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"I would like to confess right from the beginning that, during the first months spent beside Maitreyi, I had never thought of love. I was tempted rather by her, by what it was sealed and fascinating in her life. If I was often thinking about her, if, in my diary of the time, there are put down lots of her words and experiences, if, most of all, she was confusing and troubling me, this was due to the strangeness incomprehensibleness arising from her eyes, her answers, her smile. It is true that I felt drawn to her. Even her footsteps had a peculiar charm and challenge. But, I would be lying if I didn't say that my entire life in Bhowanipore - not just this girl - seemed to me unreal and miraculous. I had entered so quickly and so without hesitating in a home where everything seemed to me so incomprehensible and strange, that sometimes I would awake from this Indian dream and think of my life, of our life, and feel the need to smile. Something had changed, of course. Almost nothing from my old world would interest me anymore, I couldn't see anybody but the guests of the Sens, and I almost started to change my readings. Slowly, my interests in mathematical physics diminished and I started to read novels and political books, then more and more history books.

But, something else had happened. One day, Maitreyi asked we whether I wanted to learn Bengalese, as she would teach me. I had already bought, during my first week there, a simple text book for conversation in Bengalese, that I was reading in secret, trying hard to catch the meaning of some words that Maitreyi used to say when she was called for or when she was angry. Thus, I had learned that giacč meant 'I am coming'; and ki vishan! - that I would hear during any conversation - a sort of exclamation, something like 'how extraordinary!' My text book hadn't taught me much, so when Maitreyi suggested to take a few lessons together, I accepted. In exchange, I had to teach her French. [...]

We both sat down at the table, I was quite far away from her. She began the lesson. I soon understood that I wouldn't be able to learn Bengalese but by myself. She was explaining so nicely and she was looking at me so closely, that I was listening to her without retaining anything. I would only say 'Yes!' from time to time."

Translated from Eliade, Mircea (1986). Maitreyi. Bucuresti: Ed. Minerva, chapter V 

At the Gypsies' 

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"He looked around astonished. It seemed that it wasn't the same room, though, he could recognize - arranged asymmetrically among the armchairs - sofas or mirrors, dividers that had impressed him right when he entered. Some of them, very tall, almost touching the ceiling could have confused with the walls, if in some places they hadn't stretched out to the midst of the room in sharp angles. Others - mysteriously lit, seemed to be windows, half covered by curtains, opening towards inner corridors. Other dividers, curiously painted in many colours, or covered with shawls and embroidery falling in folds onto the carpets, mixing with them - seemed to form, by the way they were arranged alcoves of different  forms and sizes. But, it was enough for him to rest his eyes only for a few seconds on one of these alcoves to understand that it was only an illusion, that what he could actually see were two or three dividers mixing their images in a large mirror with green-golden waters. The moment he realized it was an illusion, Gavrilescu felt the room starting to swirl around him and he reached to his forehead again.

    'What on Earth have you done to me?' he repeated.

    'You didn't recognize me' the girl whispered with a saddened smile. 'And though, I signed to you with my eye that I wasn't the Gypsy. I am the Greek girl.'

    'Greece!' Gavrilescu shouted, standing up suddenly. 'Eternal Greece!'

It seemed that his tiredness had miraculously vanished. He could hear his heart beats speeding up, an extraordinary elation dispelled in his entire body as a warm shiver.

    'When I was in love with Hildegard', he continued exalted, 'I only dreamed of this, of making a trip to Greece together.'

    'You've been a fool', the girl interrupted him. 'You shouldn't have dreamed, you should have loved her...'

    'I was twenty and she wasn't eighteen yet. She was beautiful. We were both beautiful', he added.

That moment he realized that he was wearing a strange suit: he had some loose trousers, like shalwars, and a short yellow-golden tunic. He looked to himself in the mirror, as if it were difficult for him to recognize himself."

Translated from Eliade, Mircea (1969). La tigănci si alte povestiri. Bucuresti: E.P.L

All texts translated by © Gustav Demeter