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."

Friday, December 31, 2010

Escape: Shel Silverstein's Papillon and GA's Swami

From B S Mardhekar's (बा. सी. मर्ढेकर) following poem:

भरून येइल ह्रुदय जेधवां
शरीर पिळुनी निघेल घाम;
अन् शब्दांच्या तोंडांमध्यें
बसेल तूझा गच्च लगाम;

काळयावरतीं जरा पांढ़रें
ह्या पाप्याच्या हातुन व्हावें
फक्त तेधवां : आणि एरव्हीं
हेंच पांढऱ्या वरतीं काळे!,

I am always fascinated by these words:

"अन् शब्दांच्या तोंडांमध्यें / बसेल तूझा गच्च लगाम;" (I never had any ambition of Mardhekar that is reflected in 'काळयावरतीं जरा पांढ़रें / ह्या पाप्याच्या हातुन व्हावें'. Also not sure what BSM achieved in that regard!)

For many years in my childhood at Miraj, I observed tongas (light horse-drawn carriage) and, more intently, horses that pulled them. The leash sat so tight...not to mention the whip that lashed...गच्च लगाम. (One of the most interesting activities then was watching nailing of horseshoes to the horses and bullocks.)

But then there is always a hope of freedom...Hope springs eternal.

Following is one of the greatest cartoons I have seen. I can see it everyday and still be amused by it.

Descend your eyes from the top to the bottom of the picture.

The cell resembles the space described in G A Kulakrni's (जी ए कुलकर्णी ) "Swami" (स्वामी) where the head of the sect is held forcibly and a kingdom rules in his name outside.

As G A describes the prison cell- read that at the end of this para- one thinks the Swami has no hope in hell of escaping or even committing suicide. Despite that the Swami fights back. Some opium has been hidden by the previous unfortunate inmate of the cell. Swami unearths it and dies eating it. He chooses to die as he lets another life, a weed, choke the only air-inlet pipe on its journey to the sunlight.


(open this picture in another window and then enlarge to read the text)

Shel Silverstein's Papillon is more ingenious. He has thought of a plan to escape. Alive.


Artist: Shel Silverstein, 1950s

Wiki informs: Silverstein was both fascinated and distressed by the amount of analysis and commentary that almost immediately began to swirl around the cartoon. "A lot of people said it was a very pessimistic cartoon, which I don't think it is at all," he said. "There's a lot of hope even in a hopeless situation..."

Indeed, Sir. Here's looking at 2011!