Borges,Kafka, and persona non grata Jayamohan
With today’s posts I am nearing completion of Borges’s stories. Apart from this, I have posted my original review of Borges’s much neglected book-The Book of Imaginary Beings. On the whole there are 20 stories and two essays. These selections have been made from almost all his different (published) collections. Apart from this I have also posted my introductory article on Borges’s poetry. This introduction should be treated as a companion piece to my general introduction to his life and works. I am yet to post two of his essays
1.The Wall and the Books 2.Partial Magic in the Quixote.
If I manage to post these two essays, soon the reader will almost have the full book of Borges’s stories which I published in print version in the year 2000.
Since I am not popular with publishers Borges’s stories continue to remain unavailable in print version since 2000. Go-getters achieve this with ease. Publishers are more keen on printing what is sensational and men writers do not get the same attention as the women writers. As I had always been telling, ‘I am not the loser’. Losers will be general readers who are really keen to read world’s modern classics. Especially those who can’t read directly from English.
This is a small aside:
Once Jayamohan said in Courtallam workshop: the “first names that time would erase will be Borges and Kafka”. Unfortunately he was totally ignorant about the existence of writers like James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Robert Musil and the like. But as everybody knows he is now wallowing in the slimy gutters of the cinema world. Jayamohan started as a sloppy translator of Malayalam poems in Subrabharathi Manian’s skimpy magazine called-Kanavu. In the early 1980s my friend Nirmalya (Mani) brought that issue(Kanavu) and made a comparative reading of both the Tamil rendering and the original Malayalam. Many lines were conveniently omitted from the original. Nirmalya was invited to write a review of Jayamohan’s pieces from Malalyalam poetry. Since Nirmalya insisted that he will expose those omissions the editor Subrabharathi Manian cut the correspondence at that point. I was editing Meetchi and Nirmalya has been contributing poems from Malayalam. Jayamohan doesn’t read from English originals. Whatever information he extracts, he does it from Malayalam magazines. Jayamohan is a failed poet who is still jealous about good poetry and poets. Please read some of his early poems I published in my magazine Meetchi in the 80s. At that time he was a ‘nobody’ in literature and was yet to be baptized by his guru Sura. I have never said even a ‘hello’ to him and never hope to do so. It was a coincidence-or accident?-that he lived opposite to my house(for 2 years) when I got transferred to Dharmapuri(from Ooty). Even during those years, when I ran into him in the street, I had never greeted once, since I knew his ‘worth’. Till today he remains a persona non grata to me.
Back to Borges. Among these compact classics 3 stories relate themselves to India: The Approach to Al’Mutasim, Man at the Threshold, and Immortals. Borges’s had fancy for thugs and paid killers. One who reads his Monk Eastman will realize how much he was fascinated by the American underworld. Rosendo’s Tale is about a South American underworld Don. You can also add The Intruder to the list. There is hardly any story about love. This is very strange in a great master story teller like Borges.