August 30, 2006

Alea Jacta Est!!!

Finally a post on one of the inspirations for my blog name. What follows is an article by Anthea Bell.Anthea Bell has translated all 30 Asterix books with her colleague, Derek Hockridge.

With Asterix now a record-breaking French movie, Anthea Bell, translator of the classic comic-strip books, reveals the trick to turning the famous Gallic puns into English jokes

A STRIP cartoon? Aren't they strictly for children? That was my reaction when I first saw one of the early Asterix and Obelix books years ago in a friend's house. I picked it up out of curiosity - and I began to read, then I began to laugh as the brilliantly detailed artwork and convoluted ingenuity of the French text sank in.
Soon I was captivated by ancient Gaul, by the stories of Asterix and his friends consistently outmanoeuvring Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire, thanks to native cunning and a druid's magic potion.
Now Asterix the Gaul is on the big screen in France. Not as an animated film, but with human actors: Gérard Depardieu plays the hero's hefty-but-dim sidekick Obelix. It seems the film is breaking records in France, and I for one am delighted, after years of helping to convert Asterix into English.
But translating the text had once seemed to UK publishers an impossible task. The humour was so French; surely it would never cross the Channel? The original adventures first appeared in book form in 1961, jointly produced by René Goscinny (text) and Albert Uderzo (drawings). It was not until 1969 that, at last, an English publisher bravely dipped a toe into the icy waters of the Mare Britannicum, and I was co-opted as a translator.
Just what can explain the subsequent popularity of the Asterix series in translation - 30 books published to date, and many millions sold? First, it has one of the greatest storylines of all time: I think of Asterix as a comic version of wily Odysseus. He even does a fair amount of travelling, touring the known world of the time, and the unknown world, too: after a trip to America the Gauls remain convinced that it is one of the Roman colonies, perhaps Crete or Thrace.
And I would call the comedy not solely French, but European. French children's history books traditionally open with a tribute to nos anctres les Gaulois. Sellar and Yeatman's book 1066 and All That and the television series Up Pompeii and Blackadder are in the same tradition: all of us in Europe enjoy making anachronistic fun of the past. Well, western Europe, anyway: as an eminent Slavonic scholar said to me recently, it is inconceivable to think of the Russians showing this kind of affectionate disrespect for their history and culture.
And third, the Asterix strip cartoons are crammed with jokes. For we Brits, again like the French, enjoy the dreadful puns in which the Asterix stories abound. But if you translate a pun straight, it is no longer a pun. You have the situation, you have the facial expressions of the characters and the size of the speech bubble, and you must devise a new pun to fit.
In the French original of Asterix at the Olympic Games, athletes from all over Greece enter the arena in procession, and the arrival of the team from the island of Melos - or, more commonly, "Milo" - is announced with the words "Ceux de Milo sont venus aussi". This neat play on the Venus of Milo doesn't work in translation. So in English, the words become: "Some of the competitors from Attica are mysteriously eleusive" - refering to the ancient Greek mysteries of Eleusis.
There are jokes for all ages in the original French, and I hope the translations provide the same mixture. Some jokes are simple, aimed at eight-year-olds. In the latest book, Asterix and Obelix all at Sea, it was at last possible to work in that hoary old gag "The galley slaves are revolting," so that an irate Caesar could tell the trembling admiral who imparts this news, "And so are you."
Some run to extended literary references, for older children and adults. In Le Cadeau de César there is a whole page where Asterix, defending the local innkeeper, slips into the character of Cyrano de Bergerac as he fights a duel with a Roman while composing a ballade. Quotations from Rostand, Cyrano's creator, come thick and fast.
The translation replaces them with probably the most famous sword fight in English literature, Hamlet and Laertes, and suitable Shakespearian quotations: the innkeeper's wife begins by advising her husband, "Act with disdain!", whereupon the belligerent Roman can point out, accurately, "I am more an antique Roman than a Dane," thus launching the literary sequence.
Lateral thinking is required. My brother Martin recently mentioned in these pages that our late father was the first compiler of The Times crossword puzzle. He used to try out clues on the family at breakfast. ("Die of cold?" The answer is an "ice cube".) The lateral thinking of the cryptic crossword clue is not far removed from the translation of wordplay.
For Asterix, references have to be dredged up from elsewhere. There are the names in the French originals, about 400 in all, and only a very few, like Julius Caesar and Vercingetorix, are genuine. The rest are French compound phrases ending -ix for Gauls, -us for Romans, -os for Greeks and so forth, and they need rethinking in English. Asterix and Obelix, luckily, are no problem. But their chieftain Abraracourcix (literally, "with arms shortened", as in "ready to pitch in") is Vitalstatistix in English because of his girth.
Obelix's dog, Idéfix, turns into Dogmatix. A couple of minor Roman legionaries become Sendervictorius and Appianglorius. In the most recent book the French name of the high priest of Atlantis is Hyapados ( from "il n'y pas d'os", or "there's no snag"). In English he becomes Absolutlifabulos; even if the famous television series fades from memory, the name should still fit, since Atlantis really is a place of fable.
Then there are the songs: like those of the French originals, they have to be both recognisable and capable of anachronistic distortion. Hence such lyrics as "I'm dreaming of a white Solstice," and "Wonderful, wonderful Durovernum." Believe it or not, people write dissertations on this kind of thing: one German student complained to me that she had consulted English songbooks, but could not find any of them.
And there are the national stereotypes, with their funny foreign accents. I suppose the comic-strip cartoon is about the only genre that can still make harmless use of politically incorrect, xenophobic attitudes. On the whole, we in these islands share the French view of such stock figures as the obsessively tidy Swiss and the proud Spaniard - but what about those phlegmatic characters, our own ancestors, the ancient Britons?
In Astérix chez les Bretons, they speak French with a truly dreadful English accent. This was a huge problem in translation. We visited the genial René Goscinny, whose own English was excellent, to discuss the proposed solution: a stilted English style, the language of the upper-class twit as encountered in the pages of P. G. Wodehouse. "I say, jolly good, eh, what?" "What ho, old bean!" "Hullo, old fruit." At this last, Goscinny's eye lit up. "Ah! I wish I'd thought of that one. Vieux fruit," he murmured. It is a pleasing memory to cherish after his sadly early death. (Subsequently his partner Uderzo continued both writing and drawing the series in the same vein, consistently paying tribute, in text and pictures alike, to the enduring contribution of his friend's inspiration.)
Goscinny kept a close eye on his translations, and rejected the first German version for being too nationalistic. Since Goscinny's death, all translations published are still rigorously scrutinised at the French end of the operation, and the freedoms we translators take must be approved. Luckily it is appreciated that, in this case, it is far more important to observe the spirit than the letter of the originals.
And the spirit of Asterixian humour is kindly at heart - another reason why it goes down well in the English-speaking world. The Caesar of Goscinny and Uderzo, constantly thwarted by incompetent subordinates as well as the druid's magic potion, ends up on terms of quite friendly enmity with the Gauls.
Actually I used to feel rather guilty about my Asterix-induced inability to take this great historical figure seriously - until I came upon that passage in Book VI of De Bello Gallico where, sketching in the local colour, Caesar describes the way the ancient Germanic tribes caught elk. Since elk, says Caesar, have no joints in their legs, they sleep standing up, leaning against trees. You only have to locate their favourite trees, saw them almost all the way through but not quite, arrange them to look natural and wait for the elk to feel drowsy. Down go the trees, down go the now helpless elk, and dinner is served.
It makes me feel far less guilty about the real Caesar to find that he was gullible enough to fall for such a tall tale - or as the French phrase goes, "une histoire à dormir debout".

Here's the link to the original article:

August 29, 2006

On Entrepreneurship at IIFT

Entrepreneurship Management is now a full blown course module at IIFT. As part of this program we will be interacting with many Entrepreneurs during our CRCs. In the next trimester we would have a compulsary paper on entrepreneurship management, and in the third of fourth trimester we will undertake a live entrepreneurship project or case study from the large pool available at the IIFT SME Centre

As a person who was always very keen on entrepreneurship, this bit of information from our Program Director, Pinaki Dasgupta came as an icing to top an already rather excellent cake!
Our PD ran us through the vision of this program as he was introducing our first speaker in this series Mr. Jagjot Singh.

Mr. Jagjot Singh is an IIFT alumni( Batch of 93) . He worked in the textile space for several years, starting with Arvind Mills and was the Secretary of the All India Terry Towels Association ( the only non promoter/owner to be honoured thus) and also the CEO of a large Terry towel making unit beore he decided that opportunities existed that were to good to pass up and plunged into his entrepreneurial venture. Today he runs "Confidence Buying" a buying house for large retailers across the globe , and has an annual shadow turnover of about 110 Cr.
His talk was an absolute pleasure , right from the easy going start where he joked about how in his time students at IIFT were" dumbs" and todays students, i.e We, are a lot smarter bunch and hence his nervousness to address us. But he quickly launched into one of the best talks I've been privileged to hear at IIFT -basically addressing issues like:

+ What the focus of an entrepreneur should be when he starts up
+ The process of becoming an entrepreneur, and the attitude
+ The challenges generally faced, with personal examples from his life
+ The road ahead

It was a personally extremely rewarding talk, and was followd up by another brilliant CRC by Mr C.K Sharma who spoke on sales distribution and trade marketing.I will be posting on our CRC lecture series separately, to keep a record of all the speakrs whom we've interacted with here at IIFT on my blog ...

On the 22nd of August ( that's about a week back) I'd attended a TiE mentoring session organised by Anurakt Jain and Ruchi Durlabhji. The speaker was Sanjeev Bikhchandani(SB) the founder of

He ran us through his story, and how they were among the last few dot coms to get venture funding ( to the tune of 7.3 crores from ICICI ventures) before the IT bubble burst in 2001. The synergies between the talks given by Mr. Bikhchandani , and Mr. Jagjot Singh were alarming. Both of them stressed the tremendous advantage they leveraged from working in a big organization for several years before taking the entrepreneurial jump. SB also addressed the extremely delicate scenario of what you should do when you have a company growing at phenomenal rates, and you have a friend who with you has started the frim and nurtured it through the initial days, but is unable to sustain his learning curve past a particular size or scale of operatons. What do you do? - Not easy that!

These sessions are such a huge value add...truly mind expanding... On the third of september there is another TiE mentoring session..will be attending it too, and will keep you posted...

August 20, 2006

Girl you are my love

Girl you are my love,
You're my heart and soul,
You're my shining star.
My love is just for you,
I'll be feeling blue,
Living without you.
Every breath, that l take...
And every step l want to make,
I want to share,my love with you,
Right till the end of time...
I hold you by my side,
l make you stay tonight,
Girl, somehow l know deep inside your heart that you need my tender touch
Girl, somehow l know deep inside your heart that you need my tender touch

--------> J. Untung

On body Aches and Freshers Parties...

Here at IIFT, we finally celebrated our freshers party on 18th evening.It's been a tad over a month to the date that we ( the 2008 batch) have been in campus, the session began on 17th July, and it's been a roller coaster ride...

Well on pretty much our very first interaction, the seniors made it clear that the dress code would be formal at ALL hours, which was a sign of problems to come...and then, the schedule had been( and continues to be) a killer, and even those of us fresh from harrowing experiences of overload at work were (un)pleasantly taught that there IS SUCH A THING AS A 24 HOUR WORKING DAY {Well, alright , a 22 hr day, PDPs included (more on the PDPs at a more appropriate juncture)}......So I doff my hats off to all the freshers who coped!!!

Anyways, just as we were getting used to the rigour,the seniors pulled off a bomb on us { a wet one i might add!!..more on this again at that same appropriate juncture mentioned above}

And then, there was BT Acumen 2006, and IIFT played host to the north zone finals...

We'd more or less resigned ourselves to two years of plenty of drudgery and very little fun at IIFT...
thats when we received a small mail from our seniors:

Dear Juniors ,
The Fresher's Party will be held tomorrow i.e 18th August,2006 from 8.30 P.M onwards.
All of you are cordially invited !!
Venue :- The Atrium
Dress Code :- Strictly Casuals :)
Mood :- Party Animal .
Hope to see you all there!!!

IMF 2007

and thus, we finally had our FRESHERS!!!!

Well we danced like there would be no tommorrow...and the booze flowed like Mata Ganges...and the bodyaches next day, were bandied with pride... Now we know there'll be plenty of drudgery AND plenty of fun over the next two years...

Just wishing Manali was here , too...

even more pics....

A few good pegs...
happy,, joy!
Count Vlad Swapnila(in orange)
Posted by Picasa more songs please!!!

More pics...

The Gang
The God (and his devotees)
Posted by Picasa Juniors

Pics from the freshers...

Gunjit and amalan @ IIFT entrance
Just getting started...
Warming up (with icecream?!)
Posted by Picasa Naval Goel Himself!!

August 18, 2006

ZZZZZZZing with Elan

This is how junta at IIFT makes do with almost no sleep...the man who pulls off this caper is none other than Peggy himself...the director of this masterpiece is my LOOMIE Prateek ...


EnnnnJoyyy !!!

August 16, 2006

11000 words and then some on IIFT

The Eye
Arka ( go figure why)
The way ( entrance /exit from new acad block)
Shoi and Sun
Seat of Power
Golf greens?
The Criss
The hexagon
The throne
The Building
Temple of knowledge

They say a picture is worth a thousand words...i rest my case ...the dude in pic 4 is my batchmate, Saikat Sarkar - the creative genius of our batch , to whom i owe these amazing snaps....and most of the captions...

August 15, 2006

My Favourite Pic

I don't remember exactly when this was taken..or where..but this is absolutely my favourite picture of Manali and me together!!

Black is Back

I've reverted back to my fave black template..and i see the same old template layout problems will plague me...but this time i shall persist...

August 09, 2006

IIFT duo takes Acumen North Zone Debate Title

Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), Delhi beat MDI-Gurgaon in a battle of reason to win the Business Today Acumen 2006 North Zone Debate finals. IIFT's Arka Bhattacharya and Swarnim Bharadwaj (in the picture) will now compete with the teams from East, West and South Zones at the finals on November 4, 2006 in Mumbai. The debate that saw them through to the finals was on 'Amitabh Bahchan everywhere: Celebrity endorsements don't work'.
A little about the winners.

Arka Bhattacharya
A 2003 batch Metallurgical Engineer from College of Engineering, Pune, Arka worked for one year as a management trainee with ESAB India Limited, handling marketing and sales of specialised welding products in Mumbai. He then spent another two years with TIME Institute, Mumbai as Center Manager. Arka has in the past won quizzes and debates at Mood-Indigo (IIT Bombay), Verve, AFMC, Fergusson College and Limca Book of Records events.

Now in the first year of MBA(IB) at IIFT, he keeps himself busy outside of academics by being an avid reader, philosophy enthusiast and a maths and physics junkie. Besides debating and quizzing, he likes rock and Indian Classical music.
"Both of us are way too enthusiastic about speaking and we have a great understanding about exactly what we want to present as our viewpoint and our speaking gels together. We're hoping that this USP of ours holds us in good stead versus the much tougher opposition we will inevitably face at the mega finals," says Arka about his team's prospects in the Acumen finals.

Swarnim Bharadwaj

A St Stephen's product, Swarnim is Arka's senior at IIFT and is currently on seventh heaven after receiving a Pre Placement Offer from Hindustan Lever Limited. His interests besides reading and movies include partying, unplanned activities and collecting jokes and gags

---------> courtesy

August 06, 2006

Indian Insitute of Foreign Trade

Our Very Own Gas Master

Life at IIFT was never going to be easy and neither was I expecting it to be. I've been through the so called Hostel Life during my engineering years and I've been there, seen this and done that. Life can be very monotonous if it isn't for the awe inspiring and colourful characters who you'll invariably bump against in a hostel. IIFT has been no exception. I was thinking about starting off my blogging career and what better way to start than to talk of our very own Gas Master. You'll come to appreciate the entire concept and importance of gas here at IIFT once I'm through with this blog.
It's been only three weeks here and already we've been able to categorize our mates here in accordance to their forte. I, for one, am unparallel at sleeping almost anywhere imaginable and perhaps unimaginable but that is not the topic of discussion today. Like in any classroom you will definitely find a group of eager students pretty desperate to impress the lecturer or perhaps someone else. It's no different here. Here at IIFT we've some bajuwords (read buzzwords). These enthusiasm personified characters are tagged for their ACP (Arbitrary Class Participation) and DCP (Desperate Class Participation). Incidentally our DCP king is also our Gas Master; apna very own Naval Goel!
Why exactly Naval has the dubious distinction of being crowned the Gas kingpin will be evident in a little while. Just keep reading. It was just another soporific, innocuous statistics class. I wouldn't have been able to recall the class today if it wasn't for the antics of Mr. Naval Goel. The topic of discussion in class was probability and the lecturer was using that historical cliche of the two die. He had just finished saying that obtaining a 3 and a 4 are two different cases and was about to proceed with a more complex example when entered the scene the Gas Master. "I've a question sir," he said with curiosity blazing in his eyes. "Sir, in that case if we get a 4 and a 4 then they should be considered as two different cases, right?" Though no one will ever doubt Naval Goel's IQ level (he's a very intelligent chap) but whether that was a genuine doubt or he did it on purpose, no matter how obscure that purpose may be, I'll never know. It's gas at its very best. I don't know about the lecturers but to the students Naval has been catapulted to an iconic status in no time. He has mastered the art of opening his mouth at the wrong time and at the wrong place. Strangely he invariably gets away with it. Probably it's his all-thirty-two-out face or maybe the lecturers just consider it below their dignity to react to his stupidity. Attribute it to his ever smiling countenance or his friendly know-all nature, you actually end up thanking him for his foolhardiness. If not for him and his likes classes would have been a painful drudgery.
Naval's escapades can fill up a diary as thick as our Kotler perhaps. Ask him why he does this and you will a grave reply, "Arrey yaar kisiko tho responsibility lena padega na thum sleepy boys ko jagake rakhne ka." In a way he is right. I can't fault his impeccable logic. Never mind the fact that the gas emitting from him can be very often downright asphyxiating. As if he's permanently afflicted with acute acidity but he's not perturbed and we are slowly getting used to this very arbitrary gassing. If you guys want to know more about gassing and the intrigues of the Gas King please feel free to let me know. After all he sits right next to me in class. I have often considered wearing a gas mask. Okay, I admit, that was a sad one but then so much of gas is bound to have its effects, isn't it?

-------------------> By Niladri

On Bajoowords and Gas masters

Here at IIFT we've evolved some lingo on which I will post in detail later, but suffice it to say for now that bajooowords and no sleep are the norm...and we have our heroes too...

So here's a post by my batchmate Niladri that gives you an Idea of the gr8 people we have in our batch..will keep adding to this theme of posts so you get a flavour of life at IIFT


August 04, 2006

Omkara!!...(********..No debates please!)

Finally could spare time to go and watch Omkara ...
Absolutely loved Vishal Bhardwaj's adaptation, the movie scores a 5 on 5 ( which is rare when I'm actually looking forward to a movie)...Good screenplay, great dialogues, brilliant performances, excellent music and ( very important for me) the crispest editing I've seen for ages...

The movie boasts an absolutely mind blowing portrayal of Iago by Saif Ali Khan (a.k.a Langda Tyagi)...Devgan was very good as Omkara but I thought he kept well within in himself, perhaps the script hangs together closely precisely because of his lack of overt rage portrayals...Kareena (IMHO) probably the only non-excellent link in the chain ( but pretty good nevertheless)...Great performances by Konkona Sen Sharma, Vive(I)K Oberoi, and the new guy who plays bunny to Saif's Iago/Tyagi...

[Spoiler warning: plot details follow]

Minor plot changes( alright not so minor): Tyagi (Iago) getting killed by wife, instead of vice versa


Recommendation: Get to your nearest theatre and watch it..I'm prolly gonna go see the movie again (time permitting)

BT-Acumen update:

Today and tomorrow the North Zonals of BT-Acumen are happening on the IIFT campus.. The debate prelims and Quarterfinals were held today as well as the quiz prelims..
4 teams made it through to the quiz finals
4 teams made it through to the debate semifinals...One of those 4 debate teams is IIFT comprising of Swarnim Bharadwaj and yours truly...

Semifinal and North Zone Finals tomorrow...May the best team win!!!

further update:

IIFT delhi was adjudged winner of the north zonal debates...Swarnim and Me will be flying to Mumbai for the Mega finals of BT-Acumen 2006 in November...