See, I told you you'd be done with it years before I got anywhere with it!
(Yes, I think it will still take me a few years, for reasons that have nothing to do with the book itself).
I read a bit more of كليلة ودمنة
, (very little of) طوطینامه
, and also got started on قصص النبيين
, a retelling of the parts of the Qur'an describing the lives of prophets in the form of short stories of increasing difficulty (the Arabic Study group is currently using this).
In addition to all of that, I read an excerpt from a novel in an old issue (from 2004) of the Mathrubhumi
weekly magazine. It was a sample of Dalit feminist literature from a novel called Sangathi
(സംഗതി [səŋˈgəd̪i]) by Pama (പാമ [ˈpaːma]), who is probably an Adivasi woman. I'm not sure how to translate [səŋˈgəd̪i] into English; although adopted from Sanskrit, it's a very casual word in modern Malayalam, kind of like jambo
in Swahili, with various meanings like 'thing, matter, issue, fact'. Maybe The Issue
would be a good translation into English. This particular story in this novel is about people in Pama's community, mainly women including herself when she was young, talking about elections: who to vote for and why, whether to bother voting at all and why or why not, the importance of voting for their community, etc. They laugh their asses off for the most part but also point out a lot of serious issues. It was lots of fun to read, and I couldn't wait to read it out loud to my dad.
One of the most interesting parts of the story is the language, since although the language was edited prior to publication, neither the dialogue nor the narration is in standard Malayalam. In fact, perhaps it was originally not in Malayalam at all but rather in one of the (very, very closely related) Adivasi languages of Kerala, possibly Mannan, spoken east of my parents' hometown but much closer to (if not on) the border with Tamil Nadu. The title of this particular story (and what I read wasn't even the whole story; it was "to be continued," but I don't have the next issue) is പോടുങ്കമ്മാ ഓട്ട്, presumably pronounced more or less as [ˈpoːɖʊŋgəmmaː ˈoːʈɯ] and meaning something like 'vote, lady!'. [ˈoːʈɯ] is simply their pronunciation of the English word vote
, but [ˈpoːɖʊŋgəmmaː] (like a lot of other words in this story) looks a lot closer to Tamil than to standard Malayalam. I guess in standard Malayalam, the equivalent of the title would be something like [ˈʋoːʈɪɖɪn].