मेघदूत: "नीचैर्गच्छत्युपरि च दशा चक्रनेमिक्रमेण"

समर्थ शिष्या अक्का : "स्वामीच्या कृपाप्रसादे हे सर्व नश्वर आहे असे समजले. पण या नश्वरात तमाशा बहुत आहे."

G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

Friedrich Nietzsche: “Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.”

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

सदानंद रेगे:
"... पण तुकारामाची गाथा ज्या धुंदीनं आजपर्यंत वाचली जात होती ती धुंदी माझ्याकडे नाहीय. ती मला येऊच शकत नाही याचं कारण स्वभावतःच मी नास्तिक आहे."
".. त्यामुळं आपण त्या दारिद्र्याच्या अनुभवापलीकडे जाऊच शकत नाही. तुम्ही जर अलीकडची सगळी पुस्तके पाहिलीत...तर त्यांच्यामध्ये त्याच्याखेरीज दुसरं काही नाहीच आहे. म्हणजे माणसांच्या नात्यानात्यांतील जी सूक्ष्मता आहे ती क्वचित चितारलेली तुम्हाला दिसेल. कारण हा जो अनुभव आहे... आपले जे अनुभव आहेत ते ढोबळ प्रकारचे आहेत....."

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Friday, February 21, 2020

Sex is Magical But Terrible

Sex is Magical But Terrible

“The magic’s still there, but the sex is terrible.” 

Artist: Zachary Kanin, The New Yorker, January 2016

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Haydon's Masterpiece OR A Popular Child Dwarf?....133 To 12,000

Simon Rich, The New York Times, July 26 2018:
"...“Barnum in London,” a devastating work of nonfiction by Raymund Fitzimmons. It’s about two rival exhibits that opened in Piccadilly in 1846. The first was self-funded by an English artist named Benjamin Robert Haydon, who wanted to display his masterpiece, “The Banishment of Aristides,” a giant oil painting he’d been working on for years. The other exhibit was produced by P.T. Barnum and featured Tom Thumb, a popular child dwarf, who wore fun outfits and just kind of walked around the room. Haydon’s exhibit had 133 visitors, Barnum’s had 12,000, and two months later, Haydon killed himself. My heart broke for Haydon, especially since I know, with zero doubt, that if given the choice, I’d have gone to see Tom Thumb...."

Artist: Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786-1846)

P. T. Barnum (1810-1891) training Tom Thumb (1838-1883)

courtesy: Blog "Victorian History"

Sunday, February 16, 2020

विलायती कुनि मुके घेतले !...Patform and Parting

बा सी मर्ढेकर:
कुनि मायेचे निरोप दिधले;
बिडि-माचिस् कुनि इकीत फिरले;
विलायती कुनि मुके घेतले !
(पृष्ठ ४८, क्रमांक ३१, मर्ढेकरांची कविता, १९५९-१९७७)

कलाकार : अनामिक , १९०५

कलाकार : मला माहित नाही , कालखंड: १९४०चे दशक

Friday, February 14, 2020

Wednesday, February 12, 2020



Today February 12 2020 is 100th birth anniversary of Pran.

Rishi Kapoor & Meena Iyer, 'Khullam Khulla: Rishi Kapoor Uncensored':
"...Pran sa’ab is another veteran actor I have a deep and abiding respect for. In 1997, Dabboo and I approached him to play the role of the grandfather in Aa Ab Laut Chalen, a home production that I directed. I practically pleaded with, telling him that I wanted to begin my career as a director with him in my film, just as I had started my acting career working with him in Bobby. He would be required to film for only six or seven days in Delhi and the weather would be lovely too. I reminded him of his long association with the RK banner and urged him to agree to the role. But he steadfastly refused. He said that if anything happened to him during the filming, he would not be able to face Raj Kapoor. I didn’t understand. Then he explained that his health was failing and if he succumbed to his illnesses midway through the shoot, the continuity would suffer and I would be left stranded. He said, ‘I don’t want to do any more films because I don’t want them to suffer because of me. I am getting on in years. Anything can happen to me anytime.’ Dabboo and I were bowled over by his integrity. Alok Nath played that role eventually..."

प्राण यांचा मला पहिल्यांदा प्रचंड  'राग' आला ब्रह्मचारी (१९६८) बघताना  आणि नंतर 'राग' येतच राहिला जंजीर (१९७३) बघेपर्यंत (अपवाद 'नन्हा फरिश्ता', १९६९... 'उपकार', १९६७ वगैरे नंतरच्या वर्षांत पहिले) ....

हिंदी सिनेमात मला चरित्र अभिनेते नायकांपेक्षा जास्त आवडत आलेत त्याचे एक प्रमुख कारण म्हणजे प्राण यांच्या सारखे कलाकार...

With Helen in  Gumnaam, 1965
courtesy: Ultra

Monday, February 10, 2020

दुर्गाबाईंना तिरस्कार असलेली आर्यत्वाची मोहिनी...Durga Bhagwat@110

Today February 10 2020 is 110th birth anniversary of Durga Bhagwat (दुर्गा भागवत)  

BBC, January 27 2020: “Auschwitz 75 years on: Holocaust Day prompts new anti-Semitism warnings”

Tom Sykes, The Daily Beast, July 21 2015: "...there was widespread sympathy for Nazis and Nazism in the early and mid 1930s in the very heart of the British establishment...While many were disgusted by Hitler’s naked anti-Semtism and his abolishment of democracy, right up until the outbreak of war in 1939, upper class British girls were still doing ‘the season’ in Germany, attending balls, learning about art and hunting for husbands...Germany seemed to be thriving under the man who had abolished democracy and declared himself dictator in 1933. And although few could claim to have been unaware of the official German policy of anti-Semitism after the 1936 Olympics in which Jewish athletes were banned from the German team, many were prepared to turn a blind eye in the face of the country’s extraordinary economic and psychic revival from the crushed and humiliated shell of a nation state it had been for all of the 1920s. By 1938, unemployment was virtually nil—it had been 30% when Hitler took power.  Many of the British upper classes—not, it must be said, universally famed for their racial tolerance at the best of times—were impressed..."

David Crossland, Spiegel Online, April 11 2012: "...Germany has won praise for collectively confronting its Nazi past, but the subject has remained a taboo in millions of family homes -- with children and grandchildren declining to press their elders on what they did in the war.

At least 20 to 25 million Germans knew about the Holocaust while it was happening, according to conservative estimates, and some 10 million fought on the Eastern Front in a war of annihilation that targeted civilians from the start. That, says German historian Moritz Pfeiffer, makes the genocide and the crimes against humanity a part of family history..."

My father (1936-2019)  lived in Aundh, Satara (औंध, सातारा) until just after India's independence where his father was a political secretary to the ruler of Aundh state. His mother's family lived in Pune and he and his siblings used to travel to Pune for vacation.Some time during WWII years, my father once told us, his maternal uncle showed the kids a large image of Adolph Hitler that was adoring his room...

The late Ms. Durga Bhagwat never minced words.

The following is a small para from her essay on the late Dr. Irawati Karve (इरावती कर्वे), from her Marathi  book "Aathavale Tase", 1991/2014 (आठवले तसे).

सौजन्य: दुर्गाबाई भागवत यांच्या साहित्याचे कॉपीराईट होल्डर्स 

Before I read Durgabai's book,  I had written this on December 15 2014:

"...Every time I read words like 'disintegrating Weimar republic', I think about the late Ms. (Irawati) Karve who was in Germany from 1928-1930 or so.

I am NOT familiar with all the writings in  Marathi of Ms. Karve but I have not read or heard anything she has written on the subject of  'Weimar culture' in general or specifically on 'disintegrating Weimar republic'.
Ms. Karve is still famous for her Sahitya Akademi award winning book 'Yugant' (युगांत),  1967/68: a commentary on Mahabharata.  I like the book and have read it several times. However, a few others too have written in Marathi on Mahabharata, most notably Durga Bhagwat (दुर्गा भागवत), and I am sure more will do so.

But no Marathi writer of any substance has written on the last days of Weimar republic and the rise of Nazism because no one had the kind of  opportunity to experience it first hand like Ms. Karve..."

Now read what Durgabai says on the pride felt by some people, further in the same essay that has been quoted above ( page 213):

"...पण जेव्हा हा अभिमान परछळाचा पाया होतो, अभिमानाचे रुप अहंगंड घेतो, अस्मितेला असहिष्णुतेचे स्वरूप येते, तेव्हा मात्र हा अभिमान रास्त राहत नाहि. या अभिमानापोटी काही मंडळी इंग्लंडात न जाता जर्मनीला गेली. त्यावेळी हिटलरने आर्यस्तोम माजवले होते...पण आर्यत्वाची मोहिनी असणारे कित्येक जण जर्मनीत गेले. तिथल्या पदव्या त्यांनी घेतल्या. इरावतीबाई (व त्यांचे पतिराज) त्यांपैकीच होते. वास्तविक इरावतीबाईंनी एम. ए. चाच प्रबंध जर्मनीत थोडा बदल करून पीएच. डी. ला दिला… "

Is it really the reason Dr. I. Karve went to Germany for higher education and did not write intensely on the happenings in Germany, immediately on her return? Deeply troubling questions for me.

courtesy: The Sun

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Coronavirus, Plague, C V Joshi...कोरोनाविषाणू, प्लेग, चिं. वि. जोशी

कोरोनाविषाणू च्या साथी मुळे माझी  सप्टेंबर १६ २००९ ची पोस्ट पुन्हा, थोडे बदल करून ... या वर्षी महाशिवरात्री फेब्रुवारी २१ ला येत आहे... आशा करूया कोरोनाविषाणू त्यानंतर वितळून जाईल...
"...the Black Death felled at least 30 percent of those it inflicted, whereas a modern plague in India that struck Bombay in 1904, before the advent of antibiotics, killed only 3 percent of its victims..."

(The NYT, August 29 2011)

I recently read 'Rahat-gaadagan' by C V Joshi (1892-1963) ('रहाट-गाडगं', चिं. वि. जोशी).
It's a novel written wryly, perhaps inspired by Laxmibai Tilak's 'Smriti Chitre' (लक्ष्मीबाई टिळक, स्मृतिचित्रे).

R K Narayan almost certainly never read or met C V Joshi.

Or did he? I find a lot of similarity between their humour.

Narayan's first novel, Swami and Friends, was published in 1935. By then, C V Joshi's main character- Chimanrao- was well established in Marathi.

Although, 'Rahat-gaadagan' was first published in 1955, it describes the first decade of 20th century.

It is a story of Bheema Shaligram nee Ainapure (borne c1889, married c1899, motherhood c1902, widowed and head shaved c1904, death ?), a Brahmin woman, who now is running her own mess (dining hall). The story is in her own words.

I really enjoyed the book. It easily is one of the best Marathi books I have read.

It also is a social history of the period- Narmada-river with crocodiles, Gujarat, Mumbai, Pune, trains, trams, the misery of Indian women, Marathi musical theatre...and dreaded plague.

Unlike R K Narayan, C V Joshi shuns sex completely.

An example: Bheema's husband performs roles of female characters in a theatre company. A lot of people, including his close family, make fun of him for that. Bheema herself doesn't like it. She might be even suspicious of his virility, particularly because her family was cheated into this marriage.

And yet Joshi completely omits any reference to consummation of their marriage and makes Bheema pregnant in due course!

The swine-flu epidemic that has visited Pune in the summer of 2009 makes the book even more interesting and eerie.

Below I have given three small passages from the book and their translations.

"Like each year plague epidemic had started in Pune. I had completed five years of my stay in Pune and every year plague began after Diwali and continued until Maha Shivratri. First you heard of a rat dying, and then you came to know -in either Bhavani Peth or Magalwar- some woman or man dying of plague..."

"..an acquaintance contracting plague and then the news of his/her death next day arrived. 'Daily-count' would start with four-five infected and three-four died to gallop to two hundred infected and one seventy-five died. There used to be instances when the entire family would contract plague and, since no one survived it, their valuables would be looted by the neighbours.
Almost all the educated people used to go and stay in the huts built on the grounds of Chaturshringi; but we, from old Tapkeer Galli and Phadke's Bol, were not quitters. Our priest Tamanna Charya used to laugh at the people who got scared of plague and ran into the jungle. He would say: Pune's deity, Kasba's Ganpati, was protector of Kasba, old Tapkeer Galli and Phadke Bol and hence his carriage- rat- would never cause any harm to its owner's favourite children

"My father-in-law's friend Marutirao came to our house without wearing a headgear. My husband was lying in bed and my brother-in-law was sitting nearby doing accounts of the school and private tuitions. Without taking a seat, Marutirao said: "Vasu-Bandu today I am in deep trouble. My brother-in-law came from Koregaon yesterday carrying plague infection and has just died. It requires minimum of eight people to carry him (to cremation ground); but who will volunteer to carry the one who has died of plague! If you both come, it will be a great help to us."

Just substitute the word 'plague' with 'H1N1'...So much has changed in Pune in last hundred years and yet so much is the same!

Will more vicious H1N1 become annual fixture on Pune winter calendar i.e. from Diwali until Maha Shivratri?

Bheema-aajee Shaligram nee Bheema Ainapure (भीमा-आजी शाळिग्राम, भीमा ऐनापुरे) busy with her job much later in her life (c 1950's).

Artist: S G Joshi सीताराम गंगाधर जोशी

(Vasant Sarwate has done a moving appreciation of unsung S G Joshi's art in his book "Parakee Chalan", 1989. The picture above is from the same essay.)

Friday, February 07, 2020

It's Too Bad Syd Mead Won't Live...But Then Again Who Does?

#SydMead (1933-2019)
Gaff, 'Blade Runner', 1982:
"It's too bad she won't live, but then again who does?"

"... A "visual futurist", Mead is perhaps best known for creating concept art for films such as 'Tron' (1982), 'Blade Runner' (1982) and 'Aliens' (1986). Mead's vision not only played a pivotal role in shaping cinema, but it also changed our culture – helping us to envision certain futures and highlighting the pitfalls and possibilities that lay ahead..." 

Concept art from 'Blade Runner © 1982 The Blade Runner Partnership. All rights reserved.