Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Masters Of The Measureless Mind

Children ran everywhere. Many wore masks. Two men stripped to the waist were stirring a cauldron of soup with wooden paddles. A woman was selling shaved ice in paper cones. A child was selling garlands of white flowers. A man was selling tea, deftly pouring it into white porcelain cups from the long spout of the pot he balanced on a pad on top of his head. Two ascetics went past, clad in their particoloured robes, tapping a slow beat on small drums tucked under their arms. A woman sat cross-legged, playing an unfretted spike fiddle. Another woman sang an atonal praisesong. There were pairs and trios and quartets of musicians spaced along the grassy verge at the edge of the beach, and men and women stopped to listen and then moved on. Banners hung from tall poles, rattling in the breeze off the lake. The silvery teardrop of a balloon floated high above the tents, reflecting the last of the sunlight, and in the basket hung beneath it a holy man sang a wailing prayer.

As he mingled with the gaudy parade, passing intricately crafted altars and shrines, breathing the odours of sandalwood and incense, woodsmoke and cooking, hearing strange musics drifting on the warm wind, Hari felt an unbounded delight at the rich variety of human imagination. He supposed that his father would have been dismayed by the unabashed veneration of imaginary sky ghosts, the endless elaboration of superstition, the flaunting of pointless scholarship, but it seemed to him that although these people had gathered to honour and exalt their various prophets and gods, what they were really celebrating was themselves. One of the itinerant philosophers who had taken passage on Pabuji’s Gift had once told Hari that small groups of like-minded people generated a gestalt, a group overmind or harmonic mindset that enhanced problem-solving, enhanced empathy, and reduced conflict. A useful survival trait, according to the philosopher, when the ancestors of all human beings had been a few bands of man-apes on the veldts of old Earth. Hari’s father had dismissed this and similar explanations of human behaviour as fairy-tales, but it was easy to imagine a kind of benevolent overmind permeating the encampment, binding everyone to a common purpose.

A small parade was coming down the road. Eight men holding poles on which was balanced a huge red skull with elongated, toothy jaws, followed by men beating drums or tossing firecrackers to the left and right, and a man who swigged a clear greasy liquid from a bottle and touched a burning torch to his lips and breathed out fire. As the crowds parted to let them pass, Hari saw the tent of the Masters of the Measureless Mind on the other side of the road, square and butter-yellow, just as Rav had described it. A black pennant strung from the top of its central pole snapped in the wind.

From Evening's Empires


Blogger Nin said...

Dear Sir,

First of all, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Nicu Gecse, I live in Romania, and I am the person that does the translation of your wonderful novel ’The Quiet War’.
Basically, I think that the Romanian publisher has chosen me as translator of your book due not only to my previous translation works, but also to my scientific background (I am a former chemical researcher that has been working in the glass industry for 16 years). Also, the chief editor knows me well from my activity in the Romanian Science Fiction conventions for almost 30 years.
I loved your book and I do hope that my translation will be good and accurate. That would be the first step in order to make the Romanian readers enjoy it and made them wait for the sequels.
I know that your time is precious and I want to ask you to help me clarify a few minor details that will help me improve my translation work. If you agree to support me with these, I will send you another message containing the few things I have to clear out in my mind.
Thank you for your time.

Best regards,
Nicu Gecse

June 13, 2013 10:23 am  

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