"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.
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. [...]
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
"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!'
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.
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
Translated from Eliade, Mircea
(1969). La tigănci si alte povestiri. Bucuresti: E.P.L
All texts translated by © Gustav