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."

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Out in My Old Town Love Canoe


Rachel Cooke:

In the end, though, it's difficult to go along with Wolf's central contention, which is that women can only harness their creativity when in a fulfilled sexual relationship – a thesis based largely, it seems, on a reading of Edith Wharton and George Eliot, and the relationship of Georgia O'Keeffe with Alfred Stieglitz. Her evidence is crudely selective, and strangely unimaginative. Hasn't it ever occurred to her that, sometimes, happiness writes white? Didn't she wonder about the sex lives of art's great spinsters? But it's also, I think, an unhappily reductive way of looking at the world. Sex is a huge part of life. But it's not everything, and we do ourselves a disservice if we try to suggest otherwise.

(Guardian, September 16 2012, review of 'Vagina: A New Biography' by Naomi Wolf)

In middle class culture of  Maharashtra, water for recreational purpose is almost absent. Reasons are not hard to figure: Hardly any perennial lakes and rivers.

Contrast that with gardens built by the Mughals in the Islamic style of architecture. Two of their most important features are running water and a pool to reflect the beauties of sky and garden. No Yamuna river, no Taj Mahal perhaps.

When water, canoe, man, woman, moon come together in the night, they mean  romance and its occasional delightful expression such as in the picture below.




Artist: S D Phadnis (शि. द. फडणीस) courtesy: Official website of S D Phadnis

I said romance but not sex.

I recently read "Love Boats: The Delightfully Sinful History of Canoes".

"Before the youth of America fooled around at drive-ins and necked on Lover’s Lane, they coupled in canoes. Boatloads of them. In the early 1900s, canoes offered randy young guys and gals a means of escape to a semi-private setting, away from the prying eyes of their pious Victorian chaperones...

...As further proof that canoeing had become a hotbed for teenage delinquents, in 1913 the Minneapolis Parks Board refused to issue permits for canoes with unpalatable names. Local newspapers published some of the offensive phrases that slipped past the board the previous summer, including “Thehelusa,” “Kumomin Kid,” “Kismekwik,” “Damfino,” “Ilgetu,” “Aw-kom-in,” “G-I-Lov-U,” “Skwizmtyt,” “Ildaryoo,” “Win-kat-us,” “O-U-Q-T,” “What the?,” “Joy-tub,” “Cupid’s Nest,” and “I Would Like to Try It.” The commissioners unanimously agreed to outlaw phrases lacking obvious moral and grammatical standards, though a few of these clever pre-text-message abbreviations clearly had them scratching their heads...

...But this floating, petting paradise would not last. “When motorcars became more available in the early ’20s, courting in canoes sort of fell off,” says (Roger) Young. “Guys were getting into their Model Ts or Model As and going off with girls for a Sunday drive instead of canoeing.” And what went on in the backseats of those cars? Well, that’s a whole different story."

Following picture too has water, canoe, man, woman, moon together. But the desires are less poetic and more carnal than in the picture above!

 
A comic postcard advertising Old Town Canoes makes an open joke of their preferred use. 

Image courtesy: Benson Gray

Go back to Phadnis's picture above. I can't imagine man and woman  in that canoe making out little latter. I feel even suggestion of sex will spoil that mood. But then maybe I am now old.