Sunday, November 18, 2007

Around the world

Thessaloniki

Delhi

Vienna

Florence

Istanbul

Vienna

Venice

Istanbul

Siem Reap

Dachau

Delhi

Venice

Angkor Thom

Am contemplating buying a new camera. Have shortened it down to the Panasonic Lumix FZ18 and the Canon S5 IS (though I am leaning more toward the former). Any input is welcome.
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Columbia Magazine has an interview with Pamuk (via 3QD). His new book Masumiyet Muzesi (The Museum of Innocence) will be out in Turkey in December. He has said earlier it’s his most ambitious project to date and I am really looking forward to it. So, here’s hoping the English translation comes out soon!

Another interview (quite an old but interesting one) talks about the trouble he has had with publishers and translators. “Guneli’s translation of The New Life in England received The London Times award for the worst translation of the year, while the American Translators Association gave her the prize for the best translation, which made only more confusion for me.”
I didn’t enjoy Gun’s translation of The Black Book and left it midway to pick up Maureen Freely’s new translation of the book that is now one of my favourites. I keep hoping a new version of The New Life comes out. It’s such a bizarre book I still don’t know what to make of it.

Pamuk was also on The Charlie Rose show a couple of months back and I really loved the interview. He is just completely adorable. You can watch it here.
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After a post on the intermingling of food cultures, it’s perhaps apt that I should write about dance cultures. A couple of weeks ago at a seminar and dinner gathering I was attending on ‘Islam and the Arts’, the roots of the Malay Zapin dance were traced back to the Muslim missionaries who came to the region from Hadramut in Yemen. Though traditionally performed only by males during religious functions the many variants of Zapin are now part of the secular artistic heritage of the area, with women dancers a common sight too.

I found a video of a dance that is very similar to the one I had the pleasure of watching except that the boys (in their late teens I would guess) wore lose jeans, tight shirts and looked strangely like docile punks dancing away to the wonderful music of the oud. One particular young man had the entire female population in the audience drooling including the very elderly lady sitting next to me who turned to me and said “Isn’t he beautiful?” the moment he started dancing. My friend later found out he was half Arab and a quarter Malay and Chinese each. “Ah, clearly he’s taken the best features of each,” she commented knowingly.
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Have been listening to a lot of Abida Parveen of late and by default a lot of Faiz and Bulleh Shah as well. And as much as I love Tere Ishq Nachaya [1] what I have been listening to most has been Abida singing in praise of Shahbaz Qalandar in Lal Meri Pat Rakhiyon..[2]. All this of course makes you feel even more crappy about the shit that is happening across the border.
Strangely enough the NYT had a profile of Aitzaz Ahsan, who is currently in jail, a few days back. Strange because I had just borrowed his book The Indus Saga – From Patliputra to Partition from the library. I haven’t read it yet, only the introduction, but it will be my companion on the metro this week.

All of this reminds of another favourite, Hikmet, and his apt and beautiful words:

Ne devlet ne para
insanın emrinde dünya
belki yüz yıl sonra
olsun
mutlaka bu böyle olacak ama

The world is not run by governments or money
but people rule
a hundred years from now
maybe
but it will be for sure [3]
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[1] I didn’t know till about a year back that Chaiyya Chaiyya (and also of course Thaiyya Thaiyya) were inspired by Bulleh Shahs famous poem. I did however know that Rabbi Shergill was singing Baba Bulleh Shah in his lovely song Bullah Ki Jaana. (Translation here.)

[2] I need to mention that Faiz more than anyone makes me cry. Last week I wept just listening to his ghazals and I do not know why. I just remember hugging my pillow and sobbing away. With some of his poems its even worse - I remember reading a thin little volume in the library and before I realised it tears were streaming down my cheeks. So there is only so much Faiz I can take at a time and I think listening to Dam Mast Qalandar has been one way of not getting overly depressed.

[3] The poem in full

İyimserlik

Şiirler yazarım
basılmaz
basılacaklar ama

Bir mektup beklerim müjdeli
belki de öldüğüm gün gelir
mutlaka gelir ama

Ne devlet ne para
insanın emrinde dünya
belki yüz yıl sonra
olsun
mutlaka bu böyle olacak ama

Optimism
I write poems
they don't get published
but they will

I'm waiting for a letter with good news
maybe it will arrive the day I die
but it will come for sure

The world is not run by governments or money
but people rule
a hundred years from now
maybe
but it will be for sure

Nazim Hikmet, 12 September 1957
The American Poetry Review, Jan/Feb 2002

I get thrilled when I can read Turkish and understand it. The downside is that translations somehow don’t match up to the original then. But, well, they bring their own perspective.

16 comments:

bint battuta said...

Beautiful photos...

Tabula Rasa said...

you can't go wrong with a canon.

(is there any label you left untouched on this post?)

Szerelem said...

Bint Battuta: Thank you :)

TR: Hmmm...I'm honestly not very fond of Canons. And its very heavy as well...still lets see.
Ah yes - no rant, no Zidane, not random etc. :D
But yes I was most amused while labelling it.

elizabeth said...

I have a Canon S3 IS and am very happy with it, though I'm still getting the hang of shooting in lower-light conditions.

Iyimserlik is one of the first Hikmet poems I ever read in the original, too. ;)

ps: the word verification on this post is "merbba", which I keep reading as....well, you know.

??! said...

the Istanbul door picture. wonderful work.

Desi Italiana said...

Delhi is so beautiful, as is Istanbul.

Sigh. Wish I could travel again. Those were the good old days, when I was country hopping.

Re: cameras, I think I am the only human being on this planet that does not have a digital camera. My 1994 Minolta still works... :)

elizabeth said...

oh and that Istanbul photo--it's not, by any chance, from one of the side streets off Asmalimescit Sokak, is it?

(sigh)

I am writing a statement of purpose for PhD applications, and it's mostly about Istanbul, and I'm half-mad with needing to be back there right now.

also, thought you'd enjoy this: I'm sitting in the office of the head of the Anthro dept. at Columbia on Friday. Midway through our conversation about what I plan to study, he gets a funny little smile on his face, points to the ceiling, and says, do you know who's in the office directly above this one?

So now I know precisely where in NY to find Orhan bey!

Szerelem said...

elizabeth: merhaba! No, that photo was taken in one of the by lanes near the Fener Rum Lisesi. I loved those old districts so much - even though I was perpetually lost there! There might be a trip to Turkey next summer and I am keeping my fingers very tightly crossed that it works out...

Also please dont talk about school because I am just aching to go back...I keep looking at schools and programs that I want to apply to - next year, insallah.

And I did enjoy that story very much - I would have been tempted to land up at his office with copies of his books for him to sign :D

?!!: Thank You! That picture brings back lovely memories :)

desi italiana: Hi! And welcome! I am going back to Delhi in december and that's one major incentive for a new camera :) And yes, I wish I was off travelling too :(

Anand said...

such amazing, amzing pictures. why do you need a new camera? :)
that being said, my last two cameras have been canons, and i have loved them dearly, and they do take good pics.
you'll be in saddi dilli in december? so will i! (well, more in january!) it will be good to meet...

thalassa_mikra said...

Lovely, lovely pictures. That first picture - the umbrella sculpture, it actually has a twin. That twin is situated a 2 minute walk from my boyfriend's house in Athens.

One summer when I lived in Athens, I would walk past it and find a new interpretation for it everyday.

And the Florence picture - I think most tourists don't realise that the statue is a replica. It took a while for my friend Beck and I to figure that out.

Desi Italiana said...

I went to Istanbul in 2003(?) with friend who is an architect. She claimed that Istanbul is regarded as one of the most beautiful architectural wonders of the world. She was right :)

It was a strange but wonderful, sensation to see different types of architecture: on the one hand, so many places reminded me of Delhi, but on the other hand, other constructions were very European, like that palace near the Bospherous bridge (name escapes me right now, but starts with the letter d). And not to get all political, but it made me question the idea of "authentic"-- what IS authentic in any nation/country/location? Everything everywhere seemed to be such an amalgam and admixture of different styles that came and went, marrying with local "traditions" which themselves may have been brought from elsewhere.

But above all, the people we met were exceptionally nice (except for the cab driver who pulled the oldest trick in the book by taking advantage of my unfamiliarity with the lira and all those zeros, making me pay 50-60 euros in the end for a 7 minute cab ride. Oh, and the person who stole my phone).

PS. The Turkish men in their 40's whom we saw were very handsome. Consensus in our all female group was reached within a day of meandering Istanbul's streets and cafes.

Szerelem said...

Anand: Thank you :) Now you’re making me have second thoughts about the camera! I’ll be in Delhi from the 20th of December and leave on the morning of 2nd Jan. Will you be around then? It will be wonderful if we could meet…

T_M: Thanks! I loved the umbrella sculpture! It is right on the seafront – which is just so beautiful – and one day it was pouring and it almost seemed to be in some ways shading the people huddled under it – not very successfully but still :)

Desi Italiana: Oh, I really know what you mean – Istanbul is such a mad combination it makes you question all preconceived ideas and wisdoms that people pass on. It’s also why I get bugged when it’s perpetually made into the cliché of the city where east meets west. Oh, and I think you mean the Dolmabahce Palace – I don’t know if you went in but you have the most bizarre experience of seeing Ataturks death bed and the medicines used to treat him (still kept!) there. And I completely agree about the men ;)

Space Bar said...

the umbrellas are just fantastic! as are the photos from istanbul...

Szerelem said...

spacebar: thank you :)
Also, I don't think I have commented on your blog but am a regular reader - thought you should know :)

Space Bar said...

oh...i think you commented once ages and ages ago! :D nice to know, though. And I hope you choose your camera quickly. Your photos are getting better and better.

sinusoidally said...

Hey really great pictures, you have travelled all these places is even more awesome!