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.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

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."

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Lysol for Soul...

Today October 10 2013 is 76th Birth Anniversary of My Mother- Jyoti G Kulkarni nee Shakuntala V Bhate (Shaka शका ). Her love and compassion always transcended conventions.


Wendy Doniger, The Times of India, September 2013:

 "...I noticed how often dogs played critical roles in Hindu texts, first as symbols of impurity (because they are scavengers , eating garbage) and then as symbols of devotion (because there is no one as devoted as a devoted dog). And that contrast seemed to me to epitomize the broader contrast between the caste-bound aspect of Hindu dharma , so fixated on purity, and the compassionate aspect of Hindu bhakti, which transcends ideas of purity."

 विलास सारंग , 'सामाजिक व वाङमयीन विटाळवाद':


"…'विटाळ ' हा  शब्द आता सोयीस्करपणे वापरातून गेला आहे . परंतु  थोडा विचार केला तर हा शब्द किती समर्पक आहे हे लक्षात येईल . तथाकथित अस्पृशत्व , दलितत्व यामागे मुख्य कल्पना ती  विटाळाची . मराठी समाजात विटाळाची कल्पना सरसहा कार्य करत असते . बदलत्या काळाप्रमाणे विटाळही सकृदर्शनी  भूमिगत व सौम्य झाला आहे…"

('मॅनहोलमधला माणूस / मराठी वाङमय, समाज व जातिवास्तव', 2008)

The word 'vital' (विटाळ)- roughly meaning ritual pollution or pollution in English-  was very 'popular' when I was a kid. For example, when a woman was menstruating, she was considered 'vitalshee' (विटाळशी), polluted. 

I haven't heard that word for a while in my family circle.

Bloomberg July 25 2013 has a story titled: "No Menstrual Hygiene For Indian Women Holds Economy Back"
 
 "Sushma Devi, a mother of three in Northern India, stores her “moon cup” on the window sill of the mud-brick veranda that shelters the family goats.

In a village where few have indoor toilets and the Hindi word for her genitals is a profanity, 30-year-old Sushma struggles to talk about how she manages her period and the changes brought by the bell-shaped device she inserts in her vagina to collect menstrual blood.

“It’s a thing from hell,” she says of the malleable, silicone cup, which she received from a Massachusetts Institute of Technology research group. “I have to keep it far from the house, from where I pray.”
Across the world’s largest democracy, where a decade of economic growth nearing 8 percent a year has tripled per-capita income, millions of women are held back by shame around their most basic sanitary needs..."

So whatever word you choose, Sushma Devi feels "polluted" (विटाळ) on "those days" and considers her MIT-designed "moon cup" a thing from hell. 

Lucky her, Sushma Devi does not get Lysol treatment because once Lysol was recommended for both the women and the kitchen floors!

"...Lysol, which shares germicidal properties with carbolic acid, was a highly recommended treatment for "offensive" vaginal odors. This initiated a vicious cycle, so to speak: a self-conscious, but often healthy, woman would douche with Lysol and kill off normal flora (and scald her tissues), which would pave the way for bacterial/yeast infections, which WOULD cause an offensive odor, which would compel her to douche more often. Because an abnormal body odor in a normally clean person indicates an underlying problem, women who actually did have a raging infection only made matters worse with this frequent purging..."

(from 'Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation' by Elissa Stein and Susan Kim, 2009)

Q: What was common to a woman working in a kitchen and the kitchen floor?

A: Both were disinfected with Lysol, a household cleaner!






Read more on this by visiting here and here.







courtesy: http://thebrowser.com/fivebooks

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