Friday, August 28, 2015

Translation: Maître Gims - J'me tire

Leave it to my non-French-speaking husband to find me the next song I like enough to bother translating! He plugged in his phone the other night when coming back from the lab and played this for me and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since then.

Like all my translations, I tried my best to keep the spirit of the song alive, even if I veered away from a word-for-word translation at parts... hip-hop is sometimes difficult because of slang and allusions and I tried to keep that in as much as I was able (especially with my rusty French).

(The name Meugui at the end of the song is his name - Gims - in verlan which is French slang that flips the syllables of words.)

J'me tire
I'm out

J'me tire, me demande pas pourquoi j'suis parti sans motif
Parfois je sens mon cœur qui s'endurcit
C'est triste à dire mais plus rien n'm'attriste
Laisse-moi partir loin d'ici
Pour garder l'sourire, je me disais qu'y'a pire
Si c'est comme ça, bah fuck la vie d'artiste
Je sais qu'ça fait cliché d'dire qu'on est pris pour cible
Mais j'veux l'dire juste pour la rime

I'm out
Don't ask me why I just left like that
Sometimes I feel my heart hardening
It's sad to say but nothing makes me sad anymore
Let me go far away from here
To keep smiling, I tell myself it could be worse
But if it's like this, well then fuck the artist's life
I know it's cliche to say they want me clapped in chrome
But I've gotta say it for the sake of this song

J'me tire dans un endroit où j'serai pas l'suspect
Après j'vais changer d'nom comme Cassius Clay
Un endroit où j'aurai plus besoin d'prendre le mic'
Un endroit où tout l'monde s'en tape de ma life

I'm leaving for a place they'll never find me
Then I'll change my name like Cassius Clay
To a place where I will never need a mic
To a place where no one cares about my life

Si j'reste, les gens me fuiront sûrement comme la peste
Vos interviews m'ont donné trop d'maux d'tête
La vérité c'est que j'm'auto-déteste
Faut qu'j'préserve tout c'qu'il me reste
Et tous ces gens qui voudraient prendre mon tél'
Allez leur dire que j'suis pas leur modèle
Merci à ceux qui disent "Meu-gui on t'aime
Malgré ta couleur ébène"

If I stay, one day they'll avoid me like the plague
Your interviews have given me too many headaches
The truth is, I hate myself
I've got to preserve what's left of me
And all these people who want my number
Tell them I'm not their role model
Thanks to those who said "Meugui, we love you
Even though you're black" 

J'suis parti sans mentir, sans me dire
"Qu'est-ce que j'vais devenir ?"
Stop ! Ne réfléchis plus, Meu-gui
Stop ! Ne réfléchis plus, vas-y !
Parti sans mentir, sans me dire
"Qu'est ce que j'vais devenir ?"
Stop ! Ne réfléchis plus, Meu-gui
Stop ! Ne réfléchis plus, vas-y !

I've left, without lying, didn't ask myself
What will become of me?
Stop, don't think more about it Meugui
Stop, don't think, just go!
Left without lying, didn't ask myself
What will become of me?
Stop, don't think more about it Meugui
Stop, don't think, just go!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

My article in Cricbuzz!

When I went to London in high school, the hotel helpfully provided a 'basics of cricket' leaflet for its foreign guests. I looked at it, thought it was too confusing, and didn't bother learning anything about it at all.

Then I moved to India, where it was certainly necessary to learn the basics.

But I never thought I'd get an article published in a well-known online cricket news site!

Read it here:

Thanks to G. Rajaraman for forcing me to put my thoughts into written word form :)

Monday, February 2, 2015

I put the world in neutral

Over the last few months, I have drifted far, far away from my daily Bengali study.

I don't know exactly why, especially at a time when I should have been eager to learn - our Let's Learn Bengali open group has crossed 800 members and the intermediate group has progressed so much. I still speak with my in-laws regularly. I have many Indian and Bangladeshi friends who want to talk to me in their own mother tongue, yet it is me who resists, even as I don't want to resist. I want to hear them talk about their day, the joys and frustrations, the deeper things of life, to be fully and truly themselves. I want to be able to capture that in myself, the inflections, pauses, the allusions. I have so much opportunity right now to really plunge in and become bilingual, culturally competent in more than one sphere. 

But I'm not there, and maybe it's that I'm judging myself for the halting sentences, the superficial conversations, the accent I will never lose, the translating from English, the trying to remember what page in the textbook that grammatical construct was on. I'm spending too much time in my head that I can't converse, I can't understand, I can't love. So I go back to default, put my world in neutral instead of moving forever forward. I can compose the most beautiful lines in my own mother tongue, weave words into a tapestry that captures a feeling, decorates a moment. Yet when I read Raihan's Bengali poetry, I'm lost on the third word and I can't even understand the denotative meaning, much less appreciate the beauty and deeper meanings. A cry of delight leaves me analyzing - can I say those words too? When? Will they laugh at me if I do? Does sundor apply to more than just things you see? What about things you hear? taste? Why am I wondering these things when I should be enjoying the time with friends, the good food, the music? I hate that I am thinking so much and living so little, so little that I don't even remember the moments afterward. I'm not even learning very much this way. But is it necessary? I know that I have to be uncomfortable while learning and using a new language, but is it even doing me any good? I know there's still lots to learn and work to do. But the work is getting in the way and I seem to be spinning my wheels, not improving.

I don't have to learn Bengali, you know. My husband speaks perfectly good English. There are plenty of non-Indian women married to Indians who never learn much more than a few phrases. I speak well enough to have simple conversations with my in-laws. But I just want more than that. I want to be able to connect with them about more than just the weather and cooking. I want to be able to comfort my friends in difficult times, on their terms. I want to be able to discuss books and movies, and exactly what I liked and did not like about them. I want to know when the compliment I think I'm getting is an icy barb in disguise. But no textbook has chapters on these things. I am not interested in textbooks anymore; they don't teach the things I really want to know. How to live, how to love, how to connect to people in the language their heart speaks. That's the reason I want to learn and always has been. It still feels like there's a gulf between, and I'm not sure if I can get to the other side. 

But from yesterday on, I'll make my tiny futile attempts to do just that.