Here is my attempt at translation into English of an excerpt from Part I of Telugu novel,
” Barrister Parvateesam” written by Mokkapati Narasimha Sastry sometime in 1927. ——–
I open my eyes, to the prodding of the servant. The fellow that took care of me last night. It’s dawn already.
” Reached Colombo. You’ve to leave now, sir.”, he says. I get up. The head-ache has gone. I feel a bit lighter. No temperature. Let off lightly, I think.
The fellow asks, ” Are you alright ? ” .
” In the seventh heaven. “, I reply.
I spruce up my turban, and enquire about my belongings.
“They’re already down. Now time you too disembark.”, he says.
Hadn’t occasion to check up my belongings last night . Are they secure, I worry.
The fellow must have been afraid I would hold him responsible, for any loss of my things in case they are still lying on board.
I stretch up and look around. The ladies’ hat that I acquired in Chennapatnam (Madras) is sitting smug on the table. The servant must have laid it there last night. Looking away , I silently go up on to the deck.
Seven o’clock. I’m the last to disembark, evidently. Lots of steamers.Spread out in the harbour. I slowly set my foot down . People, more people all around, rushing this way and that, those that have come to receive their dear ones, others that have just come to have a look at the bustle and the harbour, the porters, thevothers. It’s pell mell all around. Calmly looking at all the commotion, I walk towards my things.
Nothing amiss. Nice guys , they have brought my things out without even denting my trunk.
I call a coolie. I help him put the saamaans over his head and walk along.
Is someone calling me out from behind ? It can’t be, no one knows me here.
No, some one is insistent. I turn around to face him. Oh, It is the guy from the steamer rushing towards me with the wretched ladies’ hat.
Try as I might like, it is not going to leave me alone. Should have thrown it out of the train to Tuticorin in the beginning itself. I would have been spared of all this harassment.
Why throw the thing away wastefully, some one would grab it away if I just leave it within the train, I thought foolishly instead,
Alas, the ploy had not worked. Now it insists on pursuing me wherever I go.
I have never even dreamt that the world is so awash with righteousness. People drilled it into me all these long years that if I lose something it is lost forever. I find to my chagrin now that it is an erroneous view. You can never be sure of anything unless it comes into your personal experience. I will never henceforth believe if someone asserts that the world is riddled with thieves and crooks.
So this hat is intent on following me around wherever I go.
I pick it up sullenly. For this once i will condescend to keep it with me. I make up my mind, however, to throw it into the high seas surreptitiously in the dead of night one of these coming days on my long voyage to London.
It has to be midnight. otherwise some wretched guy may observe me discarding it and cast a net into the sea and fish it out to restore it to me. I’m literally fed up with this hat.
It is one thing that I had spent a tidy sum to buy it. But it is quite another that I am forced to shell out a fortune , doling out a tip in gratitude to every Dick and Harry, who restored it to me. And it is insult over injury to have to express pleasure at getting it back through his grace. For this once I have to bear this torture.
I pay him four annas and get rid of him, but hold the wretched hat and proceed to the cart.
I am faced with the same problem that I had in Chennapatnam, — where to stay. The same rigmarole too here, These guys too do not know Telugu.