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."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Yes, I Heard Crocodile Bark in Our Bedroom

In July 2008, we have moved to a place that is only a few meters away from one wall of the historical Katraj Lake of Pune.

So far from the balcony of our house, we have managed to spot monkeys running on the wall and storks (?) trying to hunt fish.

But I was not prepared for this excitement:

On November 17, 2008, all newspapers in Pune reported spotting of a crocodile on the banks of Katraj Lake on November 16.

However the coverage left me disappointed. It talks only about fear and commotion among weekend revellers.

There is no sense of awe and curiosity let alone any thing on what poor crocodile must have felt surrounded by ruthless, noisy Homo sapiens. Do we want to experience crocks only on our TV screens?

There also was no mention that perhaps crocks will outlive us on the planet. They surely did “mighty” dinosaurs who once “ruled” the earth the way we do today.

Pune Authorities were sure that the animal would reappear on Nov 17 to sunbathe so that they could “deal” with it. But nature had the last laugh.

Whole of Monday it remained cloudy!

Following iconic cartoon is by legendary artist James Thurber.

Paul Johnson writes of him: “…When aged six, in 1901, his left eye was destroyed by a toy arrow shot by his brother. His mother, a Christian scientist, refused to let his condition be properly treated, and as a result ‘sympathetic ophthalmia’ developed in his right eye, and eventually led to virtual sightlessness. By the time I met him, in 1958 I think, he was effectively blind…”


Artist: James Thurber The New Yorker 30 January 1932