Wandering lonely as a cloud | Daily News


 

Wandering lonely as a cloud

Saman Athaudahetti
Saman Athaudahetti

Word to word translation never gives the real taste of an original work to the reader, says the author of the ‘Sonduru Serisara’ (Wandering with pleasure) travelogue series Saman Athaudahetti.

Athaudahetti has been fond of travelling since his childhood. He travels in or outside the country. He has this habit of searching for more details about the places he visited. “It takes about a whole day for me to finish visiting one place where a normal tourist will finish visiting within an hour.
 

The Daily News encounters Saman Athaudahetti, the Additional Secretary (Media) to Prime Minister, to discuss his fifth and the sixth books of the series, Sonduru Serisara - Ramya Sagaraya Dige and Sonduru Serisara - Rathu Balakotuwa Dige. He has been writing a series of travelogues under the theme Sonduru Serisara. The fifth and sixth of the series, Sonduru Serisara - Rathu Balakotuwa Dige and Sonduru Serisara - Ramya Sagaraya Dige deal with India and Japan respectively.

Athaudahetti has already authored two books on China in addition to one on Malaysia and another one on Japan. All these were based on the tours he made in those countries for over 15 years. Sonduru Serisara – Hanamichiya Dige was the first one, authored in 2011, woven around Japan. The work earned Athaudahetti the Vidyodaya Literary Award.

The book launching ceremony offered a different experience to the readers.

“I introduce a change to every book launching ceremony. I make sure every event starts and ends on time,” Athaudahetti said.

Athaudahetti has been fond of travelling since his childhood. He travels in or outside the country. He has this habit of searching for more details about the places he visited.

“It takes about a whole day for me to finish visiting one place where a normal tourist will finish visiting within an hour. Once, a national newspaper editor asked me as to why don’t I write down my experiences. That was the start. Thereon, I supplied columns to that paper. I continued writing. When the articles received good feedback, Prem Dissanayake invited me to compile it into a collection,” Athaudahetti explained.

Travelogues of this calibre are rarely found in Sinhalese literature. In fact, this has not developed into proper literature as such. Plus, this is a difficult, and different, task. It is an expensive project. It requires a long time to absorb details.

Wasn’t it a challenge for Athaudahetti to present a travelogue in a very interesting manner to the readers? He responds in the positive.

“Writing in an interesting manner is the main challenge that the travelogue writers face today. They have to think of doing their creations in a very creative and attractive manner for a society where the technology is far more advanced than it used to be. Being able to win that challenge will bring us close to the reader. I have authored many books as the demand and responses were very good and positive,” Athaudahetti added.

Athaudahetti expressed his willingness to translate the works into Tamil and English, provided the availability of suitable translators.

“It doesn’t mean that we don’t have enough resources. Earlier, we did some experiments to look into the possibility. But, we were not satisfied with the quality. This kind of books should be translated without destroying the real taste. It does not have to be a word to word translation. However, nobody came in to do that even. Any opportunity will be considered in the future,” Athaudahetti said.

Athaudahetti is more known for his voice. But he has been engaged in writing for so long. Although mostly confined to electronic media, Athaudahetti has written to the Mihira, a children’s periodical popular among the Sinhala-reading crowd. While working at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) he contributed to the Desathiya news magazine in 1978. He worked as the Sports Editor.

What is his next destination then? Athaudahetti says he has no idea. He visits each and every place possible. There is information about Europe with him at the moment but, not enough to write a book yet. It will take time, Athaudahetti concluded.


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