मेघदूत: "नीचैर्गच्छत्युपरि च दशा चक्रनेमिक्रमेण"

समर्थ शिष्या अक्का : "स्वामीच्या कृपाप्रसादे हे सर्व नश्वर आहे असे समजले. पण या नश्वरात तमाशा बहुत आहे."

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.”

Friedrich Nietzsche: “Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.”

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);...”

सदानंद रेगे:
"... पण तुकारामाची गाथा ज्या धुंदीनं आजपर्यंत वाचली जात होती ती धुंदी माझ्याकडे नाहीय. ती मला येऊच शकत नाही याचं कारण स्वभावतःच मी नास्तिक आहे."
".. त्यामुळं आपण त्या दारिद्र्याच्या अनुभवापलीकडे जाऊच शकत नाही. तुम्ही जर अलीकडची सगळी पुस्तके पाहिलीत...तर त्यांच्यामध्ये त्याच्याखेरीज दुसरं काही नाहीच आहे. म्हणजे माणसांच्या नात्यानात्यांतील जी सूक्ष्मता आहे ती क्वचित चितारलेली तुम्हाला दिसेल. कारण हा जो अनुभव आहे... आपले जे अनुभव आहेत ते ढोबळ प्रकारचे आहेत....."

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."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Sure of the Mumbai Locals, Straphanging and Palmistry

Today April 16 2013 is 160th anniversary of commercial passenger train travel in India

"साहेबाचा पोऱ्या मोठा अकली, बिन बैलान  गाडी कशी हकली ."

( I remember the above couplet from my 9th standard history school text. Any error in reproduction is regretted.)

Matthew Engel:

"...The narrative takes on its most epic quality in the United States; its most stupid in Australia (where the different states set about building a charming variety of gauges without a thought about what would happen when you tried to link them up); and its most brutal in India, where maybe 25,000 workers died building the line through the Western Ghats alone..."

(Review of  "Blood, Iron and Gold: How the Railways Transformed the World" by Christian Wolmar,  Guardian,  November 29 2009)

The first train ran at 3:35 pm on April 16th, 1853, when 14 railway carriages and 400 guests left Bombay's Bori Bunder for Thane, with a 21-gun salute. It was hauled by three locomotives: Sindh, Sultan, and Sahib. The journey took an hour and fifteen minutes.

2013 also marks the 150th anniversary of the London Tube, the world’s first subway system.

The freedictionary.com defines 'straphang' as:  "To travel as a straphanger", as on a subway or bus and straphanger as "One who grips a hanging strap or similar device for support while riding as a passenger on a bus or subway."

Now, I have traveled quite a bit on Mumbai local trains, often in second class, luckily not often during the rush hours, and, more importantly, against the flow of the majority (i.e. traveling towards South in the evenings and North in the mornings).

I thought I knew a little about straphanhging and then one day I took a fast train around 5 PM from VT  and alighted (?) at Ghatkopar.  I felt my education in  straphanhging or simply hanging-for-dear-life was complete.

1905: Comic card from the District Railway, whose electric trains defied the underground's reputation for slowness and unreliability, and taught passengers the new skill of 'straphanging' during rush hours

Image courtesy London Transport Museum and Brainpickings.org

More interesting is the following picture where it says the lure of the Underground...the way they are getting sucked into the tube station....Mumbai local commuters can identify better with the word sure because the inevitability of locals in their lives

Image courtesy London Transport Museum and Brainpickings.org

Now, look at the following picture of inside of a Mumbai local.

People are hanging on to straphangers or bars. There is lots of pushing and shoving. But not all are irritated.

Look at the smiling man at the centre  of the picture wearing a headgear. He is looking at the open palm of the man standing next to him and lo, he sees a better future there!

caption: "You are soon buying a car ! Line on your palm only is telling it...."

 ("तुम्ही लौकरच  मोटार  घेणार ! हातावरची  रेषाच  सांगतेय … ")

Artist: Vasant Sarwate (वसंत सरवटे), 'Vyangkala- Chitrakala' ('व्यंगकला - चित्रकला'), 2005

(note- This is Sarwate's early cartoon, first published decades ago)


I buy one Marathi and two English dailies and I did not see even a mention of this anniversary in them.

However, today morning I was glad to see that Google had decided to celebrate it, doodle style.

courtesy: Google inc.


अवधूत डोंगरे said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aniruddha G. Kulkarni said...


I have to send you my copy or its copy...if you are coming to Pune and we meet, I will give it to you. Then you can copy and send back to me the original...


mannab said...

I am also tempted to read the book 'Ticket Please' by Mr. Sarang Chapalgaonkar. It's a problem how to get it. Please let me know your Pune address on my e-mail id. I may visit Pune soon. Regards.
Mangesh Nabar