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."

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Calling on B S Mardhekar to Greet a New Mother: Padma Lakshmi

Padma Lakshmi was an attractive lady and a darling of media.

She appeared on this blog here in that phase. One such picture is at the bottom of this post.

I say 'was' because I haven't seen her any where for a while.

Ms. Lakshmi recently gave birth to a baby girl.

I guess motherhood is deeply transformative. For the woman as well as the onlooker.

B S Mardhekar (बा.सी.मर्ढेकर)- today is his death anniversary- wrote in a beautiful Marathi 'Hymn to Her':


पोरसवदा होतीस
कालपरवांपावेतों;
होता पायांतही वारा
कालपरवांपावेतों.

आज टपोरले पोट,
जैसी मोगरीची कळी;
पडे कुशीँतून पायीं
छोट्या जीवाची साखळी.

पोरसवदा होतीस
कालपरवांपावेतों;
थांब उद्याचे माऊली,
तीर्थ पायांचे घेईतों.

[Poem no 27 from 'Kanhee Kavita' (कांही कविता)]

The last stanza describes the poet's feelings on seeing a pregnant girl:

"You were kiddish
Until yesterday or day-before;
Wait tomorrow's mother,
I drink holy water of washing of your feet."

Ms. Lakshmi so far belonged to the category described by my wife as 'half-naked' women (उघड्या-नागड्या बायका) that appear in newspapers, even Marathi, every day!

Now Ms. Lakshmi's chest will have a new context, other than page 3, as described by Mardhekar's idol Madhav Julian (माधव जुलियन) in a moving Marathi poem:

"...गेली दुरी यशोदा टाकूनि येथ कान्हा,
अन् राहिला कधींचा तान्हा तिचा भुका ना?
तान्ह्यास दूर ठेवी - पान्हा तरिहि वाहे -.." ('प्रेमा स्वरूप आई!')

["...Yashoda went away leaving Kanha (Krishna) here,
and hasn't that caused her toddler to remain hungry?
She keeps her toddler away- her breasts still ooze-.." ('Prema Swarup Aai')]

Ms. Lakshmi has given her daughter a simple, meaningful, gender-neutral name: Krishna (Krishna Thea Lakshmi).

It's such a welcome change from the names many middle-class Maharashtrians pull from archaic Sanskrit sources to name their kids these days.

I not only don't know their meaning but can't even remember them.

Padma, Lakshmi, Krishna. So easy...


Picture courtesy: Yana Paskova for The New York Times, Aug 5 2009