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.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

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."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Could you repeat what you've said since we've been married?

Communication in marraiage is probably one of the most cartooned subject. In Marathi especially. Vasant Sarwate's picture elsewhere on this blog is a classic example.

Following article is the top ten lister for NYT in calendar 2006.

After reading them I realized I neither asked nor was asked any of these questions. And I tell you living thousands of miles away from New York, most of them are relevant. Marriage indeed travels well!

December 17, 2006
Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying

Relationship experts report that too many couples fail to ask each other critical questions before marrying. Here are a few key ones that couples should consider asking:

1) Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?
2) Do we have a clear idea of each other’s financial obligations and goals, and do our ideas about spending and saving mesh?
3) Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?
4) Have we fully disclosed our health histories, both physical and mental?
5) Is my partner affectionate to the degree that I expect?
6) Can we comfortably and openly discuss our sexual needs, preferences and fears?
7) Will there be a television in the bedroom?
8) Do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one another’s ideas and complaints?
9) Have we reached a clear understanding of each other’s spiritual beliefs and needs, and have we discussed when and how our children will be exposed to religious/moral education?
10) Do we like and respect each other’s friends?
11) Do we value and respect each other’s parents, and is either of us concerned about whether the parents will interfere with the relationship?
12) What does my family do that annoys you?
13) Are there some things that you and I are NOT prepared to give up in the marriage?
14) If one of us were to be offered a career opportunity in a location far from the other’s family, are we prepared to move?
15) Does each of us feel fully confident in the other’s commitment to the marriage and believe that the bond can survive whatever challenges we may face?


Artist : Robert Mankoff Published : The New Yorker February 21, 2000

p.s. I may not have to repeat what happened since May 22 1987 but some times for my wife and/or I have to for last one day/week/month/quarter!

Don't take it this far


Published in The New Yorker December 4, 2006 Artist: Jason Patterson

Hands-on training can get out of hand..... Designs can get extreme.

Looking for meaning of life?


Until recently we all turned to scriptures, Gurus , religion, literature, music, art etc to find meaning of life.

No more?

Happiness. Your proposed week-end sea surfing may have to begin on the road. On your car-top!


Tons of literature is generated on this subject in the West every year.

That makes Adam Phillips ask: "A culture that is obsessed with happiness must really be in despair, mustn't it? Otherwise why would anybody be bothered about it at all? It's become a preoccupation because there's so much unhappiness. The idea that if you just reiterate the word enough and we'll all cheer up is preposterous."

Most troubling aspect is - nations are getting wealthier not happier.

Here is another take by a practitioner of that dismal science- economics : Paul Krugman.

MONEY CAN'T BUY HAPPINESS. ER, CAN'T IT?

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- A few weeks ago my wife and I finally gave in to the pressures of modern life and acquired a cell phone. But it turned out that once we had the thing we had a few questions -- questions we couldn't get answered, because customer service was swamped with similar calls from the thousands of other people who had recently signed on.

Meanwhile, my parents started calling contractors about some minor work on their house -- only to be told that every carpenter and plumber in the area was booked well into next year.

Talk to almost any middle-class American, and you will hear similar stories -- about poor service, excessive traffic, overpriced housing and so on. In fact, there seems to be a sort of rising chorus of complaints about the annoyances of prosperity -- complaints, in effect, that spending lots of money isn't as gratifying as people expected it to be. Most of this is petty stuff, but it is just possible that the chorus of complaints marks the beginning of a broader shift in attitudes -- a shift that will be healthy if it doesn't come too quickly.

Of course, people don't complain about the disappointments of prosperity unless they are prosperous, and in a way all this whining is a symptom of a remarkably successful era in American economic history. Still, you don't have to be an ascetic to wonder if there isn't something a bit manic about the pace of getting and -- especially -- spending in fin-de-siècle America.

Even the dry statistics suggest that something a little strange is going on. Consider: we are now eight years into an economic expansion. Consumer spending traditionally lags behind the economy as a whole in boom times, because families figure that times will not always be that good and that they should save for a rainy day.

This time, however, consumers are leading the charge: while the economy expanded an impressive 4 percent between the first quarter of 1998 and the first quarter of 1999, consumption grew 5.5 percent, and spending on consumer durables -- cell phones, bathroom fixtures, S.U.V.'s and home entertainment systems -- surged an incredible 12 percent.

There are at least two reasons to question whether America's consumption boom is really a good thing.

One is that by conventional standards, the typical American family is being a bit, well, imprudent in spending so much -- indeed, personal savings, never high in this country, have now disappeared almost completely. True, millions of families have seen their wealth surge because of a soaring stock market, but while more people than ever own stock, most still have no significant personal stake in the market.

You might argue that ordinary families are spending freely, despite sluggish wage growth, because they believe that prosperity is here to stay. But survey evidence suggests that many workers remain nervous about job security, a nervousness that manifests itself in a surprising reluctance to demand wage increases.

So why is spending so high? Much of the surge is driven by those families that do own a lot of stock and have been willing to treat recent capital gains not only as durable but as likely to continue. And at least some of the rest is the result of what Robert Frank calls luxury fever: families with annual incomes of $30,000 try to emulate the consumption of those with $60,000, who try to emulate those with $120,000, and so on. Ultimately we are all trying to keep up with the Gateses, and some of us really can't afford it.

And this leads to a deeper concern: there is good reason to think that even those consumers who can afford all this spending will eventually find that they can't get no satisfaction. It is hard to talk about this without sounding either moralistic or supercilious, but it turns out that the folk wisdom is backed by hard statistical evidence: you really can't buy happiness, certainly not for society as a whole.

Partly this is because of congestion effects like the ones my family is experiencing: when few people have cars, the one-car family is king, but when everyone has two, a lot of time is spent in traffic jams.

A more important point, probably, is that human beings are hard-wired to judge themselves not by their absolute standard of living, but in comparison to others. It may be true that in material terms today's borderline poor live as well as the upper-middle class did a few decades back, but that does not stop them from feeling poor. And consumer spending ultimately disappoints because of habituation: once you have become accustomed to a given standard of living, the thrill is gone.

But there is one very powerful argument that can be made on behalf of recent American consumerism: not that it is good for consumers, but that it has been good for producers. You see, spending may not produce happiness, but it does create jobs, and unemployment is very effective at creating misery.

Better to have manic consumers, American style, than the depressive consumers of Japan -- a country where the only consumer durables that have sold well the last few years are home safes, the better to hoard cash in.

This attempt to keep up with people richer than ourselves, however ineffectual it may have been on its own terms, has allowed the United States economy to sail through a global financial storm unscathed, and arguably made the difference between a global wobble and a repeat of the 1930's.

There is a strong element of rat race in America's consumer-led boom, but those rats racing in their cages are what have kept the wheels of commerce turning. And while it will be a shame if Americans continue to compete over who can own the most toys, the worst thing of all will be if the competition comes to a sudden stop.

Now there are faint hints in popular culture -- though certainly not yet in the spending numbers -- that Americans are starting to become disillusioned with high consumption, that in years to come the American consumer will become wiser and more prudent. Let's hope it really happens -- but not too fast.

Equal Opportunity Employer


Published in The New Yorker May 22, 2006 Artist: Charles Barsotti

This is how "corporate- speak" works. Those who have faced it know that it is ominously Orwellian.

Letter to "The Economist":

SIR – The biggest problem in trying to retain talent is that employees tend to be rewarded not for innovation but for how well they play the company game. Companies that are forever reorganising, employ managers who prefer teams based on a “personality cult” and have review systems that are easily manipulated by the reporting manager, tend to reward those who can figure out internal politics more than problem solving, innovation or team building. Indeed, the innovative talent a company thinks it has built up is different to the talent of people to merely advance and survive.
William McNamara
Snohomish, Washington