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."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Whether you laugh or hurt or both, don't forget the sponsors

A character in Sydney Pollack’s “The Interpreter”: Despite all the flags fluttering on First Avenue, there are no nations any more. Only companies. International companies. It’s where we are. It’s what we are.

Howard Jacobson: It isn't as though we have lost the capacity to laugh. Stand-up comedy is riding higher than ever. If anything there is an argument to be made that we are laughing too much. But we have created a false division between laughter and thought, between comedy and seriousness, between the exhilaration that the great novels offer when they are at their funniest, and whatever else it is we now think we want from literature.


For this Diwali, Vasant Sarwate (वसंत सरवटे) has taken us, one more time, to meet a Marathi speaking the Simpsons family. (Please find earlier Lalit (ललित ) covers by Sarwate here: 2009, 2008, 2007).

Look at the picture below. (Sorry for the poor resolution. My scanner is down.)

Meet- clockwise- Homer, Marge, Lisa, Abraham, Mona and Bart. They are 'watching' a Marathi 'comedy' program on their brand new flat panel TV.

It's called a comedy program because laughter is in its name. It's "Ha Ha Bai Express" (हाः हाः बै एक्सप्रेस) . The newspapers that are lying on the side-table claim that this show is bound to cause you stomach ache because of your wild laughing at its humour.

But don't worry, remedy is on hand. The sponsors of the program are Udaroushadhi pharmacy (उदरौषधी फार्मसी ) makers of a medicine that cures such a stomach ache. Notice Udaroushadhi's calendar, showing its full product range, hanging next to the TV.

Let us look at what the Simpsons are doing.

Homer is dumbfounded. Lisa is busy reading something. Abraham- I like him best here- is disgustingly looking at the medicine manufactured by Udaroushadhi pharmacy that is put on his palm by Mona. Mona, squatting on the floor, is gaping at the TV. Bart is in his own world. Only Marge has a faint smile on her face.

Udaroushadhi pharmacy's ad campaign is successful because the Simpsons have fallen for their product. They are administering it to poor Abraham. See one more time his face.

Notice the contrast between the energy levels and the mood in the Simpsons hall and the TV studio.

Judges of the comedy show in the studio are falling over each other laughing. What the Simpsons family doesn't know is: People in the studio want to give full 10 marks to each other and the sponsors because their respective cheques have encashed!


(double click and magnify to get a better view)

Artist: Vasant Sarwate (वसंत सरवटे ), Lalit (ललित), November-December 2010