VIOLETA BALIÁN is an Argentine author and translator born in Buenos Aires of an Armenian father and a German mother. She studied History, Archaeology/Anthropology as well as Humanities at San Francisco State University (California) and spent many years in the United States.
In 2012 she published her first novel, the sci-fi thriller El expediente Glasser (The Glasser Dossier) in Buenos Aires (Ed. Dunken). Two additional editions of this work were also published in the United States (2014 and 2015) by Eriginal Books (Miami). In 2014, Eriginal Books published Rumbo a Zoar, a collection of short stories.
As a storyteller and commentator, Violeta Balián contributes regularly to the following literary reviews: miNatura, Periódico Irreverentes both in Spain. Ficciones Argentinas published some of her stories in English and French. And in 2013, she was part of the University of Poitiers Tradabordo Project which published the anthology LECTURES D´ARGENTINE, Nouvelles et microrécits, Auteurs Argentins du XXI Siécle.
From Spanish into English, she translated two bestseller novels by the Peruvian-Venezuelan author, Blanca Miosi: Waldek (La Búsqueda) and The Manuscript I, The Secret. Recently, Balián translated into Spanish ‘A Telegram for Phatima,’ a short story by the renowned Armenian author Diana Hambardzumyan which was published in Buenos Aires by Diario Armenia.
At present, Violeta Balián is preparing De Encajes y Sombras (Lace and Shadows), a novel about an Armenian family who emigrates to Argentina.
Ms. Balián resides in Córdoba, Argentina.



Asleep on the great Buddha´s knees
a wandering cat
Kobayashi Issa (1763—1828)

In town, all the buzz was about my master, Osaki, the famous illustrator of geisha and cats by the window. Sadly, his career was cut short by the incipient blindness that reduced him to paint only cats, and just because he knew their shape by heart.
‘The geisha belong to the past,’ explained the great Osaki. Nevertheless, friends and colleagues were appalled at the master´s deteriorating ondition. They openly blamed Kuro, his deranged and capricious concubine. There were rumors that the concubine, behind closed doors and mirror in hand, pestered him relentlessly:
‘Can´t you see, I´m still beautiful, yet you no longer paint me, Osaki, and you don´t love me.’
In retrospect, and in my humble opinion, it was the master´s indifference that made Kuro place her bitterness onto what she detested the most: the subscriber. As it turned out, my situation in that house changed, overnight. The maid chased me away with her broom while bowls, leftovers as well as the few sardines, disappeared. And doors and windows were kept shut to prevent me from entering the house.
I was forced to hunt.
One day, as I was wandering about in the garden, Kuro herself entrapped me and choked me to death. Wrapping my small body in a tatami, she made a bundle of sorts and tied it up a tree, next to the street. Bewildered, the neighbors noticed a cat´s four legs and a pair of ears sticking out from the sack. The children, amused, threw rocks at it. I didn´t suffer, no. Embraced by Buddha, the Merciful, all I could hear was my master´s voice calling me to his side.
‘That wretched woman, how did she justify my absence? That I was a stray cat? And not worthy of being looked after?’ I wondered.
But, in His Infinite Kindness, the Lord Buddha showed great compassion for my master and before sending me back to this plane, He graced me further with two bodily natures to be used at will: a corporeal and, an incorporeal. So, I rushed to see my master and found him in his studio, weakened and disturbed.
‘Get to work, Osaki! We need the money!’ Kuro shouted through the house.
Days went by and the bundle still hung from the tree.
‘Ugh! How disgusting!’ complained the maid as she watched a swarm of flies preying on it.
With the patience that distinguishes me, I waited for the opportune moment. As soon as Kuro and the maid brought my dead body down, I manifested myself in the flesh Horrified, Kuro ran away, and I went after her. Alas! She tripped, lost her clogs and most unluckily, in the fog, she took a wrong turn into a dark passage that led her straight into the foul waters of the Shimbashi canal. Days later, her body washed ashore.
As winter showed up sooner than expected, I installed myself in the master´s studio.
One night, sitting by the burning brazier, Osaki said:
‘Neko , don´t go away. We´ll take that long trip together, you and I.’
«To good weather a happy face», humans like to say. I jumped on his lap and cuddled up. The master, by now relaxed and at peace, fell asleep at the soft sounding of my purr.

Violeta Balián ©2017
Translated from the Spanish by Violeta Balián (Ars Lingua)

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