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: "… इ. स. 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."
Saturday, October 10, 2009
N S Phadke ना सी फडके, V V Karmarkar वि वि करमरकर, K N Prabhu, Raju Bharatan, Mihir Bose, Sunil Gavaskar, M A K Pataudi, Ramachandra Guha...but no one came close to Rajan Bala- who passed away on October 9 2009- in appreciating the game, which perhaps is a proxy for life.
His "All the Beautiful Boys" (1990) remains one of the best books I have read. I must have read it dozens of times since 1993, the year I bought it.
When he interviewed (chatted with?) people connected to the game, he brought the best out of them.
When I read the quotes attributed to M L Jaisimha, Gundappa Vishwanath, Eknath Solkar, Erapalli Prasanna, Chandu Borde in his book, I thought - my god, they all are as erudite as Ian Chappell or Sunil Gavaskar!
Here are a few examples of his writings:
"...Tauseef the Pakistani on a death trap of a wicket in Bangalore must have realised that Sunil (Gavaskar) was a different class of a player. I remember one ball which was pitched short and changed course- did not turn. It bounced straight on and over Sunil's shoulder. Sunil had read it all the way, It was the mobile front foot which enabled him to avoid the ball. It was incredible..."
Why do you need a TV when you have a description as graphic as that?
"...It was the only time I have seen a fast bowler in a Test match resort to bowling to widish bouncers in order to prevent a batsman getting a single. The West Indians wanted to deprive Vishy of his second century in two Tests and get at Chandrasekhar, the last man. They succeeded. That was Andy's (Roberts) ultimate tribute to Vishy..."
How he evokes the drama in a diminutive man humbling one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time bowling on a helpful wicket.
"...One of my best moments off cricket watching was a defensive stroke in a Test match. This was in Madras. India were playing Pakistan and Imran Khan was bowling to Sunil Gavaskar. Imran dung the particular delivery short. It was not a bouncer but one which forced Sunil to get on his toes and defend. Sunil did just that. He was on his toes, on the back foot, left hand tight on the bat handle, right hand removed, both hands wide apart, and standing absolutely sideways. The ball hit the bat fairly high and then virtually rolled down the length of the blade to drop passively at Sunil's feet. Imran, on his follow-through, applauded the batsman..."
Isn't there so much to cricket than just runs, wickets and catches?
"I remember M L Jaisimha waiting under a big mishit at the edge of the boundary. The ball seemed to be suspended in the air for ever so long. Some one hundred and forty thousand eyes were focused on the ball and the man, in turns. Jaisimha positioned himself and finally, after what seemed an eternity, grasped the ball with both hands and closed his eyes. Seventy thousand hearts heaved a collective sigh of relief. the scoreboard registered unemotionally, G. Sobers caught Jaisimha bowled Chandrasekhar. One more Test dismissal.
For a full and agonizing minute Jaisimha was the loneliest man in the stadium, the mammoth and magnificent Eden Gardens..."
World is a stage!
"All the four spinners, Chandra, Prasanna, Bedi and Venkat, who benefited from Ekky's (Eknath Solkar) catching prowess, have readily sung the man's praises. Chandra said: "He gave me great confidence. Considering the pace I bowled at, and also the fact that the ball could have deviated either way, Ekky must have been genius to even react to some of the deflections." Bishan Bedi said: "If he did not go for one that popped, I was quite convinced that the batsman had not got his bat to the ball. His anticipation was uncanny." Venkat said: "I always believed that I was a capable catcher. But he could really catch." And Prasanna said: "If my delivery had the right loop and the ball turned, I just looked towards Ekky."
To judge if the show put on was worth it, I just looked towards Rajan Bala.