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."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What did Crystal Ball Fortune Teller say in 1990?

Recently from Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund company I received a promotional mailer. Its envelope carried this slogan: "Remember what life was like, in India, before 1991?”

So did Sunanda K Datta-Ray.

I just trashed the envelope but Mr. Datta-Ray was stimulated by it to write an essay that can be found here.

"...The world was less glamorous with fewer big scams. Cricket was sport, not speculation. Hinduism was religion, not politics. Recorded telephone operators’ voices didn’t sound as if they belonged to Hindi-speaking young women trying desperately hard to pretend they were Americans trying desperately hard to speak Hindi...

...People wrote letters instead of tweeting. They chatted with each other, not into machines. Indian women wore saris, not The Red Sari. Actresses hadn’t crossed the gender barrier. Bollywood didn’t pretend to be Hollywood. Bollywood stars didn’t rush to Cannes since there were no awards to collect. There are still no awards but they go to spend all that cash and flaunt their wardrobes. “Topless” wasn’t a fashion option. Newspapers served news...

...I wrote in the seventies and eighties that nuclear bombs, missions to the Moon and vehicles in space were for India, not Indians. Now, the expected 8.5 per cent growth is as much for India as for Indians … or for some Indians until Manmohan Singh redeems his promise of a “new deal for rural India” and extends it also to include the neglected urban poor..."


Artist: Steve Breen