Bureaucrat by day, Ghaziabad DM turns blogger, translator at night
Her first ‘serious’ translation is well-known writer KR Meera’s bestseller, ‘Meera Sadhu,’ which was published in Malayalam in 2008. Ministhy devoted nights to translate the book into English, ‘The Poison of Love,’ published by Hamish Hamilton (Penguin Random House India). The book now features among the longlist of 13 novels in contention to win the prestigious DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017.noida Updated: Aug 13, 2017 22:49 IST
Born with an affinity for literature, 2003 batch IAS officer, Ministhy S, is now foraying into translating serious books, besides ably dedicating herself to the day-long hectic schedule of bureaucratic work.
Her first ‘serious’ translation is well-known writer KR Meera’s bestseller, ‘Meera Sadhu,’ which was published in Malayalam in 2008. Ministhy devoted nights to translate the book into English, ‘The Poison of Love,’ published by Hamish Hamilton (Penguin Random House India). The book now features among the longlist of 13 novels in contention to win the prestigious DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017.
Ministhy S has been a former special secretary (home) and is now serving as the district magistrate of Ghaziabad. However, she is much more than a bureaucrat — she is a promising translator, transliterator and a blogger.
“I had been devoting time for translation, transliteration and blog writing during late night hours. Earlier, I wrote several books, including a detective novel, but kept it low-profile. However, translating books is something that I would call serious work that I enjoy,” Ministhy said, adding that she has been blogging since 2014.
She said that KR Meera is one of her favourite writers and she bumped into her at a friend’s place in Lucknow in October 2015.
“I had written about ‘Meera Sadhu’ in my blog. I asked Meera why no one had translated the book into English. In reply, she told me to try it. The original novella runs for 50 pages. The first translated draft was out after one week and appreciated by the writer and the publisher also gave his nod. With continued efforts, the book was published in February 2017. It feels great to be nominated for the prize,” Ministhy added.
“Meera’s other books were translated by literary persons but this time, she trusted a bureaucrat,” she said. She said that the story is one of love, lost love and love turning poisonous for revenge.
“Love is like milk. With the passage of time, it sours, splits and becomes poison,” reads an excerpt from Meera’s book.
“His touch was magical, spellbinding. It was as if I was in a trance. Like a ‘gopika’ enchanted with Krishna’s divine flute music, I lost awareness of the world around me. My body was under some sort of black magic, I was thrown off balance...” reads another excerpt.
Ministhy holds an engineering degree in electronics and communication and went on to complete her MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur. Her technical and management background coupled with bureaucratic work and her love for literary work makes her a multifaceted, unique individual.
She says that she finds her new ‘work’ to be relaxing and sees it as a way of detaching from her gruelling daily routine, which starts around 5.30am and goes up to 9pm.
Ministhy is currently translating a 215-page book of KR Meera’s, besides trying her hand on English transliteration and interpretation of the ‘Sundarkanda’ – the fifth ‘sopan’ and one of the most popular chapters of ‘Ram Charitra Manas.’
“The poetry in the chapter fascinated me. I wondered how people who do not know Hindi will understand the original form. I completed this work in nearly 50 days and the draft is in print,” she said.
The translation runs into 50 chapters, consisting of nearly 156 pages, and is set to be published soon.
“My profession and work as a translator merge seamlessly. I don’t think myself as ‘Ministhy’ or ‘district magistrate’ when translating during free time. Initially, many mocked my translation work as I am not a professional writer. I studied Hindi till class 10. I felt like a new actor struggling in Bollywood, but rejections are part of life. The recent translation work (‘The Poison of Love’) is a message to my critics,” she said.