A small passage from Saroyan’s short story, “The Theological Student”:
“…Well, I’ll give you the answer, to save him the trouble. You are going to ask him what he means by getting in to complications of all sorts every other Friday, and I will answer from him that he doesn’t mean anything at all by it. Some people come in to this world asleep and go out of it asleep and that is very thoughtful of them. A few others-like myself and this boy, my nephew Aram Garoghlanian come in to this world asleep, and then one fair Friday wakeup and look around and notice what we are”
“What are we?” the Old man asked politely.
“Armenians,” my uncle Khosrove said quickly. “Could anything be more ridiculous? The Englishman has an empire to govern. The Frenchman has art to guide and measure. The German has an army yo train and test. The Russian has a revolution to start. The Swiss have hotels to manage, the Mexicans mandolins to play, the Spaniards bulls to fight, the Austrians waltzes to dance, and so on and so forth, but what have WE?” “Loud mouths to shut up?” the old man suggested.
“And the Irish,” my uncle Khosrove went on. “The Irish have a whole island in which to be poverty-stricken; the Arabs a thousand tribes to bring together in the desert; the Jews child prodigies to send on concert tours; the Gypsies wagons and fortune-telling cards; the Americans CHRONIC NERVOUSNESS WHICH THEY CALL FREEDOM, but what have the Armenians?”
“Since you insist, tell me,” said the Old Man. “What have the Armenians?
“Manners,” my uncle Khosrove said.
“Are you mad?” the Old Man said. “NOTHING IS SO UNNATURAL AS A POLITE ARMENIAN.”
“I did not say GOOD manners,” my uncle Khosrove said. “I said manners. The good or bad of it I leave to others. Manners is what we have, and very little of anything else. You are going to ask this boy what he means by getting into complications of all sorts every other Friday. Your asking is manners. Well, go ahead and ask him. I’m going to the Arax Coffee House for a couple of hours of tavli. My going is more manners.”
Okay, I am loving him though its only my second Saroyan story, in a direct reading. SriSri’s free translations in to Telugu caught the right spirit!!