Saturday, August 19, 2006

Babi Yar

I. Babiy Yar
Nad Babim Yarom pamyatnikov nyet.
Krutoi obryv, kak groboye nadgrobye.
Mne strashno,mne sevodnya stolko let,
kak samomu yevreiskomu narodu.
Mne kazhetsa seichas — ya yudei.
Vot ya bryedupa dryevnemu Egiptu.
A vot ya, na kryeste raspyaty, gibnu,
i da sikh por na mne — sledi gvazdey.
Mne kazhetsa, shto Dreifus — eta ya.
Meshchanstvo — moi danoschik i sudya!
Ya za reshotkoy, ya papal v koltso,
zatravlennyi, oplyovannyi, obolgannyi,
damachki s bryusselshmi oborkami,
viszha, zontami tichut mne v litso.
Mne kazhetsa, ya — malchik v Bielostoke.
Krov lyotsya, rastekayas pa palam.
Beschinstvuyut vozhdi traktirnoy stoiki.
I pakhaut vodkoy s lukom popolam.
Ya, sapagom otbroshennyi, bessilny,
naprasna ya pogromshchikov molyu.
Pad gogot: “Bey zhidov! Spasai Rossiyu!”
Labaznik izbivaet mat moyu.
O russhy moi narod, ya znayu,
ty pa sushchnosti internatsionalen,
no chasta te, chi ruki nechisti,
tvoim chisteishim imyenem bryatsali.
Ya znayu dobrotu moyei zyemli.
Kak podla, shto i zhilachkoi ne drognuv,
antisemity narekli sibya:“Soyuzom russkova naroda.”
Mne kazhetsa, ya — eta Anna Frank,
prozrachnaya, kak vyetochka v aprele,
i ya lyublyu, i mne nye nado fraz,
no nado, shtob drug v druga my smotreli.
Kak malo mozhno videt, obonyat!
Nelzya nam listev i nelzya nan neba,
no mozhno ochen mnoga
—eta nezhno drug drugavtyomnoy komnate obnyat!—
“Syuda idut!”— “Nye boysa. Eta guly samoi vesny,
ona idyot syuda.Idi ko mne,dai mne skoreye guby!”
— “Lomayut dver!”— “Nyet!
Eta ledokhod!”
Nad Babim Yarom shelest dihkh trav,
dyerevya smotryat grozno, po-sudeiski.
Zdes molcha vsyo krichit,
i, shapku snyav,ya chuvstvuyu, kak myediemo sedeyu.
I sam ya, kak sploshnoy bezzvuchny krik,
nad tysyachami tysyach pogrebyonnykh,
Ya — kazhdy zdes rasstrelyanny starik,
Ya — kazhdy zdes rasstrelyanny rebyonok.
Nishto vo mne pro eta nye zabudet.
“Internatsional” pust progremit,
kogda naveh pokhoronen budetpasledni na zyemle antisemit.
Yevreiskoy krovi nyet v krovi moyei,
no nenavisten zloboy zaskaruzloyya vsem antisemitam kak yevrei,
ipatomu ya nastoyashchiy russkiy!

II. Yumor
Tsari, koroli, imperatori,
vlastiteli vsei zyemli,
komandovali paradami,no yumorom nye mogli.
V dvortsy rmenitykh osob,
vse dni vozlezhashchikh vykholenna,
Yavlyalsa brodyaga Ezop,
i nishchimi oni vyglyadeli.
yavlyalsa brodyaga Ezop,
i nishchimi oni vyglyadeli.
V domakh, gde khanzha nasledilsvoimi nogami shchuplymi,
Vsyu poshlost Khodzha Nasreddinshibal, kak shakhmaty, shutkami!
vsyu poshlost Khodzha Nasreddinshibal, kak shakhmaty, shutkami!
Khotyeli yumor kupit,
da tolko yevo nye kupish!
Khotyeli yumor ubit,
a yumor pokazyval kukish!
Borotsa s nim delo trudnoye.
Kaznili yevo bez kontsa.
Yevo galova otrublennayatorchala na pike stryeltsa.
No lish skamoroshi dudochkisvoy nachinali skaz,
on zvonko krichal:“Ya tutochki!”
I likho puskalsa v plyas.
V potryopannom kutsem paltishke,
ponuryas i slovno kayas,
pryestupnikom politicheskimon, poimanniy, shol na kazn.
Vsem vidom pakornost vykazival,
gotov k nezemnomu zhityu,
kak vdrug iz paltishka vyskalzival,rukoi makhali — tyu-tyu!
Yumor pryatali v kamery,
da chyorta s dva udalos.
Reshotki i steny kamennyeon prokhodil naskvoz.
Otkashlivayas prostuzhenno,
kak ryadovoy boyets,
shagal on chastushkoy-prastushkoys vintovkoi na Zimnyi dvorets.
Privyk on ko vzglyadam sumrachnym,
no eta yemu nye vryedit,
i sam na sibya s yumoromyumor paroy glyadit.
On vyechen.Vyechen!
On lovok.Lovok!
I yurok,I yurok!
proidyot cherez vsyo, cherez vsyokh.
Itak, da slantsa yumor!On muzhestvenniy chelovek!

III. V MagazinyeKto v platke, a kto v platochke,
kak na podvig, kak na trud,
v magazin po-odinochkemolcha zhenshchiny idut.
, bidonov ikh bryatsanye,zvon butilok i kastryul!
Pakhnet lukom, ogurtsami,
pakhnet sousom “Kabul.”
Zyabnu, dolgo v kassu stoya,
no pakuda dvizhus k nyei,
ot dykhanya zhenshchin stolkikhv magazinye vsyo teplei.
Oni tikho podzhidayut,bogi dobriye semyi,
i v rukakh oni szhimayutdengi trudniye svoyi.
Oni tikho podzhidaynt,bogi dobriye semyi,
i v rukakh oni szhimayutdengi trudniye svoyi.
Eta zhenshchiny Rossii.
Eta nasha chest i sud.
I byeton oni mesili,i pakhali,
i kosili …Vsyo oni perenosili,
vsyo oni perenesut.
Vsyo oni perenosili,
vsyo oni perenesut.
Vsyo na svete im pasilno,
—skolka sily im dano!
Ikh obschitivatpostidno!
Ikh obveshivat greshno!
I v karman pelmeni sunuv,
ya smotryu, surov i tikh,
na ustaliye ot sumokruki pravyedniye ikh.

IV. StrakhiUmirayut v Rossii strakhi,
slovno prizraki prezhnikh lyet,
lish na paperti, kak starukhi,koye-gde yeshcho prosyat na khleb.
Ya ikh pomnyu vo vlasti i silepri dvore torzhestvuyushchei lzhi.
Strakhi vsyudu, kak tyeni, skolzili,pronikali vo vsye etazhi.
Potikhonku lyudei priruchalii na vsye nalgali pyechat:gde molchat by — krichat priuchali,i molchat — gde by nada krichat.
Eta stala sevodnya dalyokim.
Dazhe stranna i vspomnit teper.
Tayinyi strakh pered chim-to donosom,
tayinyi strakh pered stukom v dver.
Nu, a strakh gavorit s inastrantsem?
S inastrantsem — ta shto, a s zhenoy?
Nu, a strakh bezotchotnyi ostatsaposle marshei vdvoyom s tishinoy?
Nye boyalis my stroit v meteli,ukhodit pad snaryadami v boy,
no boyalis paroyu smyertelnorazgovarnat sam s soboy.
Nas nye sbili i nye rastlili,
i nedarom seichas vo vragakhpobedivshaya strakti Rossiyayeshcho bolshiy rozhdaet strakh.
Strakhi noviye vizhu, svetleya:strakh neiskrennim byt so stranoy,
strakh nepravdoy unizit idei,
shto yavlyayutsa pravdoy samoy;
strakh fanfarit do odurenya,
strakh chuzhiye slova povtoryat,
strakh unizit drugikh nedaveryemi chrezmerno sibye daveryat.
Umirayut v Rossii strakbi.
I kogda ya pishu eti strokii paroyu nevolno speshu,
to pishu ikh v yedinstvennom strakhe,
shto ne v polnoyu silu pishu.

V. Karyera
Tvyerdili pastyri, shto vredeni nyerazumen Galilei.
(Shto nyerazumen Galilei …)
No, kak pakazivayet vremya,
kto nyerazumnei — tot umnei!
(Kto nyerazumnei— tot umnei …)
Uchonyi, svyerstnik Galileya,byl Galileya nye glupeye.
(Byl Galileya nye glupeye …)
On znal, shto vyertitsa zyemlya,
no u nyevo byla semya.
(No u nyevo byla semya …)
I on, sadyas s zhenoy v karety,
svershiv predatelstvo svoyo,
schital, shto dyelayet karyeru,
a mezhdu tem gubil yeyo.
(A mezhdu tem gubil yeyo …)
Za asaznaniye planetyshol Galilei odin na risk,
i stal velikim on.
(I stal velikim on …)
Vot eta — ya ponimayu — karyerist.
Itak, da zdravstvuyet karyera,
kagda karyera takova,
kak u Shekspira i Pastera,
Nyutona i Tolstovo,
i Tolstovo … Lva? Lva!
Zachem ikh gryazyu pakryvali?
Talant — talant, kak ni kleimi.
Zabyty te, kto proklinali,
no pomnyat tekh, kovo klyali,
(no pomnyat tekh, kovo klyali …)
Vse te, kto rvalis v stratosferu,
vrachi, shto gibli ot kholyer,
vot eti dyelali karyeru!
Ya s ikh karyer beru primer!
Ya veryu v ikh svyatuyu vyera.
Ikh vyera — muzhestvo mayo.
Ya dyelayu sibye karyeru tem,
shto nye dyelayu yeyo!


I. Babiy Yar
There is no memorial above Babi Yar.
The steep ravine is like a coarse tombstone.
I'm frightened,
I feel as old todayas the Jewish race itself.
I feel now that I am a Jew.
Here I wander through ancient Egypt.
And here I hang on the cross and die,
and I still bear the mark of the nails.
I feel that I am Dreyfus.
The bourgeois rabble denounce and judge me.
I am behind bars, I am encircled,
persecuted, spat on, slandered
,and fine ladies with lace frills
squeal and poke their parasols into my face.
I feel that I am a little boy in Bielostok.
Blood is spattered over the floor.
The ringleaders in the tavern are getting brutal.
They smell of vodka and onions.
I'm kicked to the ground, I'm powerless,
in vain I beg the persecutors.
They guffaw: “Kill the Yids! Save Russia!”
A grain merchant beats up my mother.
Oh my Russian people, I know
that at heart you are internationalists,
but there have been those with soiled hands
who abused your good name.
I know that my land is good.
How filthy that without the slightest shame
the anti-Semites proclaimed themselves:
“The Union of the Russian People.”
I feel that I am Anne Frank,
as tender as a shoot in April,
I am in love and have no need of words,
but we need to look at each other.
How little we can see or smell!
The leaves and the sky are shut off from us,
but there is a lot we can do —we can tenderly embrace each other
in the darkened room!— “Someone's coming!”—
“Don't be frightened. These are the sounds of spring,
spring is coming.
Come to me, give me your lips quickly!”—
“They're breaking down the door!”—
“No! It's the ice breaking!”
Above Babi Yar the wild grass rustles,
the trees look threatening, as though in judgment.
Here everything silently screams,and, baring my head,
I feel as though I am slowly turning grey.
And I become a long, soundless scream
above the thousands and thousands buried here,
I am each old man who was shot here,
I am each child who was shot here.
No part of me can ever forget this.
Let the “International” thunder out
when the last anti-Semite on the earth
has finally been buried.
There is no Jewish blood in my blood,
but I feel the loathsome hatred
of all anti-Semites as though I were a Jew
—and that is why I am a true Russian!

II. Humor
Tsars, kings, emperors,
rulers of all the world,
have commanded parades
but couldn't command humor.
In the palaces of the great,
spending their days sleekly reclining,
Aesop the vagrant turned up
and they would all seem like beggars.
Aesop the vagrant turned up
and they would all seem like beggars.
In houses where a hypocrite had left
his wretched little footprints,
Mullah Nasredin's jokes would demolish
trivialities like pieces on a chessboard!
Mullah Nasredin's jokes would demolish
trivialities like pieces on a chessboard!
They've wanted to buy humor,but he just wouldn't be bought!
They've wanted to kill humor,
but humor gave them the finger.
Fighting him's a tough job.
They've never stopped executing him.
His chopped-off headwas stuck onto a soldier's pike.
But as soon as the clown's pipes
struck up their tune,
he screeched out:“I'm here!”
and broke into a jaunty dance.
Wearing a threadbare little overcoat,
downcast and seemingly repentant,
caught as a political prisoner,
he went to his execution.
Everything about him displayed submission,
resignation to the life hereafter,
when he suddenly wriggled out of his coat,
waved his hand
and — bye-bye!
They've hidden humor away in dungeons,
but they hadn't a hope in hell.
He passed straight through
bars and stone walls.
Clearing his throat from a cold,
like a rank-and-file soldier,
he was a popular tune marching along
with a rifle to the Winter Palace.
He's quite used to dark looks,
they don't worry him at all,
and from time to time humor
looks at himself humorously.
He's eternal.
Eternal!
He's artful.
Artful!
And quick,
And quick!
he gets through everyone and everything.
So then, three cheers for humor!
He's a brave fellow!

III. In the Store
Some with shawls, some with scarves,
as though to some heroic enterprise or to work,
into the store one by one
the women silently come.
Oh, the rattling of their cans,
the clanking of bottles and pans!
There's a smell of onions, cucumbers,
a smell of “Kabul” sauce.
I'm shivering as I queue up for the cash desk,
but as I inch forward towards it,
from the breath of so many women
a warmth spreads round the store.
They wait quietly,their families' guardian angels,
and they grasp in their hands
their hard-earned money.
They wait quietlytheir families' guardian angels,
and they grasp in their hands
their hard-earned money.
These are the women of Russia.
They honor us and they judge us.
They have mixed concrete,
and ploughed, and harvested …
They have endured everything,
they will continue to endure everything.
They have endured everything,
they will continue to endure everything.
Nothing in the world is beyond them
—they have been granted such strength!
It is shameful to short-change them!
It is sinful to short-weight them!
As I shove dumplings into my pocket,
I sternly and quietly observe
their pious hands
weary from carrying their shopping bags.

IV. Fears
Fears are dying out in Russia,
like the wraiths of bygone years;
only in church porches, like old women,
here and there they still beg for bread.
I remember when they were powerful and mighty at the court of the lie triumphant.
Fears slithered everywhere, like shadows,
penetrating every floor.
They stealthily subdued people
and branded their mark on everyone:
when we should have kept silent, they taught us to scream,
and to keep silent when we should have screamed.
All this seems remote today.
It is even strange to remember now.
The secret fear of an anonymous denunciation,
the secret fear of a knock at the door.
Yes, and the fear of speaking to foreigners?
Foreigners? … even to your own wife!
Yes, and that unaccountable fear of being left,
after a march, alone with the silence?
We weren't afraid of construction work in blizzards,
or of going into battle under shell-fire,
but at times we were mortally afraid
of talking to ourselves.
We weren't destroyed or corrupted,
and it is not for nothing that now
Russia, victorious over her own fears,
inspires greater fear in her enemies.
I see new fears dawning:
the fear of being untrue to one's country,
the fear of dishonestly debasing ideas,
which are self-evident truths;
the fear of boasting oneself into a stupor,
the fear of parroting someone else's words,
the fear of humiliating others with distrust
and of trusting oneself overmuch.
Fears are dying out in Russia.
And while I am writing these lines,
at times unintentionally hurrying,
I write haunted by the single fear
of not writing with all my strength.

V. A Career
The priests kept on saying that Galileo
was dangerous and foolish.
(That Galileo was foolish ...)
But, as time has shown,
the fool was much wiser!
(The fool was much wiser! …)
A certain scientist, Galileo's contemporary,
was no more stupid than Galileo.
(Was no more stupid than Galileo …)
He knew that the earth revolved,
but he had a family.
(But he had a family …)
And as he got into a carriage with his wife
after accomplishing his betrayal,
he reckoned he was advancing his career,
but in fact he'd wrecked it.
(But in fact he'd wrecked it …)
For his discovery about our planet
Galileo faced the risk alone,
and he was a great man.
(And he was a great man …)
Now that is what I understand by a careerist.
So then, three cheers for a career
when it's a career like that of
Shakespeare or Pasteur,
Newton or Tolstoy,
or Tolstoy … Lev?
Lev!
Why did they have mud slung at them?
Talent is talent, whatever name you give it.
They're forgotten, those who hurled curses,
but we remember the ones who were cursed,
(but we remember the ones who were cursed …)
All those who strove towards the stratosphere,
the doctors who died of cholera,
they were following careers!
I'll take their careers as an example!
I believe in their sacred belief,
and their belief gives me courage.
I'll follow my career in such a waythat I'm not following it!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

When a World War-II fighter landed at the KTC bus stand

PANJIM: While the world was being pounded by missiles and bombs during the chaos that was World War II, Panjimites in the then neutral, Portuguese-ruled Goa busied themselves with their own private little sussegado lives and remained unaffected, until one fine day in 1944... Out of nowhere, a two seater, british Army plane landed in Panjim, on a bare stretch of land, where the KTC bus stand is situated today. Vishnu Vernekar, who was a local mechanic and electronic engineer, at the time, running a shop named Vernecar e Filhos in Panjim, approached the police and boughy the plane, as scrap metal, for just Rs.2000. (Ayesha Barretto, GT)

The fat lady sings only in Mumbai!

Its rich history and intricate architecture, make the Royal Opera House in Mumbai a major tourist attraction. K D L Khan on the only opera house in India.

These days opera houses are an important tourist attraction in major cities. We have the example of the fabulous Sydney Opera House. Dubai and Singapore are fast building state-of-the-art opera houses that can accommodate upto 2000 people. In India, we have the Royal Opera House in Mumbai, which was built in 1909. Efforts are now being made to keep it as memorial of the days it served performing arts.

It is the only opera house built in India although there were a number of theatres in other Presidency capitals of Madras and Calcutta fashioned after their London counterparts. From the days of the East India Company upto the 1920s, Kolkata (Calcutta) had been the capital of the British, but the local culture czars did not think it profitable to invest in an opera house. For some time, a theatre known as Victoria Opera House provided the venue for visiting vocalists.

Historian Sharada Dwivedi has penned a detailed paper on the history of the first and only opera house in India in Mumbai. Constructed in the Baroque style, the opera house, she says, was the brainchild of Maurice E Bandmann, a renowned entertainer from Calcutta and Jehangir Framji Karaka, who headed a coal brokers firm. An advantageous corner site was leased at the northern end of Queen’s Road in the vicinity of the Sandhurst and Kennedy bridges, and in 1908, Karaka and Bandmann drew up the designs for the theatre. Bandmann’s manager was responsible for the design of the auditorium while a Goan, Collaco, took charge of the construction. The Baroque-style design incorporated a blend of European and Indian detailing. A long frontage was a must so that the carriages could drive right up to the entrance. Exhaust fans were needed to counter the hot and sultry climate. A cloakroom each for the ladies and the gentlemen was designed and 26 rows of boxes behind the stalls were put up for the best view of the stage.


And what would an opera be without good acoustics? The ceiling was constructed to enable even those in the gallery to hear every word said on stage. Carera marble was obtained from Italy for the statuary at the entrance. Frescoes decorated the interiors of the domes.

Work was completed in 1912, but several modifications were carried out until 1915: the figure atop the pediment was replaced by three cherubs, the entrance got rich statuary installed and frescoes decorating the interior of the entrance domes and exquisite dados below the boxes were executed. A pair of crystal chandeliers gifted by the Sassoon family hung in the main lobby. The opera house got its royal prefix in honour of King George V’s visit to Bombay (Mumbai) in 1911.

By the 1920s, cinema was gaining popularity and like other theatres of the time, the opera house, in part, became a cinema hall. Pathe rented it in 1925 for screening films. Between 1929 and 1932, Madan’s Theatre occupied the theatre and it was later leased to other Indian theatrical concerns. In 1936, it was completely renovated by its new owner A C Patel and continued to enjoy pride of place during the heyday of Indian films. In the 1980s, with the advent of videos and television, the opera house, like many cinema halls in the state, fell by the side. Today, it is owned by the former Maharaja of Gondal.

In 1995, the building was declared a Grade 2A heritage building, which meant the exteriors and interiors of the structure were to be maintained. According to Sandhya Savant, architect who prepared area guidelines for the opera house precincts, the lobby with its gilded ceiling and the frescos needs to be restored. She says one option for the revival of the opera house can be to change the classification to Grade 2B.

This would enable the owner to develop the vacant land in accordance with the guidelines so that part of the funds can be used for its renovation. If that goes through, the growing clientele for opera can then look forward to enjoying a performance in the place nearly a century old.

(Maharaja Features)

http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/feb192006/finearts1132172006216.asp