In his book Ghazals of Ghalib, a very novel effort at getting the selected ghazals of Ghalib translated into English by some accomplished poets, Aijaz Ahmad says that ‘good poetic translations, like good poetry itself, are very much a matter of divine luck: talent, skill, and labor have all to be blessed with the divine spark…Success can only be relative; the translator is in an impossible situation and translations of poetry can be not only rarely but also relatively good’ (Ahmad p. xvii).
That is the relation of novel with human existence? Milan Kundera in The Art of the Novel says that ‘A novel examines not reality but existence. And existence is not what has occurred, existence is the realm of human possibilities, everything that man can become, everything he’s capable of. Novelists draw up the map of existence by discovering this or that human possibility.’ Take any work of Khalid Jawed, what one readily encounters is an acute focus on the exploration of characters’ inner life, their experience of being human and The Paradise of Food is no exception in this regard.
Ayesha Kidwai has already given us in English translation Anis Kidwai’s account of what happened immediately after Independence of India and the Partition—Azadi Ki Chhaon Mein (1974). Called In Freedom’s Shade (2011) in English translation, it not only marked Ayesha Kidwai’s debut as an impressive translator (she was already well-known as a brilliant scholar), it also ensured that her grandmother Anis Kidwai’s name and work would be known again to the world at large.