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."

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Mothers and Sparrows Don’t Thrive on Neglect

I always took my mother and a sparrow for granted.

And why not. They were the two species I sighted most during my childhood. The story millions of Maharashtrians most heard- in Marathi- in their childhood was that of a sparrow and a crow.

The story runs something like this: a sparrow builds her nest using wax and a crow builds his using cow-dung. A rainfall washes out crow’s nest and he goes to sparrow’s nest asking for a shelter. Sparrow refuses to oblige, giving one reason after another.

Although I now refuse to believe that crows are that stupid, I enjoyed the story especially when my mother told it in her clear diction.

My mother now is gone and they say sparrow too may be on its way. Read Outlook India story here.

Therefore, these days every time I spot a sparrow, I get the same pleasure as I may get finding dinosaur bones.

I have learnt one hard lesson. Unlike some flower, mothers and sparrows don’t thrive on neglect.

(Isn't picture below apart from its other qualities just poetic?)


Artist: Perry Barlow The New Yorker 10 April 1948