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."

Friday, May 23, 2008

Excesses on Display at Swargate, Pune Herald Mad Max 2

George Miller’s Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) is my favourite film. The film portrays a world running out of oil.

“…The end of the world, it seems, is a sprint to decide who can consume the very last drop of oil. Which is why, despite the bizarre cast of characters and outlandish setting, it's hard to shake the feeling that The Road Warrior could happen, or at least start to happen, any day now…” (Popular Mechanics, March 2008)

If we wish to preserve for future generations what a world awash in oil looked like, we will do no better than documenting a day at Pune’s busy junction- Swargate. For me, every visit to Swargate is surreal where every square inch is occupied by machines devouring hydrocarbons while trying to kill me!

I have watched Swargate almost every month since the beginning of year 1999 and I can easily say it never looked and felt so bad and hopeless. It’s Mad Max 2 in reverse. Swargate has become an example of what we should not allow our cities to become.

Martin Wolf tells us “The market sets high oil prices to tell us what to do” (FT, May 13 2008):

“…Here are three facts about oil: it is a finite resource; it drives the global transport system; and if emerging economies consumed oil as Europeans do, world consumption would jump by 150 per cent. What is happening today is an early warning of this stark reality. It is tempting to blame the prices on speculators and big bad oil companies. The reality is different.

Demand for oil grows steadily, as the vehicle fleets of the world expand. Today, the US has 250m vehicles and China just 37m. It takes no imagination to see where the Chinese fleet is headed. Other emerging countries will follow China’s example. ..

… The market is saying that we must use more wisely resources that have now become more valuable. The market is right.”

What can people at Swargate do if they have not yet heard anything from the market or chosen not to hear anything?

The only long term solution for this mess is a reasonably good public transport that encourages people of all social strata to use it. Pune’s public transport stinks. It’s easily one of the worst of major cities in India. I know it because I use it regularly.

You also need people who are ready to make small sacrifices for the larger cause. Young working middle-class people should try using public transport at least one day in a week. Today very few do and hence they don’t complain about it with as much intensity as they do about bad roads, lack of parking space or even stray dogs.

Result: almost each middle-class Pune household has as many vehicles as number of family members.

The Spectator