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."

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Will today's Bandunana and Pandutatya hear Chitragupta?

The Asian Age March 24 2011:
"Minister of state for environment Jairam Ramesh on Wednesday launched a nationwide campaign to reduce noise levels across India, as it was turning “too noisy”..."

Nikil Saval:

"...What if we tried to listen to nothing? Silence is the feature of our buzzing sound-world we enjoy least, whose very existence we threaten to pave over track by track. Silence is the most endangered musical experience in our time. Turning it up, we might figure out what all our music listening is meant to drown out, the thing we can't bear to hear."

(Slate, March 28, 2011)

Sudhir Venkatesh:

"In public spaces, serendipitous interaction is needed to create the 'mob mentality.' Most iPod-like devices separate citizens from one another; you can't join someone in a movement if you can't hear the participants. Congrats Mr. Jobs for impeding social change."

Stanley Crouch:

"People are uncomfortable in silence because it can breed needless contemplation and may engender a floating into the deeper world of the self."

I celebrated the end of cricket ODI world cup because it was my life's noisiest sports tournament in India. Noisier than even Ganesh Chaturthi and Diwali.

Wiki: Chitragupta (चित्रगुप्त) is a Hindu God assigned with the task of keeping complete records of actions of human beings on the earth. Upon their death, Chitragupta has the task of deciding heaven or the hell for the humans, depending on their actions on the earth.

The interesting aspect is: Chitragupta reads out one's life's balance sheet to the dead.

More than 100 years ago, Shripad Krushna Kolhatkar (श्रीपाद कृष्ण कोल्हटकर) wrote a brilliant article 'Chitraguptacha Jamakharch' ('चित्रगुप्ताचा जमाखर्च') on what happened when his characters Bandunana (बंडूनाना) and Pandutatya (पांडूतात्या), after their death, reached Chitragupta's court and listened to their accounts.
['Sahitya-Battishi : Sudamyache Pohe', 1910 ('साहित्य-बत्तिशी : सुदाम्याचे पोहे')]

Alas there was very little show on the credit side. But at least they heard what was read out.

We mayn't be that lucky.

(apologies for the quality of cartoon's reproduction as my scanner is still down. Please open the picture in another window to get a better view.)

caption in Marathi reads:

"चित्रगुप्त महाराज! वाचून काही उपयोग नाही. हे सर्व मुंबईतून आलेले आहेत ठार बहिरे आहेत .."

("Chitragupta Maharaj! No point reading. They all have come from Mumbai and are stone-deaf...)

Artist: Vasant Sarwate, 1996

"The Best of Sarwate"
editor: Avadhoot Paralkar, Lokvangmay Gruh 2008

[कलावंत: वसंत सरवटे, १९९६ , "सरवोत्तम सरवटे" संपादक: अवधूत परळकर, लोकवाङ्मय गृह 2008]