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, June 17, 2007

Stature surfeit

Paul Krugman observes Americans are turning shorter (NYT June 15 2007).
He quotes: "height is indicative of how well the human organism thrives in its socio-economic environment."
He says: “Whatever the full explanation for America’s stature deficit, our relative shortness, like our low life expectancy, suggests that something is amiss with our way of life. A critical European might say that America is a land of harried parents and neglected children, of expensive healthcare that misses those who need it most, a society that for all its wealth somehow manages to be nasty, brutish — and short. “

Hoping to get such data on India would be a tall order. But we can talk based on anecdotal evidence.

I think Indians in cities are getting taller and fatter.

These days I come across many school and college going girls who are taller than me (I am 5 ‘ 8”). Not so long ago, height of 5’ 4” in a girl was considered her passport to Miss Something (school, college, town, locality, India, world).

This prosperity has created some strange problems.

Public transport seating was designed for Indians who were much leaner and shorter. Seats meant for two can hardly take one and half. Seats meant for three, now used to seat four (such as Pune’s auto-rickshaws) can cause some serious damage to parts of your anatomy like knees, head, private parts etc.

p.s. Is this the reason American hippo is finding it hard to hear European Giraffe on Iraq, global warming etc?


Artist : Bernie Wiseman The New yorker 17 Jan 1953

Muumuu looks pretty only by candlelight!

A trend seems to have emerged in Pune (and perhaps many other places in India) over last couple of decades: Middle-class women wearing nightgown throughout the day and perhaps night. During my childhood sari was ubiquitous in most parts of India. Until almost 1990’s, I almost never saw a woman outside her home in a nightgown. Women used gowns only during hospitalization.

These days I see nightgowns everywhere any time of the day. In shops, at vegetable markets, during morning walks, at school gates, at school-bus pickup points, at funeral procession etc.

And the clothing is less of a gown and more of a muumuu. (Btw- Glamorous film star of yesteryears Mumtaz was known as Mumu)

I think this shows women are either overworked or have turned plain lazy or no one has told them that they should not be wearing a nightgown outside their homes at least during the day.

A muumuu reminds me of Homer Simpson from episode [3F05] King- Size Homer (Original airdate in N.A.: 5-Nov-95) where he promises his wife Marge that he would not wear the gown outside, promptly breaks the promise and gets humiliated.

I think nightgowns look pretty only by candlelight.


Artist: Barbara Shermund The New Yorker 18 Apr 1936