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, December 18, 2011

India's Lingering Love Affair with Correction Fluid

Gilbert Adair:

For centuries the pen remained the supreme guarantor of legal, contractual, epistolary and literary authenticity. Then, during the last century, this role was gradually reassigned to the more “objective” typewriter. In fact, so central was the typewriter to the pursuit of literary Truth that there came a time when, for most American novelists, you simply weren’t a writer unless you had one.

Jonah Lehrer:

In 1916, T. S. Eliot wrote to a friend about his recent experiments with composing poetry on the typewriter. The machine “makes for lucidity,” he said, “but I am not sure that it encourages subtlety.” A few years later, Eliot presented Ezra Pound with a first draft of “The Waste Land.” Some of it had been composed on the typewriter.

Great Friedrich Nietzsche used a typewriter.

Andrew Sulliavn wrote on June 15, 2008:

"Many of those terse aphorisms and impenetrable reveries were banged out on an 1882 Malling-Hansen Writing Ball. And a friend of his at the time noticed a change in the German philosopher’s style as soon as he moved from longhand to type. “Perhaps you will through this instrument even take to a new idiom,” the friend wrote. Nietzsche replied: “You are right. Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts.”.."

Artist: John M Price, The New Yorker, 9 March 1940

It's Nietzsche who said: God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

Cartoon caption could read: Good Lord! I have killed you!

Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times September 1, 2011:

"...The factories that make the machines may be going silent, but India's typewriter culture remains defiantly alive, fighting on bravely against that omnipresent upstart, the computer...

...India's lingering love affair with correction fluid and carbon paper befits a country that often seems caught in two centuries, where high-tech companies and an ambitious space program coexist with human-powered rickshaws and feudal village life...

...Typing was all but compulsory for any woman who wanted a job, said Geeta Meshran, 53, who banged away for 22 years in the Mumbai government's typing pool. Efficiency wasn't always paramount there. "I often worked as slowly as possible, so I wouldn't have to retype the page," she said...

..."Typewriters were a real symbol of Indian life. Just consider how many laws and birth certificates came from its keys," said Abhishek Jain, who at age 13 set a world record in 1991 typing 117 words a minute on a Godrej manual...

..."The computer is lifeless, but there's a sheer joy in manual typing," said Jain, the record-holder. "It's a kind of music..."

As stated above, was typing all but compulsory for any woman who wanted a job?

I say not just a job but also a marriage.


Artist: Vasant Sarwate वसंत सरवटे

(Source- “Khada Maraycha Jhala Tar….!”, Mauj Prakashan, 1963)

Original caption in Marathi: "कॉलेजमध्ये नांव घातलंस म्हणतेस? यंदाहि कुठं जमलं नाही वाटतं.." (“You say you have enrolled in a college? Couldn’t arrange the marriage this year too eh...”)

Enrollment in a college could be replaced with enrollment in a typing class- English and Marathi both!

India's lingering love affair with correction fluid?

The Times Of India on Sept 2 2011:

"Whitener inhaling addiction on the rise among minors: Somnath Deshkar TNN

Pune: Fourteen-year-old Manish (name changed) stabbed his father with a kitchen knife recently and was sent to juvenile custody. What makes this stray case of juvenile crime all the more complicated is that Manish is addicted to sniffing whitener, a cheaper and potentially dangerous way to get high.
According to experts, there are close to 8,000 children in the city who are addicted to substances such as whitener, ink remover, thinner, shoe polish and vulcanising solution..."

To be honest, I like smells of whitener, ink remover, thinner, shoe polish, vulcanising solution, petrol, benzene...But I didn't know I could get high on them.

(When I joined a chemical MNC in 1984, the whole plant 'reeked' of benzene, I never complained!)

Can part of Nietzsche's genius (or madness) be explained by correction fluid?!


"I see you have a degree in shorthand."

Artist: Johnny Hart (1931 – 2007)