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.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

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."

Friday, August 03, 2007

Nora, whatever you do, don't slam the door as you leave!

We all know Kipling’s famous words: "OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet". Indeed ways of the twain are so very different even in some minor matters.

Case in point is a mundane act of door closing. Slamming the door is ingrained in western culture.

One of the greatest plays produced in West is Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House” (1879). It made a lasting impression on me when I read it in school. I have often wondered what if my mother (in the past) and wife (in the present)were to behave like Nora Helmer. The thought has scared me.

In play’s climax, Nora walks out on her husband and kids slamming the door behind her creating a sound, once described by critics as the sound that ''reverberated across the roof of the world''.

“A Doll’s House” cannot be perhaps as effective in the East partly because we don’t have that “slamming the door” culture. We Indians are often told to close the door softly. It is probably because until recently we did not have many doors with a latch!

When I interacted with Americans and Europeans I immediately noticed how they almost always slammed the door. Therefore, I was not surprised to see following picture.

Background maybe grim Iraq but sentiments are familiar.



Artist: Geoff Thompson