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."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

चाफा मात्र फुलतच राहतो, Champak Goes On and On: Lyrical, Tragic, and Comic

चाफा मात्र फुलतच राहतो, Champak Goes On and On: Lyrical, Tragic, and Comic

Today Oct 18 2011 is 8th death anniversary of my Tai Mavashi (ताई -मावशी ). And I lost my second mavashi- Kumud (कुमुद)- on October 1 2011...Now, including my mother and their mother, all four of them, I like to think, are together. Wherever.

Once I wanted to escort these three Bhate (भाटे ) sisters on a jaunt to Mahad (महाड), their beloved native town, instead I accompanied each of them to crematorium...This is growing up!

कवी गोविंद (1874-1926) (Kavi Govind)

सुंदर मी होणार, आतां सुंदर मी होणार!
सुंदर मी होणार । हो। मरणानें जगणार।...

...जुनी इंद्रिये, जुना पिसारा.. सर्व सर्व झडणार हो..
नव्या तनुचे, नव्या शक्तीचे.. पंख मला फुटणार हो..
सुंदर मी होणार.

There is so much hope in the poet's words above...Death will remake him, get rid of his disability and make him beautiful all over again...easily one of the most memorable poems in 20th century Marathi.

After seeing my Tai-mavashi for the last time at Kolhapur (कोल्हापुर) crematorium on the banks of Panchganga (पंचगंगा), I looked at the evening sky...

It had never looked that beautiful.

What was I doing at that goddamn crematorium instead of looking at pretty girls of Kolhapur at Rankala (रंकाळा) and Mahadwar (महाद्वार ) road, or making plans of which movies to see, or where to eat outside: what we always did while visiting her in the past, when R D Burman song "Yeh shyam mastani" (ये शाम मस्तानी) from 'Kati Patang',1970 never stopped playing?

Sure, death might have made my mavashi more beautiful- it wasn't obvious though- but what about the sky in real life that was even more beautiful than usual after her death? Evening was still graceful (ये शाम मस्तानी) but now in a creepy way.

Can we reconcile this?

Not Mark Twain. He thinks it's a mockery:

“I lost Susy thirteen years ago; I lost her mother—her incomparable mother!—five and a half years ago; Clara has gone away to live in Europe; and now I have lost Jean. How poor I am, who was once so rich! … Jean lies yonder, I sit here; we are strangers under our own roof; we kissed hands good-by at this door last night—and it was forever, we never suspecting it. She lies there, and I sit here—writing, busying myself, to keep my heart from breaking. How dazzlingly the sunshine is flooding the hills around! It is like a mockery."

Not C T Khanolkar (चिं.त्र्यं.खानोलकर) either:

आणि आकाशाकडे बघून त्याने गर्जना केली :
बाप्पा तुला क्षमा नाही
वाड्यावरची माणसे दोंदे वाढवतात
माझ्या काश्याचे पाय जातात
चाफा मात्र फुलतच राहतो

[I have quoted these lines of CTK as I recall them from, I think, a दीपावली (Deepawali) magazine's diwali number from 1970's. Errors if any are regretted.]

Maybe George Santayana:

“Everything in nature is lyrical in its ideal essence, tragic in its fate, and comic in its existence."

Artist: Helen E Hokinson (1893-1949), The New Yorker, March 15 1941

Champak like begonia goes on and on...

A E Housman

“For Nature, heartless, witless Nature
Will neither know nor care”