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, July 01, 2007

Chandamama, Amar Chitra Katha and My Juvenile Dreams

I was a voracious reader in my childhood. For recreation, I read only Marathi until I was almost 12 or 13. Magazine “Chandoba” (“Chandamama” in Hindi) was one of my favourite. We did not buy it every month because my father did not like it much. Amar Chitra Katha (ACK) was borne in 1967 but I could lay my hands on it much later.

I thought I liked only stories from “Chandoba” but realized later that I also liked accompanying pictures. Pictures of curvaceous women. I also read a lot of Indian mythology that of course has plenty of explicit sex.

Recently ACK completed 40 years of its very successful existence-400 titles, 86 million copies sold. Anant Pai, ACK’s creator, admitted to Times of India (June 29 2007) that imagery of early ACK issues was quite sexy. He said:”…….. our major influences were the sculptures of Ajanta, Ellora…..We may have been a bit over influenced by it….But forget the first 25 titles or so, we have toned it down.”

Pratap Mulick pioneering illustrator of ACK died recently. I hope he never regretted his following picture of Matsyakanya or Vasavadatta or Satyavati or Shakuntala or who ever she is. Even today it makes my knees go wobbly!

Why regret Mr. Pai? I wish to thank you and Mr. Pratap Mulick,particularly for first 25 titles, and to anonymous illustrators of “Chandoba” for giving pleasure to my eyes.

You saved me from dirty porn.


Artist: Pratap Mulick


Artist: Robert Weber The New Yorker 9 Feb 1998

What has your Beer Drinking to do with Groundnut Oil Prices?

I am like a squirrel. Peanuts are my most favourite food. Next only to Payari and Hapus mangoes. I can eat them in any form- raw, roasted, fried, coated, boiled, crushed etc etc. During my school days, I used to relish eating them with a lump of jaggery. Both items would first go in pockets of my half-pants before they went down my throat. Peanuts also are integral to many snacks I relish. Of course, I don’t touch any of them if they have no peanuts or some one like me has picked them before.

My weak liver is the only thing that holds me back from going for a peanut binge from time to time.

I remember one morning in 9th or 10th standard when I had gone to fetch my friend for the school. He was busy with morning chores and I was asked to wait in the drawing room. There I could see what his father and his friend had done previous night. Drinking. There were bottles, glasses- empty, full. But what I found most attractive was a plate full of peanuts. I helped myself with some of them without asking anyone.

When I started drinking or watching people drink, I realized that drinking is just an excuse. Objective of the damn thing is to eat peanuts without feeling any guilt.

All along I knew drunkards ate lots of peanuts but I was not ready for following.

Business Line reports on June 25, 2007: “What's increasing consumption of liquor in the country got to do with rise in prices of groundnut oil? Simple, consumption of peanuts during consumption of liquor is leading to more direct consumption and, thereby, affecting its availability for oil crushing.

Groundnut oil prices topped Rs 70 a kg last week and during the weekend it was quoted at Rs 72 in Mumbai. The oil prices have gained 23 per cent since the beginning of this year, while groundnut kernel, which was quoted at Rs 3,600 a quintal during the weekend, has also increased around the same level.

"The problem with groundnut oil is that mills are not getting kernel for crushing. One of the reasons is rise in direct consumption, including as snacks, especially for liquor consumption," says Mr B.V. Mehta, Executive Director of the Solvent Extractors Association of India.

The current oil year ending October has been witnessing a lower oilseed crop. Groundnut, in particular, is projected lower at 53.5 lakh tonnes against 62.5 lt last oil year.

On the other hand, the country has seen its citizens guzzle 105 million cases of beer during 2006 and 115 million cases of Indian made foreign liquor.
Liquor consumption has increased over 50 per cent since 2001 and annual rise in the offtake is seen between three and four per cent.


The scenario with regard to groundnut is that of the 53.5 lt projected output, 18.5 lt are crushed for yielding 7.4 lt of oil, while 19 lt are retained by the growers for sowing. The remaining 16 lt are assumed to be consumed directly. This season, availability of groundnut for direct consumption is seen lower by 2.5 lakh tonnes.
"Peanuts are preferred to be eaten during consumption of liquor as they are cheaper than cashewnuts. Also, rising income levels are seeing corresponding increase in consumption of almost all products, including liquor," say analysts. “

Hey Indian Homer, Marge has more than one reason to crib for your frequent visits to Moe’s Tavern.


Artist : Charles Barsotti The New Yorker 20 Apr 1998