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."

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

How to solve any problem…American way?

Elite (or is it just nouveau rich?) Indians looked towards UK for approval until about 1970’s and since then US has replaced UK.

Many (if not most) children of our top civil servants, judges, industry captains, media moguls, established artists, military top brass, doctors, lawyers, thought-leaders and builders are now settled in US or plan to do so.

No wonder US rules over minds of India’s effective policy makers or indirect rulers.

Indian society’s acceptance of personal wealth as the only criterion of success is a further proof of how American way has prevailed.

And what else is the American way?

While I was working at a major IT transnational company, on seeing a presentation foil titled “Operating System Wars”, my South Korean colleague exclaimed that war was the only way Americans knew how to conceptualise or solve a problem!

No surprises therefore to read a survey in Newsweek June 4, 2007 that says world trusts China (46%) to act more responsibly than US (43%).

Global warming? Bomb the damn thing with water! (Haven't seen funnier and sadder picture than this for a long time)

Artist: R K Laxman Times of India June 8 2007