There are some 188 individual items for the reader to dip into, ranging from rhyming micro-verses, songs and nursery-ditties to a few longer pieces in prose. No doubt the several translators have performed a heroic task, but the results are disappointing: "When I drank rice gruel with great relish/ What landed in my stomach was a chicken dish..." (from Malayalam); "When I the Mu filled up my mother who had but dry, milkless breasts, in the semen bag of he called father..." (from Tamil) and so on. I can’t be a judge of accuracy but the extreme lack of euphony in English made me wince. Imagine translating "Eenie-meenie-minie-mo/Catch a nigger by his toe" into Marathi or Hindi, what would the results be? Horrid or inaccurate, very likely!
The few texts that are presented in transliteration alongside their translations spring to life. For example, Goat’s Tail, originally in Telugu, is rendered as: "Mekatokaku meka toka mekaku toka" I don’t understand a single syllable of that language and yet just the sound of the little verse is more attractive to my mind’s ear than "rice gruel", that dismal post-colonial dish.