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."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dilip Chitre: Marathi speaking Leonardo da Vinci?

George Orwell on Mark Twain: "But most people who have studied his work have come away with a feeling that he might have done something more." (Mark Twain -- The Licensed Jester)

Chitre helped organise an event to observe the first death anniversary of Arun Kolatkar (अरुण कोलटकर) in September 2005.

I attended it.

It was an informal gathering, almost the exact opposite of the one I described earlier: Vinda Karandikar's book release function.

It was chaotic. A lot more younger people. Mobile phones kept ringing loudly the whole evening.

Number of people spoke on Kolatkar. Fighting back tears, I too piled on.

Maybe Kolatkar would have liked it that way! Chitre certainly seemed to enjoy!

There I saw a short-film made by Chitre on Kolatkar. It was made when Kolatkar was terminally ill.

Later I read someone complaining that Chitre didn't write something 'great' on Kolatkar when he died. He couldn't have. His creative juices had already oozed out in the form of the film.

Kolatkar will probably be remembered as a better poet than Chitre. I don't know why but I thought Chitre wanted to be a lot more than just a poet.

Sometimes I thought he was not entirely happy being just Tukaram's great follower. He wanted to be in Tukaram's league! Perhaps Marathi speaking Leonardo da Vinci?

He may not have succeeded but what an ambition! In Robert Browning's words:

"...He would not discount life, as fools do here,
Paid by instalment.
He ventured neck or nothing-heaven's success
Found, or earth's failure:.."

Chitre seemed to have almost given up writing poetry for a long time while Kolatkar sought new horizons with a masterly work like Bhijaki Vahi (भिजकी वही) in his final years. (Kolatkar himself was creatively very ambitious. He wanted to be a figure like Bob Dylan and learnt to play Pakhavaj in later years of his life.)

I thought they two were like Ritwik Ghatak and Satyajit Ray. You take your pick.

In the passing of this duo, Marathi culture has seen the fall of two citadels. Our rugged landscape is poorer for it.