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."

Friday, October 03, 2008

What is Deadliest? Traffic,Temple Queues and Terrorism. In that Order.

We are not driven around in a chauffeur driven car. We don't live in a gated community. Our family has to worry about bombs.

But I am more worried about Pune traffic.

Recently my wife and I met with an accident. Luckily for us we were not knocked down by a truck.

It had to happen. Stochastic Processes.

I go for a morning walk. My wife's cousin has warned me that the benefits that accrue to me by that walk are offset by the risk I take by walking on a busy Pune road for almost an hour.

Another "deadly place" in today's India is a queue of devotees.
Times of India said on October 1, 2008:

"NEW DELHI: Stampedes are bigger killers in India than bomb blasts that so dramatically capture our mindspace. In 2008 alone so far, over 360 people lost their life in major stampedes compared to 156 killed by bomb blasts.

This year is not an aberration. Data collated for the last nearly nine years shows that while 875 people have lost their lives in stampedes that were big enough to make the national press, 766 have been killed by terror bombs.

The actual number killed in stampedes may be even higher. What we have collated is based on press reports, since no centralized data base exists for such incidents, unlike with terror attacks. It is also clear that single bomb blasts rarely kill people in the kind of large numbers that are associated with stampedes..."

Luckily my family does not visit popular temples.

I wonder why people get so upset about terrorist bombs but not about deadlier traffic and temple queues. Is it because they think something can be done about terrorism but nothing about traffic and temple queues?


Artist: Sudhir Tailang Asian Age October 1, 2008