x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Author gives Indians insight into life in Emirates

A translated version of Asma Alketbi's book, Scanner, will be launched today at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

DUBAI // An Emirati author whose book has been translated into Malayalam says she hopes it will give Indian readers an insight into her culture in the same way Bollywood movies gave her an understanding of theirs.

A translated version of Asma Alketbi's book Scanner will be launched today at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi. It was translated by Abdu Sivapuram, 58, an employee at Emirates Post.

"When I was little I used to watch a lot of Indian movies," said Ms Alketbi. "Now, Abdu has given a chance to Indians to understand us, like we know about them through their movies."

The author, who is also a geography professor at the UAE University in Al Ain and head of the Emirates Geographical Society, said she was honoured that her book would soon be read by Indian expatriates.

"There are a lot of Indians here but they don't know much about us or our culture," Ms Alketbi said.

First published in 2004, Scanner is a collection of 11 short stories about love, relationships, infidelity and death.

Two stories also deal with the rape of girls by family members.

"These are true stories," Ms Alketbi said. "People don't like to speak about these issues. The book is scanning the culture and society of the UAE from inside."

Mr Sivapuram said he decided to translate the book when he found similarities between Indian and Emirati experiences.

"I felt this book would ensure a mutual cultural exchange," said the translator.

It took Mr Sivapuram almost six months to finish the 103-page book, which was his first work as a translator.

It is not the first time a UAE author's work has been released in Malayalam. In 2006, Dr Shihab M Ghanem's book of poems Behind 1001 Doors was translated.But few contemporary Arabic literary works are available in Indian languages.

"We want to expose Indians to Arabic works," said MK Lokesh, the Indian ambassador. "Many books have been translated from Indian languages to Arabic in the past. But from the UAE, hardly any books have been translated."

Mr Sivapuram said he hoped he could translate the writings of more Emirati authors.

In India, the publishers will focus on the southern state of Kerala for sales.