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."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Real Atom Bomb Tastes in the Mouth Like a Chinese Toy!

Paul Tibbets, who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima died this month. BOB GREENE has written his obit. (NYT November 12, 2007).

“…In the sky above Japan that August day, he polled his crew: “Do we all agree that this is Hiroshima?” Afterward, he noted that he could taste the bomb in his mouth. “It tasted like lead.”…”.

Thanks to controversy in USA over Chinese toys, lead has been a lot in the news this year.

NATALIE ANGIER has written beautifully on the subject of lead (NYT August 21, 2007).

“The human body needs a diet enriched with many ingredients from the periodic table that sound less like food than like machine parts or spare change. We must have iron to capture oxygen, copper and chromium to absorb energy, cobalt to sheathe our nerves and zinc to help finger our genes. Other creatures demand the occasional sprinkling of tin, nickel, platinum, tungsten and even strontium.

But when it comes to lead, the 82nd item on Mendeleev’s menu of the elements, the universal minimum daily requirement is zero. As far as we know, neither we nor any known life form needs the slightest amount of lead to survive. And for humans, especially infants and young children, consumption of even moderate amounts of the metal can have serious consequences.

Developing brains seem to be extremely sensitive to the effects of the metal, which is why many scientists who study lead were distraught by the latest news of lead paint’s being used on children’s toys…

Lead was a civilizing metal, there were so many things it could do…”

Was atom bomb too a civilising bomb for Americans?!


Artist : Chappatte August 17, 2007

Headless Chickens and Headless Cockroaches

Finally India’s ambassador to the US tendered an unqualified apology for allegedly calling Indian lawmakers “headless chickens”. (India Today November 12, 2007)

Scientific American reports in November, 2007 issue: “A headless roach may not be the smartest of its kind, but it can certainly survive.”

If Indian politicians are headless chickens, most Indian senior civil servants must surely be headless cockroaches- the teflon coated ultimate survivors.

Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar wrote in his column for Times of India May 27, 2007:

“…most of the government sector is third-class and tarnished…… Actually, government spending is gargantuan: a million crores per year. But it has so much waste and corruption that voters refuse to show gratitude for the little that gets through…

The police no longer catch criminals and the courts no longer convict them. Conviction rates have fallen to 16%… Bureaucrats are typically callous and corrupt

Around 35% of all electricity is stolen, causing power crises…

it takes Rs 3.65 of government spending to get one rupee of Public Distribution System benefit to the poor. What a waste! …

The problem is a decaying government sector that neither Congress nor other parties are willing to reform.”

Members of Indian middle-class are in the habit of blaming all the ills country faces on politicians. Instead they should target senior civil servants.

They don’t because they are their cousins, parents and children.


Artist: R K Laxman Times of India August 23, 2007