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.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

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."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

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!