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."

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