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."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Peter Roebuck: Regret comes over us for the Life Unled

Peter Roebuck:

"Nothing is sadder than the extinguishing of a young life. Besides the loss itself, and the pain that follows, the premature ending of a life serves as shock, reminds of the fragility and foolishness of our existences. When Princess Di died, her country temporarily became a better place. When David Hookes departed, the sorrow reached beyond his immediate circle and into the masses. Partly, it is the loss of a friend. Partly, it is the realisation that we have been wasting our lives upon nonsense.

Not that it lasts. Still we complain about traffic wardens and shampoo bottles that will not open, and the weather, and the neighbours and taxes and noise and the rest of it. And then a child dies, or a friend is suddenly removed, or a familiar face vanishes, whereupon regret comes over us for the life unled."

('Departures' from 'IT TAKES ALL SORTS', 2005)

Albert Camus:


"There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest – whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories – comes afterwards. These are games; one must first answer..."

('The Myth of Sisyphus')


I do not like most Cricket writers today.

But the late Peter Roebuck did NOT belong there. He was up there with two fellow Australians: Jack Fingleton- writer of such classics like 'Cricket Crisis', 'Brightly Fades the Don', 'The Ashes Crown the Year'- and Ian Chappell.

I lap up their every word.

As I have said earlier, one of the few bright spots in India's Sportstar was Mr. Roebuck's occasional column.

PR will be remembered for many things. But I will remember him especially for his reporting of third day of second test between India and Australia played at Melbourne Cricket Ground on 26-30 December 1999.

It was a debut series of then fiery and fit Brett Lee.

PR writes:

"This was a day to remember, a day on which Brett Lee made a startling first appearance in his country's colors and Sachin Tendulkar stood alone at the crease defying formidable odds with courage and skill.

It was a glorious confrontation between old and new, mighty and promising, an expression of the great gifts of the game, the brilliance of batsmanship, the excitement of pace and the powers needed to reach the gods. Meanwhile, a superb leg-spinner also bowled with artistry and cunning as he pursued his own landmark. It wasn't a day to have stayed in bed. There haven't been many better...

...Meanwhile, Tendulkar stood firm like St Paul's Cathedral in the Blitz. Any fool can score runs against tame bowling. Anyone can impress in easy circumstances. Like a true champion, Tendulkar rises in the tightest corners. He, too, had to keep an eye on Lee's yorkers and took evasive action as the speedster flung down a bumper. It was a tremendous struggle between them, as the master craftsman fought tooth and nail, while the gregarious youngster streamed into bowl and ended a metre or two from his adversary.

Tendulkar alone could resist the force of this fierce assault. He seemed to be playing in a different match from anyone else except Sourav Ganguly, for whom Lee reserved the fastest ball of the day. Unaffected by the wickets tumbling around him, and realising the need to push the score along, Tendulkar moved from caution to aggression as he launched a breathtaking attack on the Australian bowling.

Eight long years ago, he appeared in this land as a teenager with superb skills and enough spirit to fuel an entire team. Now he has reappeared as a man bearing responsibility and carrying it lightly, for he does not allow any situation to be his master.

When Tendulkar reached his 100, the entire crowd rose in acclamation. His dismissal, caught on the boundary, brought the crowd to its feet a second time.
It had been the perfect day. The visiting champion had scored a century. And a new fast bowler had arrived on the scene."

Today, almost 12 years later, we have very different Messers Tendulkar and Lee from what are described here. Once I adored them, now I don't like watching either of them. And now Mr. Roebuck too has departed.

Peter Roebuck:

"...Yet it is the vulnerability that is interesting. Impregnability is an act. Kerry O’Keeffe’s recent autobiography was appreciated because he described his hard times and his failings. It was an act of courage, not a sales pitch. Writing those sorts of books is not about self-expression but self-examination. Everything else belongs in a comic book."

('Dealing with life' from 'IT TAKES ALL SORTS', 2005)