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."

Monday, July 20, 2009

Imitating Rajesh Khanna, we walked with Neil and Buzz!

For a nine year old, 1969 was: Hindi movies:Talash (particularly its promos of scantily dressed dancers in champagne glasses from page 2 of Maharashtra Times), Waris, Anjaana, Shatranj, Ansoo Ban Gaye Phool, Ek Phool Do Maali, Do Raaste and Aradhana; passing away of P K Atre and Dr. Zakir Husain; Gandhi Centenary (so many mandatory, boring cultural programs in Gandhi's memory at school).

And cricket.

India lost the Nagpur test match to New Zealand in October.

It was a national calamity. There were rumours that our cricketers were too drunk to walk on cricket field on the last day October 8. Another rumour was that M A K Pataudi, India's captain, was too busy wooing Sharmila Tagore to concentrate on his cricket.

This loss was more than redeemed by beating strong Australian side in December.

Now I understand even following events happened in the same year: India's first credit card Diners card was introduced, the first Indian-built Centaur rocket was successfully tested, Dadasaheb Phalke award was instituted. ("The Indian Millennium AD 1000-2000" by Gopa Sabharwal, 2000)

I don't remember July 20, 1969 but it changed the scene. They say: For a very brief moment during the 1960s, America was moonstruck.

So was India.

Moon, Apollo spacecraft and its crew- Neil Armstrong, Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin, Michael Collins were every where.

Many forts children built in Maharashtra during Diwali festival had the theme of Apollo mission. Ganesh festival pandals exhibited moon landing scenes.

Cartoons, jokes, films, plays, literature -popular culture as a whole- started referring to the landing. Mr. Armstrong became as popular as Rajesh Khanna!

No NRI complained why Gayatri Mantra was not chanted on the moon when it was reported that Buzz Aldrin gave thanks to God by the taking of the Holy Communion on the moon.

There was a sense of urgency to dump the old practices, now that we had reached the moon.

Some experts in India predicted that faith in astrology would wane because moon, which plays such an important part in a horoscope, was now soiled by a mortal man.

Nothing like that ever happened. Astrology remains more popular in India today than ever before. For some prominent scientists(?), astrology and vastu-shastra have become branches of science!

I personally like the moon mission because it eventually gave birth to Buzz, a co-hero of Toy Story films.

Paul Krugman says:

"...Indeed, manned space flight in general has turned out to be a bust.

The key word here is "manned." Space flight has been a huge boon to mankind. It has advanced the cause of science: for example, cosmology, and with it our understanding of basic physics, has made huge strides through space-based observation. Space flight has also done a lot to improve life here on Earth, as space-based systems help us track storms, communicate with one another, even find out where we are...

...Yet almost all the payoff from space travel, scientific and practical, has come from unmanned vehicles and satellites..." (NYT, February 4, 2003)

In 2007, Gerard DeGroot wrote a book “Dark Side of the Moon: The Magnificent Madness of the American Lunar Quest

"...DeGroot came to share the view of many people today, that Apollo was a $35bn ego trip - an outrageous waste of money that should have been spent addressing problems on Earth. For him, Neil Armstrong’s “small step” on to the moon achieved nothing for mankind beyond a brief burst of media-generated euphoria..." (Clive Cookson, FT, March 9 2007)

"...In fact, it turned out the Russians were far behind the US in space expertise, a fact Kennedy only discovered in office. It was too late by then and the space monster he had unleashed began devouring money faster than any other federal programme. Kennedy might have stopped the rot, says DeGroot, but was assassinated. After that, 'the space programme became a homage to Kennedy and, as such, untouchable'

The US lunar quest was, therefore, 'an immensely expensive distraction of little scientific or culture worth', a grand futility from which the US space agency Nasa has never recovered. It is hard to disagree with this assessment.

DeGroot, a sharp and witty writer, has prepared his case assiduously, though for my taste he overstates it badly, wilfully ignoring the romance and chutzpah of what was, after all, the 20th-century's crowning human achievement..." (Robin McKie, The Observer, 3 February 2008)

"...But Dark Side of the Moon underestimates many positive aspects of Apollo. One was the psychological impetus given to the embryonic environmental movement by seeing our fragile blue-and-white planet from the moon. And Apollo gave a huge long-term boost to scientific innovation by inspiring a generation of schoolchildren to study science and technology. Their enthusiasm did not wane when the moon landings ended, and in subsequent decades many became high-tech innovators and entrepreneurs..." (Clive Cookson)

"What's happening to us, John? People will soon be going to the moon, and we don't even seem to get out of the house any more."

Artist : Richard Decker, The New Yorker, 19 April 1958