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."

Friday, December 28, 2012

Goodbye, Mr. Tata...Btw- I Have Taken the Blue Pill!

The Economist (October 26 2006):

"In the early 1900s, when Britain ruled India, the chairman of the colony's Railway Board, Sir Frederick Upcott, was so sceptical about Tata, then a young steel company, that he declared he would “eat every pound of steel rail” that it could produce to Britain's exacting specifications. His subsequent indigestion is not recorded, even though Tata was producing hundreds of tonnes a year by 1916."

A Case for Opium Dens: Indian industry got its first tranche of capital accumulation in the 19th century when the Tatas joined hands with the Sassoons and the British to force opium onto the Chinese. The addicts in China in that period took to opium to drown their unpleasant reality in momentary dreams, while knowing in moments of cold assessment that pipe dreams could never be realised in real life. It was only when Mao Zedong came to power in 1949 that the Chinese government banned opium dens, and people accepted their closure in the expectation that they might have a chance of achieving some of their hopes..."
Arundhati Roy:
"...The Tatas, for example, run more than 100 companies in 80 countries. They are one of India’s oldest and largest private sector power companies. They own mines, gas fields, steel plants, telephone, cable TV and broadband networks, and run whole townships. They manufacture cars and trucks, own the Taj Hotel chain, Jaguar, Land Rover, Daewoo, Tetley Tea, a publishing company, a chain of bookstores, a major brand of iodised salt and the cosmetics giant Lakme. Their advertising tagline could easily be: You Can’t Live Without Us.
According to the rules of the Gush-Up Gospel, the more you have, the more you can have..."
Mr. Ratan Tata retires this month. I have nothing to say on the man. Particularly after "Radia tapes controversy". 

I felt so disappointed. I have worked in corporates for many years and I know real life is messy and real people are complicated. But that messy and that complicated? Couldn't Tata's be different?

Siddharth Varadarajan has said about the controversy (The Hindu, November 29 2010):
"...In the science fiction film, “The Matrix”, Morpheus tells Neo, “You're here because you know there's something wrong with the world.” The Matrix, he says, is the world that has been pulled over everyone's eyes to blind them from the truth that they are slaves. He offers Neo the choice of a blue or red pill. “You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill ... and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”

The Nira Radia audio archive loaded on to the Internet by Open and Outlook magazines last week is the red pill of our time. It reveals the source codes, networks, routers, viruses and malware that make up the matrix of the Indian State. The transmission of information, also known as “news”, between different nodes is vital for the system to work efficiently. The news is also the medium for reconciling conflicts between different sectors of the establishment. If you hear the recordings, you begin to understand the truth about the Wonderland that is India. No wonder there are many amongst us who would rather swallow the blue pill. For once you go in, the only way out is to keep digging. And yes, the rabbit-hole runs deep...

...We also hear in the tapes an iconic businessman, Ratan Tata, who today makes sanctimonious statements about crony capitalism and the danger of India becoming a banana republic, lobbying through his PR agent, Ms Radia, for A. Raja to be given the Telecom portfolio..."

Artist: William Steig, The New Yorker, 2 July 1960

"I didn't get where I am by begging for raises, Aniruddha, I lobbied for what I wanted." 

Look at the cartoon, as old as me, above. There  is not much to it except two things- catchy caption and, more importantly, the depiction of the boss. I can just go on looking at him for all day long. That is the hallmark of a great cartoonist like the late Mr. Steig (1907-2003)- she creates the lasting impact out of thin air by her art.