Ki Moja
Aratrika Das
CATCH THAT MOUSTACHE THIEF! by Sukumar Ray Talking Cub, Delhi, 2022, 16 pp., 250.00
July 2023, volume 47, No 7

Ki moja!’

Difficult to translate my son’s response on reading the new English translation of Sukumar Ray’s Gonph Chor (Catch that Moustache Thief!). Perhaps ‘How funny!’, but that does not entirely convey the element of surprise, affection, and familiarity that he feels. In the short poem, boro babu, the boss in an office, is frantically looking for his stolen moustache. Refusing to believe that the  mooch is still on him, he curses and rages. The reader, like my son, laughs and giggles while boro babu continues to prance, rant, and rage. The poem ends there.

The above summary does not do justice either to the original or to the translation of Sudeshna Shome Ghosh and illustrations by Pankaj Saikia. The delight and laughter that this book elicits from my son is Ray’s contribution to world literature: unbridled joy at words; nonsense that takes over and refuses even to indicate what an impossibility is.

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