's much more serious when there isn't any fever.

He wept: I could clearly see he was pitying himself; he wasn't thinking about death. For one second, one single second, I wanted to weep myself, to weep with pity for myself. But the opposite happened: I glanced at the kid, I saw his thin sobbing shoulders and I felt inhuman: I could pity neither the others nor myself. I said to myself, "I want to die cleanly."

Tom had gotten up, he placed himself just under the round opening and began to watch for daylight. I was determined to die cleanly and I only thought of that. But ever since the doctor told us the time, I felt time flying, flowing away drop by drop.

It was still dark when I heard Tom's voice: "Do you hear them?"

Men were marching in the courtyard.

"Yes."

"What the hell are they doing? They can't shoot in the dark."

After a while we heard no more. I said to Tom, "It's day."

Pedro got up, yawning, and came to blow out the lamp. He said to his buddy, "Cold as hell."

The cellar was all grey. We heard shots in the distance.

"It's starting," I told Tom. "They must do it in the court in the rear."

Tom asked the doctor for a cigarette. I didn't want one; I didn't want cigarettes or alcohol. From that moment on they didn't stop firing.

"Do you realize what's happening," Tom said.

He wanted to add something but kept quiet, watching the door. The door opened and a lieutenant came in with four soldiers. Tom dropped his cigarette.

"Steinbock?"

Tom didn't answer. Pedro pointed him out.

"Juan Mirbal?"

"On the mat."

"Get up," the lieutenant said.

Juan did not move. Two soldiers took him under the arms and set him on his feet. But he fell as soon as they released him.

The soldiers hesitated.

"He's not the first sick one," said the lieutenant. "You two carry him: they'll fix it up down there."

He turned to Tom. "Let's go."

Tom went out between two soldiers. Two others followed, carrying the kid by the armpits. He hadn't fainted; his eyes were wide open and tears ran down his cheeks. When I wanted to go out the lieutenant stopped me.

"You Ibbieta?"

"Yes."

"You wait here: they'll come for you later."

They left. The Belgian and the two jailers left too, I was alone. I did not understand what was happening to me but I would have liked it better if they had gotten it over with right away. I heard shots at almost regular intervals; I shook with each one of them. I wanted to scream and tear out my hair. But I gritted my teeth and pushed my hands in my pockets because I wanted to stay clean.

After an hour they came to get me and led me to the first floor, to a small room that smelt of cigars and where the heat was stifling. There were two officers sitting smoking in the armchairs, papers on their knees.

"You're Ibbieta?"

"Yes."

"Where is Ramon Gris?"

"l don't know."

The one questioning me was short and fat. His eyes were hard behind his glasses. He said to me, "Come here."

I went to him. He got up and took my arms, staring at me with a look that should have pushed me into the earth. At the same time he pinched my biceps with all his might. It wasn't to hurt me, it was only a game: he wanted to dominate me. He also thought he had to blow his stinking breath square in my face. We stayed for a moment like that, and I almost felt like laughing. It takes a lot to intimidate a man who is going to die; it didn't work. He pushed me back violently and sat down again. He said, "It's his life against yours. You can have yours if you tell us where he is."

These men dolled up with their riding crops and boots were still going to die. A little later than I, but not too much. They busied themselves looking for names in their crumpled papers, they ran after other men to imprison or suppress them: they had opinions on the future of Spain and on other subjects. Their little activities seemed shocking and burlesqued to me; I couldn't put myself in their place. I thought they were insane. The little man was still looking at me, whipping his boots with the riding crop. All his gestures were calculated to give him the look of a live and ferocious beast.

"So? You understand?"

I don't know where Gris is," I answered. "I thought he was in Madrid."

The other officer raised his pale hand indolently. This indolence was also calculated. I saw through all their little schemes and I was stupefied to find there were men who amused themselves that way.

"You have a quarter of an hour to think it over," he said slowly. "Take him to the laundry, bring him back in fifteen minutes. If he still refuses he will he executed on the spot."

They knew what they were doing: I had passed the night in waiting; then they had made me wait an hour in the cellar while they shot Tom and Juan and now they were locking me up in the laundry; they must have prepared their game the night before. They told themselves that nerves eventually wear out and they hoped to get me that way.

They were badly mistaken. In the laundry I sat on a stool because I felt very weak and I began to think. But not about their proposition. Of course I knew where Gris was; he was hiding with his cousins, four kilometers from the city. I also knew that I would not reveal his hiding place unless they tortured me (but they didn't seem to be thinking about that). All that was perfectly regulated, definite and in no way interested me. Only I would have liked to understand the reasons for my conduct. I would rather die than give up Gris. Why? I didn't like Ramon Gris any more. My friendship for him had died a little while before dawn at the same time as my love for Concha, at the same time as my desire to live. Undoubtedly I thought highly of him: he was tough. But it was not for this reason that I consented to die in his place; his life had no more value than mine; no life had value. They were going to slap a man up against a wall and shoot at him till he died, whether it was I or Gris or somebody else made no difference. I knew he was more useful than I to the cause of Spain but I thought to hell with Spain and anarchy; nothing was important. Yet I was there, I could save my skin and give up Gris and I refused to do it. I found that somehow comic; it was obstinacy. I thought, "I must be stubborn!" And a droll sort of gaiety spread over me.

They came for me and brought me back to the two officers. A rat ran out from under my feet and that amused me. I turned to one of the falangistas and said, "Did you see the rat?"

He didn't answer. He was very sober, he took himself seriously. I wanted to laugh but I held myself back because I was afraid that once I got started I wouldn't be able to stop. The falangista had a moustache. I said to him again, "You ought to shave off your moustache, idiot." I thought it funny that he would let the hairs of his living being invade his face. He kicked me without great conviction and I kept quiet.

"Well," said the fat officer, "have you thought about it?"

I looked at them with curiosity, as insects of a very rare species. I told them, "I know where he is. He is hidden in the cemetery. In a vault or in the gravediggers' shack."

It was a farce. I wanted to see them stand up, buckle their belts and give orders busily.

They jumped to their feet. "Let's go. Molés, go get fifteen men from Lieutenant Lopez. You," the fat man said, "I'll let you off if you're telling the truth, but it'll cost you plenty if you're making monkeys out of us."

They left in a great clatter and I waited peacefully under the guard of falangistas. From time to time I smiled, thinking about the spectacle they would make. I felt stunned and malicious. I imagined them lifting up tombstones, opening the doors of the vaults one by one. I represented this situation to myself as if I had been someone else: this prisoner obstinately playing the hero, these grim falangistas with their moustaches and their men in uniform running among the graves; it was irresistibly funny. After half an hour the little fat man came back alone. I thought he had come to give the orders to execute me. The others must have stayed in the cemetery.

The officer looked at me. He didn't look at all sheepish. "Take him into the big courtyard with the others," he said. "After the military operations a regular court will decide what happens to him."

"Then they're not... not going to shoot me?..."

"Not now, anyway. What happens afterwards is none of my business."

I still didn't understand. I asked, "But why...?"

He shrugged his shoulders without answering and the soldiers took me away. In the big courtyard there were about a hundred prisoners, women, children and a few old men. I began walking around the central grass plot, I was stupefied. At noon they let us eat in the mess hall. Two or three people questioned me. I must have known them, but I didn't answer: I didn't even know where I was.

Around evening they pushed about ten new prisoners into the court. I recognized Garcia, the baker. He said, "What damned luck you have! I didn't think I'd see you alive."

"They sentenced me to death," I said, "and then they changed their minds. I don't know why."

"They arrested me at two o'clock," Garcia said.

"Why?" Garcia had nothing to do with politics.

"I don't know," he said. "They arrest everybody who doesn't think the way they do." He lowered his voice. "They got Gris."

I began to tremble. "When?"

"This morning. He messed it up. He left his cousin's on Tuesday because they had an argument. There were plenty of people to hide him but he didn't want to owe anything to anybody. He said, ' I'd go and hide in Ibbieta's place, but they got him, so I'll go hide in the cemetery.'"

"In the cemetery?"

"Yes. What a fool. Of course they went by there this morning, that was sure to happen. They found him in the gravediggers' shack. He shot at them and they got him."

"In the cemetery!"

Everything began to spin and I found myself sitting on the ground: I laughed so hard I cried.

சார்த்தரின் The Wall மற்றும் பிற கதைகள் தொகுப்பு PDF வடிவம்

சார்த்தரின் (The Wall) சுவர் சிறுகதை என்று, Oct 19 2007 சிறுகதையில் என்ன நடக்கிறது? என்கிற கட்டுரையில் ஜெயமோகன் எழுதி இருக்கும் ’கதைச்சுருக்கம்’ கீழே தரப்பட்டுள்ளது.

<சுவர் [The Wall] என்ற சார்த்ரின் கதை ஓர் உதாரணம். புரட்சியாளன் சிறைப்பட்டு கடும் சித்திரவதையை அனுபவிக்கிறான். அவனிடம் தன் தலைவனைக் காட்டிக்கொடுக்கும்படிக் கோரப்படுகிறது. அவன் மறுக்கிறான். கடைசியாக ஒவ்வொருவரையாகக் கொல்கிறார்கள். இவன் முறை வரும்போது நீ உன் தலைவன் இருப்பிடத்தைச் சொன்னால் உயிர் கிடைக்கும் என்கிறார்கள்.

அக்கணத்தில் அவனுக்கு மரணத்தை சற்று ஒத்திப்போடத்தோன்றுகிறது. தலைவன் இருக்கும் இடத்தைச் சொல்கிறேன் என்கிறான். தலைவர் இருப்பது மலைகளில் பழங்குடிகள் நடுவே. வேண்டுமென்றே அவர் நகரின் சேரிப்பகுதியில் இருப்பதாகச் சொல்கிறான். சேரிபப்குதி வீடுகளை தேடிமுடிக்க விடிந்துவிடும். அதுவரை உயிர்பிழைக்கலாமே என்ற எண்ணம்

ஆனால் தலைவர் முந்தையநாள் இரவே அந்த சேரிக்கு இடம்பெயர்ந்திருக்கிறார். மாட்டிக் கொள்கிறார். ”உன்னை என்னவோ என்று நினைத்தென். நீயும் துரோகிதானா?’என்று சொல்லி அவனை விடுவிக்கிறார் அடக்குமுறை காப்டன்.

புரட்சியாளன் அவனது அதுவரையிலான மொத்த வாழ்க்கைக்கும் பொருளில்லாமல் போய் ஒரு துரோகியாக வரலாற்றில் பதிவாகிறான். ”நான் அழுகை வரும்வரை சிரித்தேன்”என்று கதை முடிகிறது.&

சற்று முன்னர் வெட்டிப்போட்ட சதைத் துண்டத்தின் ரத்தக் கசிவின் உயிர்ப்போடு இருக்கும் ஃப்ரெஞ்சுக் கதைக்கு கல்கி விகடன்  குமுதம் பாணியில் கண் மூக்கு காதெல்லாம் வைத்து,

<புரட்சியாளன் சிறைப்பட்டு கடும் சித்திரவதையை அனுபவிக்கிறான்>.

பாவம், இது சார்த்தருக்கே தெரியவில்லை பாருங்கள்.

I also knew that I would not reveal his hiding place unless they tortured me (but they didn't seem to be thinking about that).

கதை சொல்லும் இபிட்டா என்கிற ’புரட்சியாளனுக்கு’ ஏற்படும் சித்திரவதை என்று ’கதையில்’ எழுதப்பட்டிருப்பது என்ன? முண்டாவில் ஒரு கிள்ளு.

He said to me, "Come here."

I went to him. He got up and took my arms, staring at me with a look that should have pushed me into the earth. At the same time he pinched my biceps with all his might. It wasn't to hurt me, it was only a game: he wanted to dominate me. He also thought he had to blow his stinking breath square in my face. We stayed for a moment like that, and I almost felt like laughing. It takes a lot to intimidate a man who is going to die; it didn't work. He pushed me back violently and sat down again.

அந்தக் ’கிள்ளு’ அல்ல விஷயம் அதைப்பற்றி அதற்குப் பிறகு எழுதப்பட்டிருப்பதால்தான் அது இன்றும் பேசப்படும் சிறுகதையாக இருக்கிறது.

வாசிப்பு பற்றி எதைப் படிக்கவேண்டும் எப்படிப் படிக்கவேண்டும் என்று ரொம்பவே எம்பிக்குதித்து எல்லாவற்றையும் நினைவிலிருந்து மேற்கோள் காட்டி எழுதுவதன் மூலம் தன்னைவிடப் படிப்பாளி எவனும் இல்லை என்கிற பிம்பத்தைக் கட்டி எழுப்புபவருடைய வாசிப்பின் நாட்டிய சாஸ்திர லட்சணம் எப்படி இருக்கிறது என்று நெஞ்சில் இருக்கிற மஞ்சா சோற்றில் ஒரு சோறைப் பதம் பார்ப்பதில் தவறில்லைதானே.

உண்மையை அல்ல, உண்மை எனத் தனக்குத் தோன்றுவதை, நம்புவதைக்க்கூட அல்ல, தான் சொல்வதே உண்மை என்று எந்தவிதத் தரவும் கொடுக்காமல் ’கொடுப்பது நான் ஏந்திக்கொள்ள வேண்டியவன் நீ’ என்று உலகுக்கு அறிவிப்பவரின் உலக இலக்கியப் புரிதல் என்னவென்று பார்ப்போம்.

<அக்கணத்தில் அவனுக்கு மரணத்தை சற்று ஒத்திப்போடத்தோன்றுகிறது>

இது எங்கே உள்ளது? சார்த்தரின் கதையிலா? கொடுக்கப்பட்டிருக்கும் ஆங்கில மொழிபெயர்ப்பைத் தேடிப்பார்ப்போர் துரதிருஷ்டசாலிகள்.

வரப்போகும் மரணத்தை சற்று ஒத்திப்போடத்தான் கதைசொல்லி ’காட்டிக்கொடுக்கிறானா?’


தனி விசாரணையில், அவன் இபிட்டாதானே என்று உறுதிசெய்துகொண்டபின் ரோமன் க்ரிஸ் எங்கே என்று கேட்டு எனக்குத்தெரியாது என்று கூறியதும் வைக்கப்படும் நிபந்தனையே 


He said, "It's his life against yours. You can have yours if you tell us where he is." 


இதுதான் மரணத்தைச் சற்று ஒத்திப்போடுவதா? இல்லை, இதன் பொருள் பரிவர்த்தனையாய்க் கிடைக்க இருக்கும் விடுதலையா? இல்லை, காட்டப்படுவது கேரெட் என்று அறியாதவனா கதைசொல்லும் ’புரட்சியாளன்’


ஆரம்ப வாசகன் ஆர்வக்கோளாறில் தப்பும் தவறுமாய்ப் புரிந்துகொண்டு உளறுவதைப் பொறுத்துக்கொள்ளலாம், உலக ஜனத்திரளையே தன்னுடைய வாசகக்கூட்டமாய்ப் பார்க்கும் எழுத்தாளத் திலகங்கள் எழுதும்போது சரியாக எழுதவேண்டாமா? எல்லா பஜனையும் நினைவிலிருந்தே செய்வேன் என்று அடம்பிடிக்க இது என்ன சாமியார் மடமா? சகித்துக்கொள்ள இது என்ன டீக்கடைப் பேச்சா? இல்லை இலக்கியமா? எதிர்காலப் புத்தகத்திற்கானக் கட்டுரை அல்லவா அது? எழுதுவது எல்லாவற்றையும் புத்தகமாக்குவதில் இருக்கும் அக்கரையில் கொஞ்சமாவது கட்டுரையில் காட்டவேண்டாமா? இத்துனைக்கும் கட்டுரையின் தலைப்பென்னவோ சிறுகதையில் என்ன நடக்கிறது.


மைக் பிடித்து ஆன்மாவை உலுக்கத் தெரியாத சார்த்தர், தட்டையான பார்வையில் மட்டமான தளத்தில் எப்படி எழுதி வைத்திருக்கிறார் என்று பாருங்கள்.

"You have a quarter of an hour to think it over," he said slowly. "Take him to the laundry, bring him back in fifteen minutes. If he still refuses he will he executed on the spot."


They knew what they were doing: I had passed the night in waiting; then they had made me wait an hour in the cellar while they shot Tom and Juan and now they were locking me up in the laundry; they must have prepared their game the night before. They told themselves that nerves eventually wear out and they hoped to get me that way.


They were badly mistaken. In the laundry I sat on a stool because I felt very weak and I began to think. But not about their proposition. Of course I knew where Gris was; he was hiding with his cousins, four kilometers from the city. I also knew that I would not reveal his hiding place unless they tortured me (but they didn't seem to be thinking about that). All that was perfectly regulated, definite and in no way interested me. Only I would have liked to understand the reasons for my conduct. I would rather die than give up Gris. Why? I didn't like Ramon Gris any more. My friendship for him had died a little while before dawn at the same time as my love for Concha, at the same time as my desire to live. Undoubtedly I thought highly of him: he was tough. But it was not for this reason that I consented to die in his place; his life had no more value than mine; no life had value. They were going to slap a man up against a wall and shoot at him till he died, whether it was I or Gris or somebody else made no difference. I knew he was more useful than I to the cause of Spain but I thought to hell with Spain and anarchy; nothing was important. Yet I was there, I could save my skin and give up Gris and I refused to do it. I found that somehow comic; it was obstinacy. I thought, "I must be stubborn!" And a droll sort of gaiety spread over me.

They came for me and brought me back to the two officers. A rat ran out from under my feet and that amused me. I turned to one of the falangistas and said, "Did you see the rat?"


He didn't answer. He was very sober, he took himself seriously. I wanted to laugh but I held myself back because I was afraid that once I got started I wouldn't be able to stop. The falangista had a moustache. I said to him again, "You ought to shave off your moustache, idiot." I thought it funny that he would let the hairs of his living being invade his face. He kicked me without great conviction and I kept quiet.


"Well," said the fat officer, "have you thought about it?"


I looked at them with curiosity, as insects of a very rare species. I told them, "I know where he is. He is hidden in the cemetery. In a vault or in the gravediggers' shack."


பல்லாண்டுகள் கழித்து வரப்போகும் பல்லாண்டு பல்லாண்டு பல்லாயிரத்தாண்டுகளுக்கு எங்கேனும் புரியாமல் போய்விடுமோ என்று சற்று அதிகப்படியாய்,


It was a farce. I wanted to see them stand up, buckle their belts and give orders busily.


அடிக்கோடிடாத குறையாய் சார்த்தர் எழுதியும்கூட, வரலாற்றைத் தாண்டி பல்லாண்டுகள் வாழப்போகும் இலக்கியத்தைப் பெருக்கிக் குவிப்பதில் முழுமூச்சாய் முனைந்திருக்கும் கேர் ஆஃப் விஷ்ணுபுரம் எழுத்தாளருக்கு இலக்கியம் பிடிபடாமல், சித்திரவதை தாளாமல் ‘காட்டிக் கொடுப்பதாய்’த்தான் புரியும் என்றால் என்ன வாசிப்பு என்ன வாசிப்பு சீவாளியை சப்பியே சப்பியே தின்று தீர்த்த வாசிப்பு என்றல்லவா கொண்டாட வேண்டும். இதற்கே இரண்டு விஷ்ணுபுர விருதுகள் வழங்கிக்கொள்ளாம். 


<தலைவர்> 


2007ல் தமிழ் சினிமாவின் தலீவா கலாச்சாரத்தில் முக்குளிக்கத் தொடங்கியிருந்ததால் உண்டான விளைவோ? கலையை கிரகித்துக்கொள்ள நுன்னுணர்வுக்கொம்புகள் எல்லோருக்கும் பிறவியிலேயே கொடுக்கப்படுவதில்லை அவனவன் உருவாக்கிக் கொள்கிற விஷயம் அது.  


<புரட்சியாளன் சிறைப்பட்டு கடும் சித்திரவதையை அனுபவிக்கிறான்>.


He said, "A Belgian doctor is coming shortly. He is authorized to spend the night with you." He made a military salute and left.


"What did I tell you," Tom said. "We get it." 


கொல்லப்படப்போவது சொல்லப்படும் விதம் எப்படி இருக்கிறது என்று பாருங்கள். சித்திரவதை என்கிற வார்த்தையைக் கதைச்சுருக்கத்தில் படிப்பவனுக்கு நகக்கணு ஊசி ரத்தம் எல்லாம் கண்ணெதிரில் தோன்றிவிடும் பட்சத்தில் கதையின் உயிரை ஆவியாக்கியதுதான் கதைச் சுருக்கர் ஆற்றிய இலக்கியபணி.


டாக்டருடனான உரையாடலில்,  மரணத்தின் அழுத்தம் எப்படிக் கொடுக்கப்படுகிறது பாருங்கள்.


He had an agreeable and distinguished voice. I said, "What do you want here?"


"I am at your disposal. I shall do all I can to make your last moments less difficult."


"What did you come here for? There are others, the hospital's full of them."


"I was sent here," he answered with a vague look.


டாக்டருடன் சிறையில் அவர்கள் கழிக்கும் இரவு எப்படி விவரிக்கப்படுகிறது பாருங்கள். ஒரு அதட்டல் ஒரு மிரட்டல் இல்லை. ஆனால், கதைக்குள் அந்த பெல்ஜியன் டாக்டர் நுழைந்ததும் அவர்கள் மூவரின்மேலும் மரணம் எப்படி கவிந்துவிடுகிறது. 

All three of us watched him because he was alive. He had the motions of a living human being, the cares of a living human being; he shivered in the cellar the way the living are supposed to shiver; he had an obedient, well fed body. The rest of us hardly felt ours not in the same way anyhow. I wanted to feel my pants between my legs but I didn't dare; I watched the Belgian, balancing on his legs, master of his muscles, someone who could think about tomorrow. There we were, three bloodless shadows; we watched him and we sucked his life like vampires.

இபிட்டாவின் மனவோட்டம்,

I'd never thought about death because I never had any reason to, but now the reason was here and there was nothing to do but think about it.


அதீத வார்த்தைகளற்ற அமைதியான விவரிப்பிலேயே மனம் வெளிப்படுவதைக் கானலாம்.


"Yes, I said, "it's a rotten deal for the kid."


I said that to be decent but I didn't like the kid. His face was too thin and fear and suffering had disfigured it, twisting all his features. Three days before he was a smart sort of kid, not too bad; but now he looked like an old fairy and I thought how he'd never be young again, even if they were to let him go. It wouldn't have been too hard to have a little pity for him but pity disgusts me, or rather it horrifies me. He hadn't said anything more but he had turned grey; his face and hands were both grey. He sat down again and looked at the ground with round eyes. Tom was good hearted, he wanted to take his arm, but the kid tore himself away violently and made a face.


"Let him alone," I said in a low voice, "you can see he's going to blubber."


Tom obeyed regretfully: he would have liked to comfort the kid, it would have passed his time and he wouldn't have been tempted to think about himself. But it annoyed me: I'd never thought about death because I never had any reason to, but now the reason was here and there was nothing to do but think about it.

கிடைத்ததடா சிறைச்சூழல் என்று நெஞ்சை ரொட்டிமாவாய்ப் பிசையும் எத்தத்தனமும் இல்லை.


<தலைவர் இருப்பது மலைகளில் பழங்குடிகள் நடுவே>  


தரிசனப் பார்வையில் மலை பழங்குடி படுகை மாடன் மோட்சம் எல்லாம் தெரியலாம் ஆனால் பாவப்பட்ட ழீன் பால் சார்த்தர் கதையில் இருப்பது என்ன? 


Of course I knew where Gris was; he was hiding with his cousins, four kilometers from the city.

கசின்ஸ் என்றால் மலைகளில் வாழும் பழங்குடிகளா? கைக்குக் கிடைத்ததை கேள்விமுறையே இல்லாமல் அடித்துவிட்டுப் போய்க்கொண்டே இருக்கலாம்.ஏனென்றால் எழுத்தாளர்கள் எல்லாம் சிருஷ்டி கர்த்தாக்கள் அல்லவா? 


<அவர் நகரின் சேரிப்பகுதியில்>  


சார்த்தர் எழுதிய கதையில் இருப்பதோ 


"I know where he is. He is hidden in the cemetery. In a vault or in the gravediggers' shack." 


இடுகாடு என்றால் சேரியா? சவக்குழி தோண்டுபவனின் குடிசை என்றால் உடனே அந்த இடமே சேரியாகிவிடுமா? அடடா இவ்வளவு காலம் தெரியாமல் போயிற்றே. சந்தேகமே இல்லாமல் தமிழின் கலைச்சொற் களஞ்சியமாய் விளங்கத் தகுதியான நபர்தான்.


<சேரிபப்குதி வீடுகளை தேடிமுடிக்க விடிந்துவிடும். அதுவரை உயிர்பிழைக்கலாமே என்ற எண்ணம்> 


கதைச்சுருக்கத்தைப படிப்பவன் தப்பித்தவறி சார்த்தரைப் படித்தவன் எனில்  அவனுக்கு அக்கணமே சாவு நிச்சயம். பிரத்தியேகமாய் சார்த்தர் எழுதி நாகர்கோவிலுக்கென்று பிரத்தியேகமாய் அனுப்பிவைத்தப் பிரதியில் இருக்கக்கூடுமோ?


கதையில் இருப்பதுவோ கதைசொல்லி கற்பனைசெய்துகொள்ளும் காட்சி,


I imagined them lifting up tombstones, opening the doors of the vaults one by one. I represented this situation to myself as if I had been someone else: this prisoner obstinately playing the hero, these grim falangistas with their moustaches and their men in uniform running among the graves; it was irresistibly funny. 


<ஆனால் தலைவர் முந்தையநாள் இரவே அந்த சேரிக்கு இடம்பெயர்ந்திருக்கிறார்.> 


ஆனால் கார்சியா என்கிற புதிதாய்ப் பிடிபட்டவன் க்ரிஸ் பிடிபட்டது பற்றி இபிட்டா என்கிற கதைசொல்லியிடம் கூறுவது என்ன?  


"This morning. He messed it up. He left his cousin's on Tuesday because they had an argument. There were plenty of people to hide him but he didn't want to owe anything to anybody. He said, ' I'd go and hide in Ibbieta's place, but they got him, so I'll go hide in the cemetery.'" 


ஏரி சேரியெல்லாம் எங்கே# இருக்கிறது?


க்ரிஸ் பற்றி இபிட்டா கொண்டிருந்த எண்ணத்தை, தனது உறவுகளைவிட இபிட்டாவைத் தேர்ந்தெடுக்கும் க்ரிஸ் கூற்றுடன் இணைத்துப் பார்த்தால், கெத்தேல் சாகேப்புவின் கொத்தவால் சாவடி, கோவிந்தநாம சங்கீர்த்தன கதாகாலட்சேபம் ஏன் இலக்கியமல்ல என்பது சார்த்தரின் கதைசொல்லும் நுட்பம் பிடிபடுபவர்களுக்குப் புரியக்கூடும்.


<”உன்னை என்னவோ என்று நினைத்தென். நீயும் துரோகிதானா?’>


இந்த டயலாக்கைப் படித்ததும் பால்ய பருவத்தில் பெருமாள் கோவிலில் கேட்ட காலட்சேபத்தில் வரும் 


ராமசமியின் தூதன் நானடா
ரா வணா என்றான்


பாட்டுதான் நினவுக்கு வந்தது.


<என்று சொல்லி அவனை விடுவிக்கிறார் அடக்குமுறை காப்டன்.>


’விடுவிக்கப்படுவது’ சார்த்தர் கதையில் எங்கே இருக்கிறது என்று கண்டுபிடித்துக் கொடுக்கும் முதல் ஐந்து நபர்களுக்கு, நாகர்கோவிலில் உட்கார்ந்து, ஒப்பிட்டுப் பார்க்க ஒரு நகல்கூட வைத்துக்கொள்ளாமல் எழுதியெழுதி மதராசப்பட்டிணத்திற்கு தினம்தினம் தமிழினி வசந்தகுமார் பெயருக்குக் கொரியரில் அனுப்பப்பட்டு ஏழே நாளில் முடிக்கப்பட்ட ’தி காடு’ என்கிற குறியீட்டு நாவலின், 350  உரூபாய் விலையுள்ள ஆங்கில மொழிபெயர்ப்பான The Forest ஐ கிழக்கு பதிப்பகத்தின் அதிரடி ஆஃபரில் 135உரூபாய்க்கு என் உபயமாய் வாங்கித்தரப்படும் டும் டும் டும் டும் டும்.


Around evening they pushed about ten new prisoners into the court. I recognized Garcia, the baker. 


முதலில் மக்கள் குழுமியுள்ள இடத்திற்கும் பின்னர் கோர்ட்டுக்கும்தானே இபிட்டா கொண்டுசெல்லப்படுகிறான். அது விடுவித்தலா? குடுமி ஏதாவது ஓடிவந்து மரணத்திலிருந்து விடுவித்தல் என்று பொழிப்புரை கொடுத்தால் கோத்தா ங்கொம்மா என்று திட்டவேண்டிவரும் அப்புறம் என்னைக் குறை சொல்லாதீர்கள்.


அதற்கும் முன்பாக, தடியனுக்கும் இபிட்டாவுக்கும் நடக்கும் உரையாடலைக் கவனியுங்கள். 


The officer looked at me. He didn't look at all sheepish. "Take him into the big courtyard with the others," he said. "After the military operations a regular court will decide what happens to him."


"Then they're not... not going to shoot me?..."


"Not now, anyway. What happens afterwards is none of my business."


I still didn't understand. I asked, "But why...?"


அதற்கும் முன்பாக, தான் கொடுத்த துப்பினை வைத்து அவர்கள் எப்படித் தேடப்போகிறார்கள் என்பது பற்றி இபிட்டா கற்பனை செய்வதை பாருங்கள்.


They left in a great clatter and I waited peacefully under the guard of falangistas. From time to time I smiled, thinking about the spectacle they would make. I felt stunned and malicious. I imagined them lifting up tombstones, opening the doors of the vaults one by one. I represented this situation to myself as if I had been someone else: this prisoner obstinately playing the hero, these grim falangistas with their moustaches and their men in uniform running among the graves; it was irresistibly funny. After half an hour the little fat man came back alone. I thought he had come to give the orders to execute me. The others must have stayed in the cemetery.


எவ்வளவு படிக்கிறோம் என்பதல்ல எழுத்தின் சாரத்தை எவ்வளவு பிடிக்கிறோம் என்பதல்லவா முக்கியம்.


இப்போது, இதற்கும் முன்பாக இபிட்டா கொடுத்த துப்பினைக் கொண்டு அவர்கள் புறப்படுவதைப் பாருங்கள்.

They jumped to their feet. "Let's go. Molés, go get fifteen men from Lieutenant Lopez. You," the fat man said, "I'll let you off if you're telling the truth, but it'll cost you plenty if you're making monkeys out of us." 


வெற்று மிரட்டலுக்காய் சொல்லும் நிபந்தனை வார்த்தைதான்


 "I'll let you off if you're telling the truth, 


அந்த let you off என்பது மட்டும் நினைவில் தங்கிவிட சினிமா டயலாக் ரைட்டராய் முளைவிடத்தொடங்கியிருந்தவர் வாங்கிய காசுக்கும் மேலே கூவினால்தான் தன் இடத்தைத் தக்கவைத்துக்கொள்ள உதவும் என்று முடிவெடுத்ததன் விளைவாகப் பின்னிப் பெடலெடுப்பதைப் படிக்க நேர்ந்தால் பல சீரியல் டயலாக் ரைட்டர்களுக்கு அஸ்தியில் ஜுரம் கண்டுவிடும். கதை சொல்லி விடுவிக்கப்படவே இல்லை. அவன் விடுவிக்கப்பட்டிருந்தால், புதிதாய் உள்ளே வரும் கைதியான கார்சியாவை எப்படி சந்திக்க இயலும்? 


Around evening they pushed about ten new prisoners into the court. I recognized Garcia, the baker. 


கார்சியா மூலமாகத்தானே ’தலைவர்’ ரோமன் க்ரிஸ் கைதானது தெரிய வருகிறது.


சார்த்தர் கதையில் வரும் அதிகாரியின் கட்டளை என்ன?

The officer looked at me. He didn't look at all sheepish. "Take him into the big courtyard with the others," he said. "After the military operations a regular court will decide what happens to him."


"Then they're not... not going to shoot me?..."


"Not now, anyway. What happens afterwards is none of my business."


I still didn't understand. I asked, "But why...?"


He shrugged his shoulders without answering and the soldiers took me away. In the big courtyard there were about a hundred prisoners, women, children and a few old men. I began walking around the central grass plot, I was stupefied. At noon they let us eat in the mess hall. Two or three people questioned me. I must have known them, but I didn't answer: I didn't even know where I was.

அங்கே பெண்களும் குழந்தைகளும் இருப்பது கண்டு சார்த்தர் இபிட்டாவின் கையில் மைக் கொடுத்து மனசாட்சியே பேசு ஜூட் எனச் சொல்லவில்லை. 

<புரட்சியாளன் அவனது அதுவரையிலான மொத்த வாழ்க்கைக்கும் பொருளில்லாமல் போய் ஒரு துரோகியாக வரலாற்றில் பதிவாகிறான்.>


எடுத்ததற்கெல்லாம் ஆன்மாவைக் உலுக்குவதும் வரலாற்றைக் குழப்புவதுமாக பிய்த்துக்கொண்டிருந்தால் வாலைக் கக்கத்தில் வைத்துக்கொண்டுன் வேறொன்றை இடைவெளியில் விட்டு ஆப்பைக் கையில் எடுத்துக்கொண்ட அறிவுஜீவிக்குரங்காகத்தான் ஆகவேண்டியிருக்கும்.


"They got Gris."


I began to tremble. "When?"

கதை சொல்லியான இபிட்டாவுக்கும் விசாரணை செய்பவருக்கும் தவிர வேறு எவருக்கும் தெரியாத ’காட்டிக்கொடுத்த’ விஷயம் வரலாற்றுப் பதிவாக ஆகிவிடுவது எப்படி? ஸ்பெஷல் தரிசனமோ?


பிடிபட்ட பின்னரும், தானும் சாகாமல் சகாவையும் காட்டிக்கொடுக்காமல் இருக்க, சொல்கிற பொய் தற்செயலாய் உண்மையாகி தோழன் பிடிபடக் காரணமாகிவிடுவதை, வாழ்வின் காரண-காரியங்களை மீறிய அபத்தத்தைக் குறிக்கிற கதையை சார்த்தர் எழுதினால் அதற்குக் கரும்புள்ளி செம்புள்ளி குத்திக் கழுதைமேல் ஏற்றிக் கோடம்பாக்கத்திற்கு க்ஷேத்திராடணம் செய்யக் கூட்டி வருவதுதான் மெத்தப் படித்த மேதமையோ?


இருபதாயிரம் புத்தகங்களின் முன்னட்டை பின்னடைகளைப் படிப்பது முக்கியமா இல்லை இரண்டே புத்தகம் எனினும் கவனமாய்ப் படித்து ஆழமாய்ப் புரிந்துகொள்வது முக்கியமா?


தீவிர வாசிப்பு சித்தர்களான எஸ்.ராமகிருஷ்ணனுக்கும் ஜெயமோகனுக்கும் என்ன வேறுபாடு?


< ”நான் அழுகை வரும்வரை சிரித்தேன்”என்று கதை முடிகிறது.>


முன்னவர் முதல் வரியைப் படித்துவிட்டு சொந்த ரீல் ஓட்டுவார். பின்னவர் எல்லாவற்றையும் ஓரக்கண்ணால் ஒரு ஓட்டம் ஓட்டி கடைசி வரியை மட்டும் படித்துவிட்டு முழு ரீல் ஓட்டுவார்.


1989ல் நான் கல்கி வாசகர்களுக்காக ‘நெகிழ்’ இலக்கியத்தை இடது கையாலும் சிறுபத்திரிகைகளுக்காக தீவிர இலக்கியத்தை வலதுகையாலும் ஆற்றிக்கொண்டிருந்த காலகட்டத்தில், குமுதத்தின் சினிமா பிட் எழுத்தாளரான பாரிவள்ளல் பழனியில் மொட்டையடித்துக்கொண்டபடி என்னை உற்சாகப்படுத்திக்கொண்டிருந்த சமயத்தில், பக்கத்தில் யுவன் பட்டையடித்துவிட்டுப் மட்டையாகிப் படுத்திருந்தபோது, சனாதன ராஜன் மலையாளத்தில் சார்த்தரின் வால் பற்றி நீண்ட கட்டுரை எழுதி இருந்தார். ஃப்ரெஞ்சு வாசகர்களின் அசட்டுணர்வுக்கு அப்பீலாகும்படியாக மூலக்கதை எழுதிய சார்த்தர், ஆங்கில வாசகர்களுக்காக சுவர் கதையை இலக்கிய நேர்த்தியுடன் மாற்றி எழுதிக் கொடுத்திருந்தார். அந்த வடிவமே ஆங்கிலத்தில் மொழிபெயர்க்கப்பட்டுள்ளது என்பதை சனாதன ராஜன் தமது கட்டுரையில் குறிப்பிட்டு உள்ளார். 


இலக்கிய அறிவே கொஞ்சமுமற்ற சுந்தர ராமசாமியால் நிராகரிக்கப்பட்ட என் படுகை கதையை நிகழில் பிரசுரிக்கக் கொடுத்தமைக்கு நன்றிக்கடனாய் கோவை ஞானி அவர்கள் தன்னிடம் இருந்த சுவர் கதையின் அற்புதமான கவித்துவக் கலக்கலான ஆங்கில மொழிபெயர்ப்பின் ஒற்றைப் பிரதியை எனக்குப் பரிசாக அளித்தார். அதை ஏழெட்டு வருடங்கள் என் தலைமாட்டிலேயே வைத்துக்கொண்டு தூங்கி இருக்கிறேன். சமீபத்தில்தான் அந்தப்பிரதி என் தலையின் பாரம் தாளாமல் நைந்து போய்விட்டது. அபூர்வமான அந்தப் பிரதி போக உலகெங்கும் கிடைக்கும் ஆங்கில மொழிபெயர்ப்புக்கள் எல்லாம் மூலத்தை அப்படியே அப்பட்டமாய் மொழிபெயர்த்த மொண்ணையான பிரதிகளே. இன்று இணையத்தில் பிடிஎஃப் வடிவில் கிடைப்பவையும் அவையே. சார்த்தரின் The Wall சிறுகதைக்கு, நான் புழங்கிக்கொண்டிருக்கும் கோடம்பாக்க மேம்பாலத்தின் உயர்ந்த தளத்தில் இன்னொரு வடிவம் சார்த்தராலேயே எழுதப்பட்டு ஆங்கிலத்தில் வெளியாகி உள்ளது என்கிற பின்னணித் தகவல்கள் எதுவும் தெரியாத அரைவேக்காடான விமலாதித்த மாமல்லன் ஜாக்கிசேகரை மட்டுமே துணையாகக் கொண்டு, இணையத்தின் அற்ப வாசகர்களுக்கு தீனி போட்டுக்கொண்டிருக்கிறார். நம் குழுமத்தின் நியூயார்க் கிளையின் வாசகர் ஒருவர் சுட்டி கொடுத்திருந்தார். என்னைப்பற்றி எழுதப்படுவது எதையும் நான் படிப்பதில்லை. சார்த்தர் என்பதனால் போனால் போகிறது என்று படித்தேன். இன்னொரு வெர்சன் இருப்பதே தெரியாமல் வம்பு மொழியில் இன்னொரு வசைமாரி என்று அகில உலகக் குழுமத்தின் கோடிக்கணக்கான வாசகர்களுக்கு ஜெயமோகன் மடல் அனுப்ப, ஆமாம் ஆமாம் அந்த வெர்சனை அபுதாபி பாண்டிபஜார் சிங்கப்பூர் பிளாஸா படிக்கட்டில் உட்கார்ந்து 2022ல் நானும் படிக்கப்போகிறேன் என்று எவ்வளவு படிப்பாளிகள் கொல்லப் போகிறார்களோ? இரண்டு வெர்சன்கள் இருப்பதாய்த் தரவு கொடுத்துவிட்டார் எனவே மஞ்சா சோறு கஞ்சா சோறு என்று ஓவராய்க் கூவிய மாமல்லன் மன்னிப்பு கேட்கவேண்டும் என்று பிணிமனை என்கிற பலகை கூட இல்லாது ஓடும் எந்த பஸ் என் மீது ஏறப்போகிறதோ என்பதை நினைத்து பீதியில் இப்போதே எனக்கு பேதியாகத் தொடங்கிவிட்டது.


நெஞ்சில் இருக்கும் மஞ்சா சோறை எடுப்பேன் என்றால் குற்றம். எடுத்துத் தெருவில் கொட்டிவிட்டால் பிரச்சனை இல்லை. கொன்றால் பாவம் தின்றால் போச்சு.


ஒரு கதைச்சுருக்கத்தை நினைவிலிருந்து தவறாக எழுதியது பெரிய கொலைக்குற்றமா. அதற்கு இவ்வளவு பெரிய பஞ்சாயத்தா என்று குருகுலத்துக் குவளைத் தூக்கிகள் கேட்கக்கூடும். எழுதியது குவளைகள் என்றால் எவனும் சீந்தப்போவதில்லை. இலக்கிய எழுத்தாளர் அதுவும் தனது முன்னோடிகளுக்கு தன் நாவலால் விருது கொடுக்கும் தகுதியுடையவர் எனும்போது பொறுப்பு கூடுதலாகிறது அல்லவா? தட்டச்சுப் பலகையில் கை வைக்கும் முன்பாக, தான் சொல்வது சரிதானா என்று தனக்குத்தானே கேட்டுக்கொள்ள வேண்டாமா? தொப்பி-திலகம் என்று உடற்குறையைக் குரூர வக்கிரத்துடன் நகைச்சுவை என்கிற பெயரில் எழுதிவிட்டு கொமட்டில் குத்து விழப்போகிறது எனும்போது ஐயையோ கருத்து கந்தசாமியின் கழுத்தை நெரித்துக் கொல்ல வருகிறார்களே என்று அலறுவது அறமா? 


விரிவுக்கு ஏற்றார்ப்போல் வேரும் ஆழமாய் சென்றிருந்தால்தான் அதற்குப் பெயர் விருட்சம். 


விருதுகளை அடுக்கித் தொட்டியை உயர்த்துவதால் பான்சாய், அண்ணாந்து பார்க்கும்படி உயரமாகிவிடுமா என்ன?


***


சார்த்தரின் The Wall கதையை ஜெ.மோ தன் வலைதளத்தில் மிகத் தவறாக சுருக்கி சொல்லி இருப்பதை இங்கு சேர்த்துக் கொள்கிறேன். அவர் பொதுவாக நினைவில் இருந்துதான் எதையும் சொல்லுவார்; அதில் தவறில்லை. அவரது நினைவு கற்பனாபூர்வமானது என்பதுதான் சிக்கல்.


By ஆர்.அபிலாஷ் on ஜெயமோகன் எழுதிய பிரமிள் கவிதை on 11/22/10


Apr 16 2010 ஆன்மாவை கூவி விற்றல் புகழ் அபிலாஷுக்கு நன்றி.


பி.கு: தொடக்க 80களில் சுவர் என்கிற தமிழ் மொழிபெயர்ப்பைப் படிகளில் படித்ததாக நினைவு. எவ்வளவு தேடியும் அது படிகளில் வரவில்லை என்கிற தகவலைத்தான் என்னால் திரட்ட முடிந்தது. இணையத்தில் காலம் 23வது இதழின் ப்டிஎஃப் வடிவில் இங்கே http://noolaham.net/project/24/2383/2383.pdf கிடைக்கிறது. மொழிபெயர்ப்பு ஈழத்தமிழ் வழக்கில் இருப்பதால் சற்று அன்னியமாகத் தோன்றுகிறது போலும்.