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."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lucky me. I didn't send a letter to Har Gobind Khorana

Dr. Jayant Narlikar replies in long hand to every letter he receives.

My childhood was spent taking pride in Har Gobind Khorana, an Indian American molecular biologist, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1968.

Luckily I never sent an e-mail or a letter to him.

The Times of India reported on October 14 2009:

"...Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan has expressed disenchantment with people from India "bothering" him "clogging" up his email box and dubbed as "strange" their sudden urge to reach out to him.

"All sorts of people from India have been writing to me, clogging up my email box. It takes me an hour or two to just remove their mails," he said...

..."There are also people who have never bothered to be in touch with me for decades who suddenly feel the urge to connect...

...He expressed anguish over "all sorts of lies" published about him in a section of the media..."

Maybe he could have used technology to filter out the messages he did not wish to see, the way commoners like me do. Instead, he chose to attack the well-wishers in public.

Why do educated Indians have this overwhelming urge to take pride in Indianness found anywhere in the universe, from knowledge of Sanskrit to Obama administration to NASA to Slumdog to Chicken Tikka?

Does Nobel prize matter? (Henry James, W H Auden, J L Borges, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Nabokov, M Proust, L Tolstoy, M Twain, and E Zola among many others never won literature Nobel!)

Does a person of Indian origin winning it matter?

I will never understand.