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."

Monday, December 04, 2006

Vasant Sarwate वसंत सरवटे

(There are dozens of posts on the art of Vasant Sarwate on this blog. Find them here.)

Vasant Sarwate वसंत सरवटे remains one of the most under-rated cartoonists in India. Maybe because he has primarily contributed to Marathi publications.
His art has been moving me for more than three decades now.

I have selected two pictures here to represent him. More may follow.


First picture (1968) pokes fun at middle class ethos of Maharashtra, India as effectively as other literary masters of 20th century like the late Shri Kru Kolhatkar, Chi Vi Joshi and Pu La Deshpande did. And in far fewer words.

Man has just sipped his tea which perhaps is hotter than usual and it has given him a sore tongue. He admonishes his wife (not in the picture) why she poured such a hot cup. Picture becomes so poignant because the broadsheet he is reading has these news-items: "A quake in Iran kills 5,000 and injures thousands", "floods in Gujarat killing hundreds", "Boat capsizes" etc! Even reading of these catastrophes has not made a dent on our Marathi speaking Homer Simpson's sensitivity. He remains just like HIM.


Second picture is from 1974 (33 years ago!) and brings out visionary qualities of good art.

Architects and urban planners like Charles Correa had opposed expansion of Mumbai into Arabian sea. They saw what would become of Mumbai. But no one 'saw' it better than Sarwate.

Picture shows few in the crowd spotting Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor flying over them in a helicopter and are shouting his name.

Picture captures beautifully what was eternal in Mumbai- her glamour manifested mainly through film industry and what was changing- her physical landscape, getting perhaps uglier.