May 27, 2016

Quotes from The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen




উৎস গুগল ইমেজেস



ইদানীং ‘দ্য সিমপ্যাথাইজার’ পড়ছি। ভিয়েতনাম যুদ্ধ, উদ্বাস্তুদের সমস্যা, আমেরিকায় এসে বসত করা উদ্বাস্তুদের সমস্যা, আদর্শ আর নীতির সারশূন্যতা, আর সে সবের ফাঁদে পড়া মানুষের হেনস্থা, বলার অনেক কিছুই বলার মতো আছে এ বইয়ে, সে সব নিয়ে সামনের সপ্তাহে প্রকাশিতব্য ‘মে মাসের বই’ পোস্টে বলব, কিন্তু আরও যা আছে তা হল পাতায় পাতায় কোটেবল কোটস্‌-এর সম্ভার। পড়তে পড়তে কতবার যে থামছি আর বুকমার্ক করছি আর খাতা খুলে টুকছি, তার ইয়ত্তা নেই। এখনও পর্যন্ত যে উদ্ধৃতিগুলো মনে ধরেছে তাদের কয়েকটা আজকের পোস্টে তুলে দিলাম। 

*****

One must be grateful for one's education no matter how it arrives.

I had an abiding respect for the professionalism of career prostitutes, who wore their dishonesty more openly than lawyers, both of whom bill by the hour. But to speak only of the financial side misses the point. The proper way to approach a prostitute is to adapt the attitude of a theatregoer, sitting back and suspending disbelief for the duration of the show. The improper way is to doltishly insist that the play is just a bunch of people putting on charades because you have paid the price of the ticket, or, conversely, to believe utterly in what you are watching and hence succumb to a mirage. For example, grown men who sneer at the idea of unicorns will tearfully testify to the existence of an even rarer, more mythical species. Found only in remote ports of call and the darkest, deepest reaches of the most insalubrious taverns, this is the prostitute in whose chest beats the proverbial heart of gold. Let me assure you, if there is one part of a prostitute that is made of gold, it is not her heart. That some believe otherwise is a tribute to the conscientious performer. 

When he interviewed me he wanted to know whether I spoke any Japanese. I explained that I was born in Gardena. He said, Oh, you nisei, as if knowing that one word means he knows something about me. You’ve forgotten your culture, Ms. Mori, even though you’re only second generation. Your issei parents, they hung on to their culture. Don’t you want to learn Japanese? Don’t you want to visit Nippon? For a long time I felt bad. I wondered why I didn’t want to learn Japanese, why I didn’t already speak Japanese, why I would rather go to Paris or Istanbul or Barcelona rather than Tokyo. But then I thought, Who cares? Did anyone ask John F. Kennedy if he spoke Gaelic and visited Dublin or if he ate potatoes every night or if he collected paintings of leprechauns? So why are we supposed to not forget our culture? Isn’t my culture right here since I was born here? Of course I didn’t ask him those questions. I just smiled and said, You’re so right, sir. 

I was careful, then, to present myself as just another immigrant, glad to be in the land where the pursuit of happiness was guaranteed in writing, which, when one comes to think about it, is not such a great deal. Now a guarantee of happiness - that's a great deal. But a guarantee to be allowed to pursue the jackpot of happiness? merely an opportunity to buy a lottery ticket. Someone would surely win millions, but millions would surely pay for it. 


4 comments:

  1. দু নম্বর উদ্ধৃতির মূল (কাল্পনিক) চরিত্রের সঙ্গে 'আনন্দে-বেজার' দূরদর্শন প্রণালীর 'সারা-দিন, ভাট দিন' (কাল্পনিক) অনুষ্ঠানের কুশীলবদের অনেক চারিত্রিক মিল খুঁজে পেলুম।

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ওহ তাই? দুঃখের বিষয়, আমি আপনার কমেন্টটা বিশেষ বুঝিনি। যাই হোক।

      Delete
  2. Ei boita porar ichche bere gelo :) Onek dhyonobaad :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. এই বইটা পড়ুন, সায়ন। পস্তাবেন না।

      Delete

 
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