Why in English?
Some six months ago, I happened to get introduced to a great Oriya writer at an official function. How it exactly happened was something like this—a well-wisher of mine who was present there and who had her prior acquaintance with the writer laureate took that opportunity to introduce me to the dignitary. But then, she chose to present me as an author who has a book to his credit, which is written in English. Well, the question that followed then was just natural. Guess!
'Why do you write in English, not in Oriya?'
And what answer should have I offered to satisfy the dignitary? That English is an international language and writing in English is a passport to name and fame and money, and what not? Or should have I replied that I am comfortable writing in English?
'Well, like that...with no particular reason,' I prevaricated which was neither the answer the enquirer wanted to hear nor the answer I thought I should have offered.
All our work, whether it is in creative domain or in our day-to-day profession, tends to get mixed up. Howsoever we try to keep one immune from the vagaries and vicissitude of the other area, they just contaminate each other.
Then how can I write my files in English and fiction in Oriya? People say it is possible and some have even done that. But I am yet to try doing both simultaneously.
Had I replied that way, I was sure I would have invited another question: 'Tell me, how do you think—in Oriya or in English? I'm sure every Oriya thinks in Oriya and if he/she is writing in English he/she is only translating his/her thinking into a foreign (an alien?) language. Then, why do you cheat yourself?'
Well, a question like this would have become a leading question for me. Like, ‘Have you stopped pissing inside the swimming pool?’ Saying 'Yes' would have shown my past in bad light and saying 'No' would have made my present disreputable!
And then how could have I said it is possible even for an Oriya to both think and write in English?
A. N. Nanda