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!"

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."

Chris Ware: "Being a cartoonist means you don’t consider yourself too fancy."

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: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Blankets of Franz Kafka, Dasopant, G A Kulkarni and Warren Miller's Mr. Bromer

W H Auden:

"If we try
To ‘go southern’, we spoil in no time, we grow
Flabby, dingily lecherous, and
Forget to pay bills
Still, he will ‘go grateful’, he says, glad
To bless this region, its vendages, and those
Who call it home: though one cannot always
Remember exactly why one has been happy,
There is no forgetting that one was."


I came across the following by Franz Kafka on Facebook on his birth anniversary:

“Just think how many thoughts a blanket smothers while one lies alone in bed, and how many unhappy dreams it keeps warm.”

('The Complete Stories')

It's so true but little sad to read only about unhappy dreams.

Doesn't a blanket lead us to our happy dreams? I remember as a kid I was so fond of a white soft blanket called 'pasodi'(पासोडी) that I refused to give it up even when it was torn. I always felt very secure under it.

[Pasodi has rich literary connotations in Marathi.  Medieval saint-poet Dasopant (दासोपंत) wrote poetry on a piece of cloth- measuring 40 ft by 4 ft- called Dasopant's pasodi (दासोपंतांची पासोडी) . The writing is also illustrated richly. If you read Marathi, read an essay on this here.]

When my pasodi was taken away, I felt both sad and insecure. If I had a choice, I too would have taken up an AK-47, just like Mr. Bromer in the picture below!

Artist: Warren Miller, The New Yorker, April 6 1992

Here is a small passage from G A Kulkarni's story where his protagonist Swami- now treacherously entrapped in a forced solitude- is reflecting on the touch of love of many people in his past and comparing it to a clothing with small mirrors sewn into it. I believe that clothing is a blanket.

जी ए कुलकर्णी:

"...-ही सारी माणसे, त्यांनी आयुष्याला केलेले मायेचे स्पर्श, त्यांच्या या स्पर्शाचे लहान गोल आरसे बसवलेले वस्त्र पांघरून आपण येथपर्यंत निभावत आलो!"

('स्वामी',1973, 'पिंगळा वेळ', 1977)

What I like in G A's writing most is even when he is writing about utter hopelessness, he never ceases to be grateful.

Getting smothered, Swami too goes away grateful.