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."

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I Have Measured Out My Life with Tea Spoons...एकच कप

Anton Chekhov:  

"When I stop drinking tea and eating bread and butter I say, "I've had enough." But when I stop reading poems or novels I say, "No more of that, no more of that."…" 

 W H Auden, 'The Dyer's Hand And Other Essays', 1948:

"Solid food is to the drunkard a symbolic reminder of the loss of the mother's breast and his ejection from Eden."

Artist: Lisa Congdon 

This illustration is for T S Eliot's poem: 

"...For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;..."  

("The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock")
     
In my case, I have measured out my life with coffee spoons (for first 23 years) and then  tea-spoons.


In a famous essay "A Nice Cup of Tea", George Orwell writes: "If you look up ‘tea’ in the first cookery book that comes to hand you will probably find that it is unmentioned; or at most you will find a few lines of sketchy instructions which give no ruling on several of the most important points.This is curious, not only because tea is one of the main stays of civilization in this country, as well as in Eire, Australia and New Zealand, but because the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes..."   (1945/ 1946).
 

Orwell was wrong then and is even more wrong now because he doesn't mention India.
Today tea (चहा) is Maharashtra's, indeed majority of India's,  favourite drink. It is the main stay of civilization in India, even more than it's in England, Australia and New Zealand.

I am not sure, which is the first reference to the drink, in the historical records  of Maharashtra, but there is a reliable reference to Maratha diplomat (मुत्सद्दी)/ chieftain (सरदार) Sakharambapu Bokil (सखारामबापू बोकील) (? - 1781) being fond of the drink.  

However, I have still not come across a great poem on tea in Marathi. There are quite a few on booze but not a single (great) one on tea. There are a few in English of course.  (Read this essay by Kate Kellaway.)

Sample this:  

"...I read the tea leaves
as if they were words

left over from a conversation
between two cups…" 

(Kenny Knigh, "Lessons in Tea-Making")

Endless cups of tea...conversation...wonderful...This could have been easily written in Marathi

"...वाचतो मी पत्ती चहाची
जणू ते शब्दच 
राहून गेलेले संवादातील 
दोन कपामधल्या..."  

Or won't we all identify with this?

John Agard:  

"Put the kettle on
It is the British answer
To Armageddon.

Never mind taxes rise
Never mind trains are late
One thing you can be sure of
And that's the kettle mate…"

("ठेव किटलीत आधण 
हेच असे भारतीय उत्तर 
प्रलयाला 
गेली उडत महागाई, रुपयाची घसरण
होवू  देत लोकलला उशीर
एका गोष्टीची  मात्र खात्री बाळग
ती म्हणजे किटली-मित्र …")







'Mad Tea Party' in  'Alice In Wonderland'
 
Artist:   Salvador Dali

No comments: