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."

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.