मेघदूत: "नीचैर्गच्छत्युपरि च दशा चक्रनेमिक्रमेण"

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.”

Albert Einstein: “I am content in my later years. I have kept my good humor and take neither myself nor the next person seriously.” (To P. Moos, March 30, 1950. Einstein Archives 60-587)

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);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

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."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"One billion people, yes. But how many human beings?”

During last several weeks, I often heard: “A billion people are praying for India’s success at world cup cricket.”
In the past, I may have let it pass. Not so this time. (Thankfully I have still not heard: Two billion eyes are watching cricket).

Neither my wife nor I were praying.

Since our maid- Sunita- who was borne in Pune district and has been living in Pune city since her marriage (much before she turned 18!)- is also part of that billion, I asked her if she prayed for such a cause.

Her response was startling: “Dajee, what is cricket?”

Sunita’s husband – an able bodied male- refuses to work. She has two kids. She has no electricity at home. Her kids attend private school because she thinks subsidized public schools are rotten and are bad influence on her children. With her meager income, Sunita looks after family of five including her old father-in-law. Her dwelling in nearby slum is registered in the name of her father-in-law. If he were to die, Sunita is not sure about her fate because her relations with husband are so soured that she refuses to sleep with him.

If at all Sunita prays, it is for longevity of her father-in-law.

I think we neo-rich and our media are just getting carried away. Let us remember that in this land there are still more Sunita’s than us.

“One billion people, yes. But how many human beings?”
Artist : William O'Brian The New Yorker 14 Nov 1964

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