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, July 20, 2010

What did a Woman in the Kitchen have in common with its Floor?

Anton Chekhov: "My holy of holies is the human body..."

Indian religious code: "If a woman was menstruating, she was prohibited from Suttee, the act of a Hindu widow willingly cremating herself on the funeral pyre of her dead husband."

ROBIN MARANTZ HENIG: "The worst thing you could do when my mother was in one of her moods was to point out that she got cranky when she had her period. “I am not just a bunch of chemicals!” she’d yell. My brother, who even at 12 believed in the sanctity of data, decided to keep a written record of when Mom was irritable and see whether it correlated with what he could deduce about her menstrual cycle. It was hard to contradict the circumstantial evidence: when our mother had her period, she was harder to live with..."


Annie Hall,1977: "Alvy: Hey, you are in a bad mood. You must be getting your period.
Annie: I'm not getting my period. Jesus, every time anything out of the ordinary happens, you think that I'm getting my period."

Not too long ago, menstruation was NOT a taboo subject in Maharashtra.

For instance, historians like T S Shejwalkar (त्र्यं शं शेजवलकर), D G Godse (द ग गोडसे), have quoted a number of instances in their work when women’s monthly period was mentioned without any hesitation, even in official communication.

(After reading "no Suttee if menstruating" quoted earlier, I asked my wife if some widows could have faked it....I would. She said it would have been very difficult to do so in a joint family setup of medieval India).

But it all changed since the Victorian era began in England.

I wonder if a book like the one mentioned below will ever get written in Marathi. I am sure when it does, it will be one of the most interesting one.

Elissa Stein and Susan Kim have written a book "Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation".

Eryn Loeb reviews it:

"...apparently, plenty of girls still think they pee and bleed out of the same orifice, and menstruation is still understood with a retro blend of embarrassment, fear and superstition...

...Kotex pads burst onto the market the same year women got the right to vote, which was also the same year that saw the first Miss America pageant (that would be 1920)...

...And we learn that as late as 1985, a pre-Friends, pre-Cougar Town, pre-Arquette, Courteney Cox was the first person to use the word "period" in a TV commercial...

Flow revels in the awesome mysteriousness of women's bodies even as its authors try to counter it. It's hard to maintain both positions, though there's something appealing about being normal and mystifying at the same time. That's a central tension of how people have viewed women -- and how women have viewed themselves -- throughout history. Not surprisingly, the ambivalence about the role and significance of menstruation is equally entrenched.

Still, why talk about it? Stein and Kim are tuned in enough to pose that question directly, and their book stands as a pretty clear answer. Certainly, we don't have to talk about everything, but Flow shows that menstruation -- and women's many experiences of it -- are fodder for a host of worthwhile and often important conversations."

Q: What was common to a woman working in a kitchen and the kitchen floor?
A: Both were disinfected with Lysol, a household cleaner!

(For more, check out 'Related Media' by visiting this site.)