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."

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hockey World Cup and a Tale of Two SSC Exams

Gol Maal(1979) is my favourite film. I must have seen it several times.

It's directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, who was a very interesting person.

Here is how he conceived his film "Anand" (1971): Mukherjee loved Raj Kapoor so much that he was morbidly afraid thinking of Raj Kapoor's death some day. The film is an effort to capture those feelings. Raj Kapoor is played by Rajesh Khanna and Hrishikesh Mukherjee is played by Amitabh Bachchan.

This is one of the most creative idea I have heard for a Hindi film.

'Gol Maal' (and Chhoti Si Baat, 1975), really captured the mood of people like me in the 1970's, early 1980's: bell-bottoms trousers...long hair...a belief that a revolution was round the corner and anger would get us there...good education...no jobs ('the best' job going was that of a clerk at a nationalised bank)...phone was something one saw only in movie...middleclass pretty girls- flaunting nonzero size figures- who got married before they turned even 21...and field hockey as popular as cricket.

A hockey match at Mumbai, between India-Pakistan, plays a major role in the film. It gives birth to the twin brother named 'Lakshmanprasad' of our hero 'Ramprasad'.

Asian Age Feb 15 2010: '“Yaar aaj Govinda aur Ashok Kumar bhi hote to mazaa aa jata.” This famous line from the movie Golmaal in 1979 — when actor Amol Palekar feigns sickness to watch a hockey match — depicts the frenzy that once surrounded the national game.'

India won 1975 hockey world cup that was played between March 1 - March 15 at Merdeka Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I was supposed to be in the thick of my S S C examination.

Earlier in 1973, I almost died hearing running commentary of India's final against Holland when they gave up their 2-0 lead and lost the cup.

Today, I remember the world cup more vividly than the exam! I heard running commentary of every India match on All India Radio and was panic stricken in the last ten minutes of the final between Indian-Pakistan played on March 15, should India repeated their earlier folly.

They didn't!

Inspired by efforts of Ajitpal Singh (captain), Leslie Fernandes, Ashok Dewan, Michael Kindo, Surjeet Singh, Aslam Sher Khan, Virender Singh, Onkar Singh, Mohinder Singh, V. J. Philips, Harcharan Singh, Shivaji Pawar, Ashok Kumar, B. P. Govinda, H. J. S. Chimni, B. P. Kalaiah and riding luck, I topped my school and the town in the SSC exam.

Who knew it would be India's last such triumph for decades to come?

Boys, this year my son appears for his S S C exam! Will you do it for him?

"Australian Jamie Dwyer, pictured below, is considered as the most lethal striker in world hockey, but there is something even this 30-year Australian cannot do — win every game 10-0 for coach Ric Charlesworth." (The Asian Age, Feb 23 2010)

Mr. Charlesworth, once we routinely used to!

Picture Courtesy: Getty Images