मेघदूत: "नीचैर्गच्छत्युपरि च दशा चक्रनेमिक्रमेण"

समर्थ शिष्या अक्का : "स्वामीच्या कृपाप्रसादे हे सर्व नश्वर आहे असे समजले. पण या नश्वरात तमाशा बहुत आहे."

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.”

Friedrich Nietzsche: “Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.”

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);...”

सदानंद रेगे:
"... पण तुकारामाची गाथा ज्या धुंदीनं आजपर्यंत वाचली जात होती ती धुंदी माझ्याकडे नाहीय. ती मला येऊच शकत नाही याचं कारण स्वभावतःच मी नास्तिक आहे."
".. त्यामुळं आपण त्या दारिद्र्याच्या अनुभवापलीकडे जाऊच शकत नाही. तुम्ही जर अलीकडची सगळी पुस्तके पाहिलीत...तर त्यांच्यामध्ये त्याच्याखेरीज दुसरं काही नाहीच आहे. म्हणजे माणसांच्या नात्यानात्यांतील जी सूक्ष्मता आहे ती क्वचित चितारलेली तुम्हाला दिसेल. कारण हा जो अनुभव आहे... आपले जे अनुभव आहेत ते ढोबळ प्रकारचे आहेत....."

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."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Why Aren’t There UFO’s Over Urban India?

I was shocked and saddened to read in Times of India September 9, 2007: “Today's hot fad: Rewind to your previous lives

“Scared of flying? Maybe you died in an aircrash 300 years ago. Can’t perform in bed? You might have suffered abuse in a previous birth. In a country where the concept of reincarnation is as old as life itself, it isn’t surprising that past life regression therapy (PLRT) has become the hottest treatment for upwardly mobile Indians demanding answers to all their life’s problems…”

On reading Carl Sagan’s “The Demon-Haunted World”, brilliant egotist Richard Dawkins exclaimed:”I wish I had written the book”.

Yes, I wish Dawkins wrote his books more like Sagan.

I acquired the book in 2003, six years after its publication. I have since then read it almost every week. No one writes better prose in English than Sagan. He is George Orwell of science writing.

Sagan says: “The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudo-science and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance. “

But he is not just skeptical.

“Both skepticism and wonder are skills that need honing and practice. Their harmonious marriage within the mind of every schoolchild ought to be a principal goal of public education."

This book should be a text in our schools from grade five onwards. Newspapers should serialize the book and once finished, they should start all over again!

I wonder why those millions of upwardly mobile Indians who are taken in by pseudo-science (rebirth, astrology, godmen etc. etc.) and superstition don’t sight UFO’s. If world’s ‘greatest democracy’ has hundreds of UFO sightings every year, why shouldn’t world’s ‘largest democracy’ have matching numbers?

Is it because of dense air pollution in urban India?

Artist: James Thurber The New Yorker 11 Sept 1948

Girls, Now Who Is Going To Read Me Sherlock Holmes Tonight?

Durga Bhagwat दुर्गा भागवत ‘pardoned’ Indira Gandhi- against whose tyranny she fought tooth and nail- because lndira composed a passable poem on Henry David Thoreau! (source- Pratibha Ranade's excellent biography of Durga Bhagwat)

Similarly, I tend to pardon the British Empire somewhat because it gave us Sherlock Holmes. So many stories of Holmes have India in them. Portrayed rather lovingly.

I read Sherlock Holmes in Marathi first and fell in love with this eccentric genius. Later in early 1980’s when I saw Jeremy Brett playing Holmes on TV, I started imitating him! My wife says I still do, eccentric part of it!

Two new books on Arthur Conan Doyle are recently released (September 2007).

The Economist says: “…The Sherlock Holmes stories continue to exercise extraordinary power. The writing is never more than efficient but the setting remains perennial: the comfortable, carpeted, fire-lit Baker Street sitting room shared by Holmes and Watson, the paradoxically womblike world of a Victorian bachelor set above an anarchic underworld full of violence and immorality. Doyle's literary masterstroke was dividing the story between Holmes and Watson. It was a device the writer used frequently but never as effectively as here…”

Quite shockingly FT says:”… But please note: Holmes never said “Elementary, my dear Watson”, P.G. Wodehouse did. “

And The Spectator says: “…Why were the Holmes books so popular that the last autocratic Sultan of Turkey, a man with a thousand concubines, used to have them read aloud to him in translation in what spare time was left? …What did they have that a thousand women above the Bosphorus could not supply? I read this book through without getting an answer.”

Now when you see the picture below, don’t read speech balloon given by Carl Rose first but instead read title of this blog-post.

Artist: Carl Rose The New Yorker 4 Dec 1948