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."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Great Sportsperson is all about Courage and Courage is Not a Perfume!

Two chess champions were in the news last week.

Viswanathan Anand became world chess champion on September 29, 2007 and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov-only human never conquered by Anand- decided to run for Russian president on October 1, 2007.

Kasparov’s book “HOW LIFE IMITATES CHESS” was published this year.

The Times Literary Supplement wrote: “…Kasparov is not only the greatest chess player the world has ever seen, he is also the leader of the opposition and the last hope of democracy in Russia. He has been brave enough to defy the man he refers to contemptuously as “a mere lieutenant-colonel in the KGB” with nothing more than his wits to live by. So the game Kasparov is now playing with President Putin is for his life…

He explains that his decision to retire from professional chess in 2005 – still the highest-rated player after two decades – was “largely based on what I saw as the need to join the resistance to the catastrophic expansion of authoritarian state power in my home country”…

Yet this coded manifesto of a book is only the latest sign that his courage at the chessboard has not deserted him in the political arena.”

I gave up playing cricket very early in life because I kept taking my eyes off fast, moving, red, hardball. Therefore, I admire those cricketers most who show fearless attitude on and some times off the sporting arena.

Few Indian names from the hall of courage:

Mohinder Jimmy Amarnath (easily most courageous of them all), Sunil Gavaskar, Anshuman Gaikwad, and Rahul Dravid. They wouldn’t flinch from playing a fastball with their body if they thought otherwise they would nick it with their bat.

Vivian Richards on courage:
“'My first captain (Brian Close) was an inspiration to me. I knew all about him from the 1963 series. How he kept walking down the pitch to Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith in the Lord's Test. Several times Wes had to stop in his run-up to check out what was happening.

'I think I was pretty tough as a youngster. But Closey was tougher still. He reinforced the message that you yield to no one. …..I learnt so much from him - not necessarily about technique but about attitude.

'Man, he was brave. I remember playing against Gloucestershire and Closey was fielding at silly point. Mike Procter leant back and cracked a square cut. The ball hit Closey on the head and ballooned towards Dennis Breakwell. But Dennis watched the man rather than the ball and joined the rush to see if the captain was OK. When he came to Close's first words were "Did we get him?" He was none too pleased to hear that Dennis had failed to complete the catch.

'I was fielding at short leg when Close was playing for England in 1976 at the age of 46…..'Anyway, at Old Trafford, Close got hit in the chest by Wayne Daniel and sank to the floor. OK, I was playing for my country, but this was my skipper on the ground and in pain. So I went up to him. "Are you OK, skipper?" Closey eventually gathered himself together and bellowed "Fuck off." What a man.”



Artist: Helen E. Hokinson The New Yorker May 30, 1942

Morning’s at Seven, K L Saigal is on the Air and All's Right with the World! Vividh Bharati at Fifty

They say all good things come to an end.

But few of them don’t. Vividh Bharati, for example. It completes 50 years today October 3, 2007.

During my school days at Miraj, 1965-75, Radio Ceylon (I haven’t forgot even a jingle “hey, hey Binaca Green, Binaca Green hey hey..”) occupied haloed place in our lives because we couldn’t quite tune to short-wave Vividh Bharati every day. Signal wasn’t reliable. Except on Sunday afternoons, when a guest star hosted the program Vishesh Jaymala, waves complied.

Radio Australia and BBC were more reliable. (btw- There hasn’t been anything more thrilling, yes including T20 WC, on either TV/radio, than 1975-76 Australia-West Indies test cricket series, heard on RA. India-West Indies 1974-75 was better in cricketing terms but was not as well commentated on and photographed-courtesy Patrick Eagar).

Although Vividh Bharati gives me Browningian reassurance of ‘All's right with the world!’ with K L Saigal number in the morning, the program I best like is Chhayageet at 10 PM.

It calms my nerves and creates hope for the next day. I have this habit of recording favourite but unpossessed song on a tape but when I am listening to Chhayageet, I don’t do it. I just let that moment of bliss prevail. Greed can wait.

10 PM in Pune is a time when noise outside is low, hot summer day is giving in to persistent cool breeze, birds & dogs are quiet, rain is not lashing very hard, cold winter night is still away, all of us have shut up and Vividh Bharati is on a song. Trance is never too far.


Artist: Robert J. Day The New Yorker September 20, 1947