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."

Friday, November 28, 2008

I may have Escaped the Shells but was Destroyed by it

When Suredra Paul was brutally murdered by militants in Assam near Chabua on May 9 1990, my wife and I almost heard the gunshots of AK-47 because we lived only a few kilometers away from the scene.

Later we came to know that there was a weapon called AK-47 and that it was easily and cheaply available in Assam.

I still remember the eerie afternoon.

Many such afternoons have now come and gone.

In the wee hours of November 8, 1990, we left our homes on a gun-mounted military truck before being airlifted from Sookerting airfield of the RAW to dodge the bullets of Ulfa.

To paraphrase Erich Maria Remarque, I may have escaped the shells but was destroyed by the experience.

I loved Assam and was forced to flee from it. Only the deaths of my mother and aunt have pained me more.

It’s another November, 18 years later, all over again.


Artist: Gahan Wilson The New Yorker December 1 2008 Cartoon Caption Contest 171

My caption

"Wouldn’t it be your worst nightmare if these girls came to life, took the hacksaw behind you, pressed your head against the counter and sawed it off ? Now, you may begin to imagine what happened to the people of Mumbai on the night of November 26”