Translation of Writer Jeyamohan's Short Story -
At the brink of infinity
Incidentally, I met with Freddie in this world wide spread web. Full name Freddie Williamson, age 38, married and divorced twice, from the state of Florida, USA. He had politely denied disclosing his city. An affluent man, spending his time in Fishing, Hog farming, Literary Writing and E-chatting, had been living alone in his farm house. He was yet to compile his poem collections, and wary of publishing the anthology. But when we got acquainted, Freddie had just completed his novel work.
Insatiable final draft of the novel, in his own words, has been darning him like psychotic wife. In West, book publication is not a five-finger exercise. Freddie was not inclined to undertake that daunting effort at that moment. He asked me once, why not, could he publish the novel in the Internet? I encouraged him to proceed with that affirmative idea. If it attracts online readers, there would be a definite choice of publishing in printed book format for wider public.
Freddie amazed when he came to know that I had written 2 prominent novels in Tamil. At the same time, he perplexed upon hearing that I am doing a clerical job for living. When I told him that my lofty novel Vishnupuram comprises the traces of Mythology, he got excited. His novel was also written in Mythological backdrop. He asked me to read his novel and give my thoughts on that, especially he wanted to know my feel on the novel’s ending, whether it is completed. I said “A novel can never be completed; we have to stop it at some point”. He rather firmly believed that an unwritten ‘tip’ still remains in that unfinished novel.
From the day onwards Freddie’s novel occupied my system, it turned as an uneasy burden for me. My computer went on hesitantly touched that novel for a second, every time in the middle of other tasks. At last I began reading that novel when it became ineluctable.
The story was about ancient Rome city. Protagonist Clarinda Beckon goes to Rome pursuing her research work on Ancient Religions. There, she buys an erstwhile book written in a calf’s skin, from a salesman who sells the archaeological artefacts. It was sold to him by a woman owing to her poverty, originally gifted to her by her grand-father who was earlier worked as a guardian of an Abbey. Upon reviewing that book, she finds that it wasn’t a book but a collection of letters. In ancient Rome, a religious tradition of writing letters to god was followed. Marking with some cryptically secret symbols, they used to bury these letters deep under the soil. Somehow one of those letter bundles dug out after several centuries. It must had been preserved reckoning as a precious antique artefact or forbidden book filled with hidden secrets. When the Abbey dilapidated over the years, most of its preserved possessions slowly disappeared; some of them completely vanished, barring this “letter compilation” in some tortuous way reached the hands of the old guardian.
It appeared that, in 17th century some unidentified person affiliated a foreword note to this book. Later the book was embellished with the high quality Morocco covers affixed in both side. Some details about the contents of the book also briefed in the blurb.
Following incident occurred roughly around, 300 years since founding of Rome. On those times, the members of Patrician descents were the ruling elites. They were believed to be the foremost emigrants of Rome. Only the Patrician families were bestowed the special status as sovereign citizens. During the next 300 years, the elite Patrician status slowly faded away, it became a denotation for all the common citizens. Patrician community comprised of many sub-castes. A girl called “Adhina” belonged to one such sub-caste Bebians had written those imploring letters.
Clarinda puts strenuous effort on learning proto-Latin language to read those letters. Soon she finds that it is neither a theological book nor a family history book, instead a pornographic book. Supplicantly requesting the mercy of her beloved god Rex, those letters were actually written by Adhina, vividly exposing her inner sexual desires.
On those days, every community of Rome was permitted to wag war against each other at their whim. Only just an unforced custom of obtaining permission from senate ahead the war was maintained. At the end of the war, the entire booty wealth of defeated group was taken by the victorious group. They just needed to pay a small amount to senate as tax. The groups should not fight within themselves. There was also an unwritten rule of unarmed Plebians should not be assaulted by Patricians, but this was maintained only in words. Plundering the nearby cities and villages was the primary business for those Rome communities. Particularly, the Bebian descents comprised with full of rigorously trained, sturdily ruthless and most disciplined force were the most success full plunderers.
Once, entire 306 Bebian men went ahead to pillage the southern pagan city called “Veyi”, since there was no share afforded to the men who don’t take part in the booty. But the news about arrival of brutal Bebian forces, reached the head of Veyi city much earlier. He was dead sure, it was not at all possible to defend the Bebians in the direct battle field. So they formulated a strategy. The surrounded forts of Veyi, made from immense round boulders plastered with clay. They made cracks by jabbing the bottom of the fort. When the Bebians thrust into veyi, by breaking through the fort doors, Veyi soldiers jostled the fort from inside. Eventually the entire fort crumbled on to the Bebian army with sparing none.
On those days, every individual’s rights, obligations and responsibilities were determined only on the basis of line of descent. Blood relation between the various communities was entirely banned. Bebians were left out with only one male, a 16 year old crippled boy called Titus. On these bad fortunes, all the remaining Bebian women should get killed themselves, according to their descent’s rule. But one of the elderly women prevented others to commit suicide. She claimed that since no other descent people worships Bebian gods, if bebian community perishes, no one would be there to worship, to appease the Bebian gods and to subside their wraths with the sacrifice offerings.
They devised a solution. The decision was to re-sprout the Bebian community from the sperm of the solely survived male Titus over again. Since no one was ready to die, everyone agreed to that solution at last, though there were some strong protests at the beginning. Hostile reactions came from the malcontent young women, whom were in sister relation to Titus. Only few least discomforted were the elderly women actually in mother relation with Titus.
Adhina was one among these 480 Bebian women. In those letters, she had narrated the whole re-germination period of Bebian community from Titus. Freddie’s creativity broke through all the conventional boundaries in the episodes of the novel where Clarinda reads the letters of Adhina. Freddie had taken full advantage of this chapter to travel deep into the inner minds of two dissimilar women belongs totally different periods of time.
Clarinda is a very lonesome woman. Owing to her unattractive appearance and stammering tongue disability, she is emotionally dis-comfortable in socialising with others. She has grown as a daydreaming adult and a full time book worm who always sinks into herself. In fact, she chose history subject, only to escape from the wretched present and bury herself completely into past. Adhina’s letters penetrates through the psyche of Clarinda and boils her like storm. She reads those letters over and again frantically. Clarinda soulfully accedes through the world formed by the letters, which she magnified beyond bounds. Freddie had written with extraordinary confident and intent writing style, in these parts of novel, the moments when human life’s adorned apparels like love, marital and relations crumbles down and conspicuous lust appears with full nudity. Bebian women threw away all the conventional rules and bounds. Adiha mentioned that as “Four hundred and eighty sweltering uteruses!!” A tiny prey among the famished wild beasts, upon seeing the prey, famishment outspread like gigantically raging wildfire.
Soon elderly bebian women formulated tireless rules and enforced them mercilessly. Initially Titus was prisoned in a closed room. He was offered high quality food and they formed a squad to physically train him to keep him healthy. All Babien women spent their night with Titus one by one. Because of each woman got only single night for the whole year and half, inevitably they turned as sexual daydreamers and started engaging in homosexual activities. Ferociously fervent desire for Titus’s body induced them like daemon. They made holes on the walls of Titus’s room and watched his daily sexual acts. These activities were allowed by elderly bebian women to some extent to vent the women’s desires. As days passed on, closed room was replaced by the inner courtyards for the activities and all other Bebian women were permitted to assemble the surrounding to watch it. Later these were evolved as rights of the women and then as a ritual. Soon the sexual act attained the performing art’s status. Particular body movements, special music and specific timing for those rituals were determined. Entire bebian women learned that art for the whole year. Performing and learning this art was established firmly as a sacred practise blessed by god. Elderly bebian women believed and preached that gods them-self attend that sacred ritual as ethereals. Mythological stories were developed and venerating songs composed from this ritual and on advent of the gods. As a part of performing art these songs were vocalized by appropriate musical band.
Eventually Titus had upturned as an entirely different, deranged lustful beast. He had casted off visual sense to distinguish the woman from one another, and hearing and speaking senses soon. Due to ceaseless training, his body had started performing those movements elegantly and immaculately.
These rituals existed until emerge of the next generation young men, till then no outsider were aware, even a hint of these practices. Titus died at his age of forty. The emerged generation men despised these rituals. Therefore it became a secret ritual performed only by selected few instead of a compulsory practice for the whole community. Then the practise was restrained as a responsibility of 3 appointed families and their descents and performed only during particular days of spring season. These descents became sexual apparatus of Bebians. Though in general they were held in disdained status, only during spring season when they perform these practices, were treated with sacredness and venerated by whole community. Abolishing the actual sexual acts, the practice was left with a symbolized body movement.
After few generations, these practices were entirely extinct and the persona of Titus evolved as God status. Titus, who was nude for most of his life, portrayed likewise in the statue with unexplainable grievous eyes and stooped head. During wedding ceremonies, Bebians started giving life sacrifice offerings to God Titus and few remnant songs of old rituals underwent generations of metamorphic changes, were also played as music of love. Some of the movements of those days wedding party dances were considered to be originated from that earlier ritual’s movements.
In Freddie’s novel, Adhina depicted the lewd sexual playacts of Bebians acutely and explicitly, describing their every aspect of transgressing beyond bounds!! When lust went impracticable, supplanted fantasy flew crossing sky, executing exuberant and vehement dreaming events soulfully in the mind over and again. I never happened to read any other literary work which nails down in intensely portraying that “human’s lust resides only in mind not in body”.
At another phase of the novel, Freddie described, the changes that Clarinda going through. Initially she get attracted towards that book, at one stage she dismays observing the derangement caused by the book and tries to avoid it. But soon she only could fall for the book with much more severe thirst. She becomes more and more, relentless daydreaming introvert, irrevocable to consciousness. Her craving for lust dilapidates, she could not get closer to men anymore, though her lesbian dreams arouse her feelings, she could not contain the touch of woman either. At last, least she could do, happens to be masturbation, by fantasying the group sexual activities of plentiful women clothing with ancient attires. The novel ended with this.
“Transgression is an essential quality of literature. Authenticity of history, contemporary thought processes and the boundaries of morale conducts and moreover, everything believed to be well known by many has to be crossed over by the literature. Therefore the idea of transgression in your novel appeals to me. “I wrote to Freddie.
“‘Bebian community was re-sprouted from one single young man’ is a historical fact. Even Friedrich Engels mentioned this in his treatise ‘The Origin of the Family, Private Property and State’” Freddie wrote back to me.
”There is nothing called truth in history, furthermore ‘historical fact’ is itself a deceitful term. Only the choices fulfill the role of facts.” I replied back.
“I still think the novel is unfinished, how would you complete it?” Freddie asked me.
“I would have elaborated the inside information of the Abbey furthermore, by raising question like, what was the reason behind, preservation of such a book for these much long period in the monastery of Christian monks? They were the ones volunteered to become celibate monks for Jesus Christ. I would make sure hold some hints in the novel that one of these monks might have written this book. Those monks had been reading that book from generations to generations in the dark rooms of Abbey. The ‘turbulent crave’ depicted in this book is actually the lust relinquished from the body of the celibate monk. “ I wrote back to Freddie.
”I primarily asked about the changes that Clarinda going through reading that book because that is the centre subject dealt in the novel. ” he wrote to me.
“Okay, Let the end be like this. Clarinda apparently knows that the book is eventually leading her towards dissipation of mind, yet she is not able to keep off the book even for a day. Upon completing the book, she detects a small note attached at the end, actually a forewarning message written at some former time. ‘Dear Brother, I beg you not to read this book. This is an insane inducing, sorcerous book! The one reads just one page of the book, cannot keep off until completing the whole book. The one, who completes the entire book, can never return back to sanity. Beware of this horrific book; this has been outspreading generations of insanes!!!’ Below to these lines, another message with different handwriting is also affiliated ‘In the beginning, the above warning note was attached at the first page. I am the one ripped that off and pasted it at the last page. My name is Lucifer!!’ - I would have finished the novel with these lines. But you may not concur with this end; after all, I live in the opposite side of Earth.” I wrote back to Freddie conclusively.
“The end sounds good. I had firmly made up my mind not to bring bible into this novel. That's okay, but I wonder, how are you settling that only a man could have written this book? ” Freddie asked me.
“The theme of the novel is evidently, “Male daydream transgression”. When we breach rules and limits, we never prepared to admit full moral liability of repercussions. The reason is ‘feeling of guilt’. This would fizzle out, the savour of the male’s impulsion. Therefore a male’s mind fantasies ‘inescapable circumstances’ by creating horrendous women whom hunt him until he gets into those situations. Every man’s dreams are full of blood sucking enchantresses and insatiable defiant succubus. Think for a moment, this novel itself nothing but the daydream we interchange with one another, isn’t it?”
Freddie replied me after a week that was the final E-mail. After that we lost contact. Neither I received any response for my mails, nor heard any news about that novel publish. In that last E-mail, Freddie wrote as “Dear J.M, what made you to declare that I am a man?”