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.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

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."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What is in the address?...A lot

Pune and a few other parts of Maharashtra, where Marathi is still spoken to conduct daily business, have some weird practices. One of them is address a person you are speaking to as a relation who would normally be very senior to you in age.

For example, a woman younger than me by say five years would address me as “Kaka” (father’s brother/male cousin) or worse “Ajoba” (grand-father)! My current neighbour- who is almost my father’s age- calls me “Kaka”! At Nashik, where my mother moved to in late 1980’s, a vegetable vendor (of age 30-35) would routinely address her as “Aajji” (grand mother) when she was only 50 years old and none of her children was even married! My wife gets very irritated when a woman not much younger calls her “Kaku” (wife of Kaka). It is not just because of implied age difference but also because “Kakubai” in Marathi means slovenly woman.

I think this practice is typical Puneite’s way of snubbing people or just a sloppy habit that needs correction. If indeed you want to make the other person happy, which is likely the case in services dominated world, you should address her such that she feels younger and not older!

In South India (Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh) this is not so. At most places, they address you as “Sir” or “Madam” (or Uncle/Aunty). That causes no irritation and all parties involved can concentrate on business on hand.


The Artist: Peter Arno The New Yorker Jan 30 1960

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