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."

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Delhi Belly, Shit Happens. Darwin Belly, Evolution Happens.

The Theravada tradition generally believes that the Buddha was offered some kind of stale pork in his final meal.

Woody Allen: "My brain: it's my second favorite organ."

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


The last Indian film I watched in theatre was 'Dil Chahta Hai' (2001). I loved it.

Even on cable TV or DVD player, since then, I haven't watched any new Indian film for its entire duration. I often like parts of them.

But I keep following them.

The recent one 'Delhi Belly' caught my attention because its title features my most favourite organ. (I don't say tongue anymore because these days she has to worry about what happens later).

I also liked its by-line- Shit Happens...Belly, Shit...

Recently I read an amazing essay 'Gutted' by Steven Shapin that reviews 'A Modern History of the Stomach: Gastric Illness, Medicine and British Society, 1800-1950' by Ian Miller.

I was stunned by the scholarship and writing skills of Mr Shapin. I laughed out loud a few times reading it.

"...The stomach troubles of some of the century’s great thinkers verged on common knowledge. Thomas Carlyle was advertised as a ‘martyr’ to dyspepsia – there was, he confided, only a small part of his life in which he ‘was not conscious of the ownership of that diabolical arrangement called a stomach’ – and Charles Darwin’s friends understood that his uncontrollable retching and farting seriously limited his public life..."

I don't know if Mr. Darwin knew Akbar-Birbal story where Birbal 'forces' the Emperor Akbar to admit finally that he too farts!

Also, I entirely agree with Mr. Carlyle- There is only a small part of my life in which I ‘am not conscious of the ownership of that diabolical arrangement called a stomach’.

"...And in the 1880s, Nietzsche diagnosed the whole Western philosophical tradition as a case of indigestion. Thus spake Zarathustra: ‘Because [the philosophers] learned badly and not the best, and everything too early and everything too fast; because they ate badly: from thence hath resulted their ruined stomach.’ Whereupon Nietzsche took himself off to Turin to purge his philosophical-digestive system: ‘No more greasy, stodgy, beer-washed idealistic Christian German food for me! I shall curl up with gut pain, vomit if you don’t give me Italian vegetables.’..."

I wonder what the great Nietzsche would have produced if he was put on diet of simple Indian fare of dal, chawal, roti. Would he be fiery himself?

"...Just a few years later, a London physician called John Clarke closed the circle by suggesting that indigestion and evolution were causally connected: if Darwin’s stomach had been healthier, ‘his view of humanity might possibly have been a more generous and exalted one.’ Clarke had no doubt that the writings of ‘some pessimistic philosophers, which modern would-be thinkers waste their energies in trying to understand, are the pure products of disordered digestion’..."

Can you imagine...there would be no theory of evolution if Mr. Darwin's stomach was healthier?

[p.s
Recently, when I watched Along Came Polly (2004), I realised how mainstream toilet-humour had now become in Hollywood- can you get more mainstream than Ben Stiller & Jennifer Aniston?

It was only a matter of time t-h entered Hindi films in a big way.

It has with DB. Apparently, by some accounts, it's the 'filthiest' Hindi film ever.

And people knocked the late Dada Kondke (दादा कोंडके) for an occasional toilet-gag. The best one for me remains: Dada lifts a stone in an open ground to throw at something and then takes it to his nose (wonder why because I never made that mistake in my childhood) only to drop it in disgust saying- "has been used"!]